Earlier this week it just clicked to me that when I get my periods (I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome… we’ll talk about that a next time) I’m not supposed to be using almost 1 pack of pads plus tampons, having clots and have flooding of my menses (when the blood overflows and messes you up). It dawned on me when I was reading the chapter on menorrhagia (heavy bleeding).
I shouldn’t have to go to medical school to find out about my reproductive system and what’s normal and what’s not. Even after this clerkship in Obstetrics and Gynaecology I still have grey areas about my reproductive system, granted I’m now better able to find out information on my own or read and understand medical literature.
Unfortunately, us females go through life not knowing as much as we should about our vaginas and genital tract. We have been taught that talking about our genitals is a no no, but we should. We should talk about our experiences with our female friends and family. From early, a conversation should be started so that women are comfortable with themselves and their organs. We should be encouraged to look ‘down there’ often so we know when something is wrong. We should know the discharge and the smells so we know when something changes. When things are wonky with our vaginas, it often tells us.
Our reproductive system is a collection of our ovaries, Fallopian tubes, uterus, vagina and vulva. There’s also input from two parts of our brains and all this means is that a lot of things can go wrong. Now we’re seeing where talking about vaginas, menses and related issues are less taboo. As time goes on, it should be the norm to talk about discharge, menses, and pregnancy with our friends, family and children.
We need to end the stigma about talking about our private parts. The more informed you are the more empowered you are. So many women are walking around with abnormalities (including not picking up STI signs) because they never look at their privates or they just don’t know what’s normal and what’s abnormal. Let today be the last day you’re in the dark about your privates ladies! Have a frank conversation about them and learn more about your bodies.
Samantha C. Johnson