New Survey Reveals Women's Attitudes About Feminine Health
A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the Vagisil Women's Health CenterSM reveals that a large number of today's American women are taking active roles in their own feminine health and hygiene. According to the national survey, nearly two thirds of women aged 18 and older (63 percent) report that they go to a gynecologist, and of those who go to a gynecologist, 61 percent say they "always" go for their annual exams.
However, the survey also reveals the lingering presence of old "hang-ups" when it comes to feminine health, with almost one in four women (23 percent) aged 18 and older who go to gynecologists admitting that they have not been completely honest about their feminine health habits with their gynecologists.
A level of embarrassment in discussing women's anatomy also exists, as the survey revealed that less than half (43 percent) of women indicating that they are completely comfortable discussing their genitals and using the word "vagina." Specific inhibitions include 15 percent of women who indicate that they can say the word around other women, but not when men are around, and 14 percent who indicate they would rather use another phrase to refer to it, such as "down there."
"The fact that many women are going to see their doctors, and doing so along the recommended guidelines, is a strong step in the right direction," says Adelaide Nardone, M.D., FACOG, Clinical Instructor of Ob/Gyn at the Brown University School of Medicine and Medical Advisor to the Vagisil Women's Health CenterSM. "However, there are still many women who need to start taking charge of their gynecological health, put the embarrassment aside and foster frank, open relationships and discussions with their doctors."
Younger women (29 percent of those aged 18-34) and single vs. married women (34 percent vs. 20 percent, respectively) are more likely to admit to not being completely honest with their doctors. The top five subjects women are dishonest about are the fact that they smoke or have smoked, exercise habits, diet, number of sexual partners they have/have had and the number of alcoholic drinks they have per week.
According to Dr. Nardone, dishonesty with a doctor can have serious consequences.
"One example is smoking " there are certain methods of birth control with which women should not be smoking, so if you don't admit to this habit, you could be putting yourself at risk," says Dr. Nardone. "If you feel you have to withhold information about your lifestyle from your physician, you should ask yourself why. Try to find a health care provider who is of the age, gender and/or viewpoint with which you can identify."
Word-of-mouth appears to be a good referral for OB/GYNs, as about one in three women (35 percent) indicate they chose their doctor based on a great reputation or recommendation.