Hello, ladies, nonbinary pals and, hopefully, gentlemen, too.
We have to talk about something important today that is, somehow, not that widely talked about – female reproductive health, if we’re being precise. Yes, it has been getting a lot more attention in the past few years, comparatively; comparatively, however, is not good enough.
There are a lot of things people have to constantly be on the lookout for when it comes to reproductive health and bodily signals yet… we are simply not aware of them. We are never told that these are some important symptoms, that some ailments exist, that some issues are treatable with the correct approach.
There is too many to talk about in one single article, but let me highlight some important illnesses, disorders, and symptoms that people often ignore.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is an incredibly common, yet massively under-treated female reproductive health disorder, despite being surrounded with some abysmal fearmongering.
It is technically not that harmful – if you take care of your ovaries properly – yet because of how underdiagnosed it is, and how some doctors refuse to give it the attention it deserves, it becomes much more of an issue.
Some of the main symptoms to look out for are irregular (or non-existent) periods, and issues associated with hormonal irregularities (hair growth, skin issues, weight issues, yada yada yada). Some more extreme ones involve incredible abdominal pains, but those are harder to ignore, so.
This happens when uterine lining doesn’t grow correctly, and results in incredibly painful periods. All those times you couldn’t run in PE because of period pains, and your school nurse gave you one pill of paracetamol and told you to go do it anyway even though it didn’t help?
Yeah, that might have been it. If you experience unbearable pains, very strong bleeding and any other similar irregularities – see a doctor. That might solve a lot of your problems (and help your overall health, too).
Other big disorders and things to look out for
Most disorders of the reproductive system, including, but not limited to PCOS, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis (characterised by incredible pain and pressure that is felt by a lot of women when peeing – in addition to the constant need to pee), various STD-s and others are often accompanied by similar symptoms.
If your body weight is prone to irregularities – whichever way it goes, or if you’ve experienced a random change in it recently; if your periods are incredibly painful, irregular and/or heavy; if your mood swings are too abrupt; if the skin on your inner thighs, elbows, neck and armpits is dark for no reason – all of these popular symptoms that are often disregarded as something normal, but are actually signs of female reproductive health issues.
But why do we not talk about those?
It’s quite weird to realise that while females account for half of the world’s population – with there being more females than males in a lot of western countries – and are directly responsible for population growth and continuation (duh), the issues of female reproductive health are still quite obscure.
The first logical thought that comes to mind is sexism, but, in reality, it’s much less about misogyny, and much more about the Puritan nature of our society.
Sex-ed in Europe is barely existent in schools (and non-existent completely in countries like Russia – at least it was when I was a kid), and in the US it highly depends on the school and the state. Female reproductive health is not taught properly, and neither is male reproductive health, really.
Because of how scared some parents are of exposing their kids to something they (weirdly) consider sexual, we end up with dumb abortion bans and commentary on female reproductive health that makes no sense (like, how a female body knows when it’s being raped so it shuts down potential pregnancies. Wow).
Let kids learn. Undo the stigma. Life will become better, I promise.