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Vagina shouldn't be a word you are afraid of! And while many women are entirely comfortable speaking openly and honestly about vaginal health, so many of us still aren't.
In fact, 34 per cent of women are still too embarrassed to talk about any vaginal health conditions or concerns, even with their mum.
The recent study led by Kolorex highlights the need to have more conversations around this topic so women don't feel alone in their health challenges.
That's why Sexual Health Educator Melissa Vranjes is on a mission to de-stigmatise vaginal health and all conversations about the female body that are too often considered ‘taboo’.
"It was alarming to learn that 1 in 3 of women are too embarrassed to talk about vaginal health conditions, even with their GP," Melissa tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
"There is still so much shame in speaking about vaginas, it's like we pretend they don't exist because we're not sure how to confidently talk about them."
Why is talking about 'down there' so embarrassing?
Melissa is part of the #LoveYourLadyBits movement with Kolorex to encourage women to love their vaginas, and believes there are a few main reasons why the topic for some still feels 'secretive' and 'dirty'.
"The lack of education and empowerment in schools is alarming," Melissa says. "It's almost non-existent which plays a huge part in women feeling too embarrassed to openly discuss their health conditions or feel confident that their vaginas are normal.
"Without proper holistic education young women are turning to the internet and getting overwhelmed with what's right or wrong and normal and abnormal."
"Labiaplasty is the fastest growing cosmetic surgery in the world, which I believe is due to the lack of empowering education around the uniqueness of women's vulva," Melissa adds.
"Women aren't taught to love what they've got, instead, women are comparing themselves to what they see on the TV and other platforms."
"Religion has a big part to play in the suppression of women's vaginas. Even though we are all born from one and conceived with one they were seen as dirty, secretive and taboo in many religions," she continues.
"This kind of messaging passed down through decades has created shame, fear and embarrassment around women's vaginas, which ironically was not the same for men."
Melissa points out that often vaginas are either hyper-sexualised or shamed for their appearance, smell or taste.
"Most women carry shame due to the lack of empowering vagina conversations being had in public," she says.
Sep 6 - Sep 10 is Women's Health Week - the biggest week in Australia focusing on good health and wellbeing for women and girls.
Held annually in September, Women’s Health Week is the biggest week in Australia focusing on good health for all women and girls in Australia.
Janet Michelmore, Jean Hailes for Women’s Health Acting CEO and Patron, said: "For the second year we are seeing COVID-19 have a significant impact on health and wellbeing.
"We want to urge women not to forget their own health while busy caring for others. Jean Hailes Women’s Health Week is a timely reminder to women to look after themselves, both in body and mind. There is help and support out there, so please use it."
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