Women in the UK are more likely to know about intimate beauty treatments than they are about serious health issues that could make them six times more likely to miscarry or give birth prematurely.
Research published by Balance Activ reveals women are more aware of bikini waxing and vajazzles than they are about intimate health, with nearly two thirds of women questioned unaware or unsure of health problems that could lead to, fertility problems , miscarriage and increased risk of STI’s.
BV (Bacterial Vaginosis) affects one in three women and because very few know about it, the symptoms are often confused with other infections. It is twice as prevalent as thrush and if left untreated during pregnancy, the condition can lead to serious implications:
- Pregnant women with BV are six times more likely to miscarry than other women
- Pregnant women with BV are twice as likely to have a premature birth than other women
- It is thought that BV is responsible for one in three of all premature births in the UK
- BV can lead to the amniotic sac (the bag of fluid where the unborn baby develops) breaking open too early
- BV can lead to Chorioamnionitis – an infection of the chorion and amnion membranes, and the amniotic fluid that surrounds the foetus
It seems intimate women’s health is the last taboo as over a third of women questioned admit they would feel comfortable getting health advice from online forums while nearly a fifth are too embarrassed to speak with a GP.
The research, carried out to coincide with National BV Day, reveals that 63% of women feel angry that more information on intimate health conditions is not made available to them. Health experts are now calling for more awareness of intimate health and the serious side effects that can be the result of untreated conditions.
As part of National BV Day women can access videos featuring Dr Dawn Harper explaining the key symptoms of BV, and how to treat them quickly and easily at home using lactic acid pessaries or gel. The videos advise that BV is not a sexually transmitted disease and is not linked to poor hygiene, but is in fact a condition caused by simple changes in the pH balance of the vagina. Advice on how to avoid the triggers that can alter these pH levels is provided in the video, with top tips including:
- Avoiding the use of perfumed intimate products and scented soaps
- Avoiding excessive washing (or douching)
- Using a condom (semen is alkaline compared to the vagina’s slightly acidic environment)