It’s so silly – our health is the most important thing that we have and yet for some reason we mostly seem to take it for granted. I’m just as bad as anyone – any time I move house I take months to register for a new doctor, hoping any symptoms I get will just ‘sort themselves out’ for as long as I can, and only realising I should have bitten the bullet and got an appointment in the first place when I’m already sick and it’s too late! I don’t know why so many of us are so blasé with our health – it’s so easy to keep on top of, and shouldn’t be a big deal to talk about but for some reason we avoid it. One of my close friends has recently had a health scare and it’s when things like that strike that you suddenly realise how important it is – all the normal worries disappear because in reality, they are nothing compared to making sure that our health is okay. At the end of the day, what else really matters that much?
I think part of it is that talking openly about our health can feel a little bit taboo. Sure, if you’ve got a cold you’ve got no problem chatting to your doctor about it, but when it’s something to do with mental health, or a more intimate issue we’re all much more hesitant. My Mum has chronic fatigue and has spent the past 8 years exploring her health and symptoms so I count myself lucky that my family are very open when it comes to talking about mental health and unusual therapies. Mental health is getting way more air-time these days and people are getting so much more open about talking about it, but what about other health problems that we’re scared to discuss? Personal, intimate health definitely can still feel like a big taboo when it comes to discussing it – even with our closest friends or family, let alone with a doctor…or on the internet!
When I was contacted by Canesten asking me to share a blog post about intimate health, that was my initial reaction too – could I really write a post about this to put out there to strangers, or instagram followers who might judge me?! But then I realised, that’s where the whole problem lies and why we need to be bold and open up the conversation about it. Until health issues get more normalised, people feel awkward or scared to discuss them and that’s what leads to bigger problems, people ignoring their symptoms, or not knowing who to go to for advice. I’ve had a couple of friends now who have suffered more serious intimate health issues requiring surgery, and I can only imagine how scary any situation requiring hospital treatment like that is, let alone when it’s something you feel awkward to discuss with other people, and have to just deal with on your own. It’s already scary enough without having to worry about talking about it!
At the end of the day, we are all human, we all have the same bodily functions, we all have sex and we all are likely to experience intimate health issues at some point in our life. I for one have had plenty of experiences of thrush (as have most of my girlfriends) and as the best-known Thrush Treatment (and most effective, in my experience) Canesten is a pretty household name for me – another reason I was up for working with them – I mean, they have definitely helped me out plenty of times over the years!! For something so common – it affects both women and men, fyi – there shouldn’t be such a stigma attached, that awkwardness you feel going to the checkout with your tube of Canesten, or feeling like you’re saying a dirty word when you have to tell someone you have it. Thrush is a very common yeast infection caused by a fungus that’s already found on everyone’s healthy skin, it’s just when the skin’s natural balance is disturbed that the infection is triggered. It can be caused by lots of different things – whether it’s irritation from sex or taking antibiotics – and as I said it can affect men and women, so the stigma around it really does seem unnecessary!
As much as it still does feel a bit weird to me to be writing this post, and I’m sure some people reading this are thinking the same, the more I think about it the more I realise that it’s conversations like this that are necessary to get us all talking about our health more, opening up and getting rid of the stigma around talking about health issues. All of us are going to experience some sort of health issue in our lives, and wouldn’t it make us feel a lot better to be able to discuss it openly when we do? Maybe if more people start having these conversations – both offline and online then the fear around talking about any health issue will eventually go away. I mean, wouldn’t it be nice if we could google our symptoms and instead of getting scare-mongered into believing there’s something seriously wrong and not knowing who to turn to, we find posts like this inviting people to discuss and letting us know that it’s all a normal part of life, that it’s going to be okay?
This post was sponsored by Canesten, as always all images, words and opinions are my own.