Do the majority of people know what reproductive health is?

#ReproductiveHealth

Many people think that #reproductivehealth only has to do with the ability of a couple to have babies. But of course, it is not that simple. You might find it difficult explaining in detail this topic to someone who might be poorly informed. However, it is vital that awareness is raised and solutions are found to help those who suffer and are in pain day in and day out. Importantly, women bear by far the greatest burden of reproductive health problems and support needs to be provided in their social and work environment. Menstrual problems such as heavy menstrual bleeding or severe menstrual cramps are symptoms of more severe and chronic conditions such as Endometriosis, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Even, women going through the menopause can experience many challenging symptoms such as hot flushes, memory issues, night sweats and mood swings . It is vital that help is provided to improve women’s quality of life and more people become aware of menstrual wellbeing & reproductive health conditions and what it means for those affected.

See more FV article on Menopause

One must recognise the lack of acknowledgement of the physical and psychological impact brought about by reproduction health conditions.

Taboos and embarrassment

Women and girls represent 51% of the population of England and Wales and reproductive health issues disproportionately affect them. Public Health England reported that ‘women experiencing symptoms were often reluctant to share their experiences for fear of being judged.’ This situation prolongs the diagnosis of long-term reproductive health conditions such as fibroids, heavy menstrual bleeding, endometriosis, PCOS and many others. Consequently, these conditions can worsen and lead to more serious illness such as cancer, depression and infertility.

Living with a reproductive health condition

Many women with invisible and disabling reproductive health conditions often recall a sense of relief and appeasement once diagnosed with the condition. It is quite intriguing to hear them referring to feelings of relief after being informed that they will live for the rest of their life with a condition that has no definitive cure and is likely to cause them further pain and suffering in the future.

To comprehend why these women felt that way, one must recognise the lack of acknowledgement of the physical and psychological impact brought about by reproduction health conditions. Yes, healthcare professionals do provide care and support whenever the corresponding funding is available to enable them to do so. However in most cases, these services are over-subscribed, and many women are left having to find answers elsewhere. As a result, many women are left to learn to cope with the symptoms on their own; rely on the information provided in informal groups on social media; for the most prevalent conditions, a few leading national charities are doing an incredible job in supporting women.

Raising Awareness

Thankfully, many initiatives have brought to light the seriousness of reproductive health symptoms and prompted measures to educate and make socially acceptable conversation about women’s reproductive issues. This year, we welcomed the EndometriosisUK campaign for menstrual wellbeing to be introduced in the school curriculum. The testimonials of many brave girls and women on mainstream media, official government channels and social media about reproductive health conditions has contributed to the growing acceptance that suffering in silence is no longer an option. These campaigns coupled with the report on women’s reproductive health published this year by Public health England provides women with an artillery of facts to support the view that these are serious issues and not merely uncomfortable secrets that one’s is to hold to oneself. A lot more is still to be done, and we hope that 2018 will be the year that marked the beginning of a new era and sparked fundamental changes in society as to how women are perceived, valued and supported. To accord greater consideration of women’s health in public and private spheres is a society’s choice and is indicative of the priority given to the wellbeing of our society as a whole.

Share your views

Do you believe the majority of people know what reproductive health is? How can we raise awareness? How can companies create a more accommodating, understanding and patient environment for women who suffer from reproductive health/gynaecological issues? How can we make this topic more digestible and easier to talk about in social and work settings? We want to hear your thoughts!

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