A new study from period and sexual wellness brand ohne shines a light on the glaring gender health gap
Those of us with uteruses will likely know that things can get complicated when it comes to gynaecological health, but due to a lack of education and an abundance of taboo and shame, problems are often left unresolved.
According to new research from period and sexual wellness brand ohne, 80% of those with uteruses live with period, gynaecological and sexual wellbeing problems, with 49% saying they’ve been living with symptoms for more than 10 years. A similar pattern was noticed with sexual wellbeing, with 42% admitting to unresolved symptoms.
A number of survey respondents said they hadn’t sought help for their symptoms; 33% of those experiencing sexual wellness issues and 44% of those aged 16-34 with menstrual symptoms. The reasons for this included feeling that GPs don’t understand female health properly, being offered medication rather than dealing with the root problem, feeling ashamed or embarrassed and not knowing where to turn for help.
The research also found a lack of education in this area, with over a quarter of Brits over 16 saying they weren’t taught about reproductive health at school (rising to 50% in over 55s). On top of this, an incredible 97% said they weren’t taught about conditions like endometriosis, adenomyosis and polycystic ovary syndrome, despite these conditions affecting 1.5 million people in the UK.
Over half of those who menstruate also say they don’t properly understand their cycle, with a quarter noting that they weren’t taught about periods at school.
In response to their findings, ohne has transformed its online space, stocking a range of products to support menstrual, gynaecological and sexual wellbeing symptoms. From painful sex to period pain, the site now has a product to help. Ensuring the quality of each product, they are tested by 70+ people before they land on the site.
“We started off as a small brand for bullsh*t-free period and menstrual cycle care products, and now we want to go further and change this bullsh*t when it comes to the gender health gap,” explains ohne's co-founder Leah Remfry-Peploe.
“Menstrual, gynae and sexual wellness is inextricably linked to our overall wellbeing (and vice versa), and with countless experiences, symptoms and desires going unmet, we knew we could do more. We shouldn’t have to put up with ‘putting up’ and suffering in silence or shame.”
It’s clear that a lot needs to change to improve these statistics, from better education in schools to better training for medical professionals. But when it comes to reducing the stigma, we can make strides with that by educating ourselves, being insistent and persistent at medical appointments and not being ashamed to speak about our reproductive health.