Taboos around menopause, periods can limit access to care in women’s health

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The survey also found delays in treatment were common, with 85 per cent of women who had a more complicated diagnosis, such as endometriosis, reporting a wait for care. Photo: Pexels


(Colette Derworiz/ CBC News) — Taboos around menopause, periods and conditions like endometriosis can limit access to knowledge and care, says a report by the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation.

The report, “Surveying the Silence: Exploring the Taboos in Women’s Health,” canvassed more than 2,200 Albertans who identify as women to understand their top health issues, concerns and experiences.

“Taboos are social customs restricting discussion on specific topics,” Sharlene Rutherford, president and CEO of the foundation, said at a news conference Wednesday. “They create a culture of silence, it limits access to knowledge and care, and taboos can harm an individual’s health, an individual’s mental health and their well-being.

“Taboos perpetuate discrimination, they perpetuate negative stereotypes, they can be isolating and they can contribute to inequities.”

The survey respondents each reported an average of five pelvic health issues, including painful periods, pelvic floor dysfunction, fibroids and regular yeast infections.

About two-thirds found it difficult to talk to their primary health-care providers about their concerns and only a quarter felt “very knowledgeable” about their gynecological and reproductive health. (…)

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