Half of men unable to identify the vagina on diagram

There needs to be more awareness of gynaecological health

Rachel Hosie
Thursday 31 August 2017 08:41 BST
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Louise Thomas

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Half of men are unable to identify the vagina, a poll by a gynaecological cancer charity has found.

The Eve Appeal asked 2,000 Brits - half of whom were men - to point out the vagina on a diagram, but 50 per cent of the men were unable to do so correctly.

The charity is now calling for better awareness of gynaecological issues amongst men, particularly relating to symptoms of cancers, including those of the womb, ovaries, cervix, vagina and vulva.

The survey results have been released to mark the start of Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month (September), and the charity says that for too many men, women’s bodies are “still a taboo subject, shrouded in mystery.”

According to the survey, 17 per cent of men “know nothing about gynaecological health issues and don’t feel that they need to know, as it is a female issue.” And half also admitted they wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing the topic with a female partner.

It’s worth pointing out, however, that the Eve Appeal last year found that 44 per cent of women couldn’t correctly point out the vagina on a diagram, so perhaps better awareness is needed all round.

And many women aren’t aware of the signs of gynaecological problems - 19 per cent wouldn’t go to the doctor if they had abnormal vaginal bleeding, even though this is of the key symptoms of all five gynaecological cancers.

More than 21,000 women are diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer each year in the UK.

Half of the women surveyed wouldn’t seek medical help if they were suffering from persistent bloating and 15 per cent said they wouldn’t go to a GP if they found a lump or growth in their vagina.

Eve Appeal explains gynaecological cancers

The Eve Appeal's chief executive, Athena Lamnisos, said: “These survey results show shockingly low levels of awareness of the symptoms of gynaecological cancer among both men and women.

“We know from the many calls that we receive at The Eve Appeal from men, that they can play a vital role in identifying the symptoms of gynaecological cancer, prompting their partners to visit the GP. Early diagnosis really is key and can save lives.

“This is not about having better sex. It’s about men helping women to look after their health. Gynae awareness and taboo busting are all of our responsibility, men and women alike.”

Professor Janice Rymer, vice president of education at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, added: “Women should never be embarrassed to see a healthcare practitioner if they have concerns about their gynaecological health.

“It is vital to seek help if women experience any unusual vaginal bleeding, change in bowel or urinary habits, pain or discomfort during sex, or unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge. It may be nothing serious, but it's best to get it checked out.”

Possible symptoms of gynaecological cancer include: irregular bleeding; vaginal discharge that smells or may be blood stained; pain during intercourse; changes to the appearance of the skin of the vulva; changes in bowel or urinary habits that lasts for more than a month such as bloating or need to pass water more often than usual.

If you’ve experienced any of the above, you should see your GP and can also contact the charity’s Ask Eve service on eveappeal.org.uk or freephone 0808 802 0019

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