In the last 20 years, society has made great strides in gender equity. More women are leading businesses, more are in management positions, more are taking on legislative roles, and global female literacy rates are way up.
Girls worldwide are actually spending more years in school than their male counterparts. We're making these strides because we're consistently pushing to have the tough conversations and take the actions that result in meaningful change. And yet, we still have much farther to go to reach true parity — after all, women are still earning less money than men and spending more time on household tasks and chores — but we are making real progress.
We're making these strides because we're consistently pushing to have the tough conversations and take the actions that result in meaningful change.
There is, however, an important issue deeply affecting the lives of millions of women worldwide that continues to go largely unaddressed. Even with all our efforts to speak out and stand in support of our fellow women, most of us are embarrassed and squeamish to even speak about the uniquely female problem. This issue is still often lingering in the shadows, and it is time to relinquish the shameful baggage we've attached to it.
I'm talking about vaginal health. And, specifically, the unpleasant vaginal odor that nearly 50% of women will experience at some point in their lives and, according to the CDC, is the most common vaginal condition.
This is an uncomfortable topic — one that many people, including women – would prefer we not discuss openly. It's often perceived as "unladylike" or "unattractive" to point out. Vaginal odor is primarily mentioned in whispered conversation with one's closest female friends, sheepishly discussed in doctor's offices or posted anonymously on message boards online. However, I think it is way past time to kill the stigma attached to this very normal, natural issue.
Vaginas are beautifully complex and are an amazing part of a woman's body. They give us so much, including the opportunity to birth new life and the pleasure of sexual intimacy. They deserve to be cared for with the most holistic and effective methods available in modern science.
This issue is still often lingering in the shadows, and it is time to relinquish the shameful baggage we've attached to it.
For many, many women, vaginal odor is a problem — often a recurrent one. It is commonly misunderstood and believed to be the result of poor hygiene or somehow the fault of the woman herself. Actually, that's almost always not the case. Typically, this very normal odor is caused by a pH imbalance in the vagina, usually as a result of menstruation, medication, intercourse, or some other root cause. Simple, natural products are available to easily and quickly prevent and treat this odor by restoring the body's natural balance. It's no mystery— just basic biology.
I've met so many women who have deeply personal stories of shame and fear about the odor from their vaginas. It's not just a roadblock to sexual intimacy and relationships, it can also affect a woman's desire to sweat it out at the gym, put on a swimsuit, or even get a pedicure. The fear, worry, and shame surrounding vaginal health and perceptions around odor can be very real obstacles to living a full, happy life. Women routinely break down in tears when discussing feminine health, and it's heartbreaking to see this reaction to what is actually a very common and easy to solve problem.
The fear, worry, and shame surrounding vaginal health and perceptions around odor can be very real obstacles to living a full, happy life.
I've also met women who have tried to address this issue in secret, using poor home remedies or tricks they've read about online. Some women will clean themselves so intensely and so frequently that they only further damage the delicate pH balance of their vaginas, which can make the problem even worse. This is what happens when we don't talk openly about the causes and cures for vaginal issues. Women suffer in silence, attempt to solve the problem using information that can be inaccurate, and then suffer even more.
In this time of change and growth for female equality and empowerment, I'd like to see us bringing our vaginal health and well-being out of the shadows. Let's de-stigmatize this critically important issue and get brave about talking about women's health.
So, if you're struggling with vaginal odor, remember my very important message to you: It's normal, it's not your fault, and it's fixable… let's talk about it.
WRITTEN BYDeeannah Seymour