Time To Be Fearless About Vaginal Health

Now that I’m in my 50’s and frankly still not sure if I’m menopausal, I find that I am very aware of every change, tweak, pulsation, twinge and ache in my body.  I feel as if I am on the edge of a very large cliff about to drop me into a melee of symptoms which could affect both my mental and physical health.  And it’s scary.

vaginal health - Vagisil ProHydrate and blue, white and yellow flowers

I’ve never been a particularly brave person.  I once tried abseiling at 13 and spent 20 minutes screaming my head off swinging in and out of the arches on the Merthyr Viaduct when I missed my footing.  Later, I managed to fall off a galloping horse in a Bridgend horse-riding centre and got kicked by the horse as it came back around the ring, almost breaking my arm.

Canoeing?  Took chunks out of both my thumbs. Hiking? Got blisters you could see from space. Swimming?  When I take my glasses off I can’t find the pool and I find the volume so loud that it gives me a tinnitus spike for days.

Such experiences have left me with a severe dislike of anything ‘outward bound’.

But, the result of being so physically ‘flaky’ when it comes to organised activity (or indeed sport in general) left me with an awareness of what my body was, and was not capable of.  And so it is today.

I watch Caitlin bouncing around and practising her ballet.  She cartwheels, twists and turns without a thought.  She can do the splits.  I don’t think I ever managed a forward roll.

Caitlin and Linda Hobbis

I envy her confidence and willingness to claim her physical space.  As women get older, some seem to shrink both literally and figuratively.  ‘Invisibility’ is one of the key gripes of women struggling to deal with getting older.  “I’m just not noticed” anymore they say.  “I can walk down the street and not a single head turns”.

Our fertility is so much a part of who we are and how we define ourselves – rightly or wrongly – that when it wanes we can face a huge crisis of confidence.

That loss of confidence can affect every aspect of our lives – from work to friendships and especially when it comes to sex and our romantic relationships.

Internet forums are alight with women debating whether, at a certain age, sex need no longer play a role in a relationship and it is quite alright to settle into routine intimacy and to accept that the days of exhilarating and even comfortable sex are over.

It takes bravery, I think, to say “there is no age limit on sensual pleasure” and to keep claiming your physical space, your physical pleasure and even your visibility.

Let’s be frank.  Lots of us in our 50’s are too bloody knackered to put up much of a fight and it’s no wonder that so many of us wearily accept HRT and stuff ourselves with Red Clover, Ginseng or the other supposed ‘miracle’ supplements that promise to return our youthful zing.

Recently, I noticed a TV ad from Vagisil in which they mentioned being ‘Fearless About Vaginal Health’, which is encouraging women to break down taboos and have more conversations around their intimate health and its impact on everyday life.

Vagisil is a brand that has been helping women to address their most personal needs for over 40 years and they recognise that when women take control of their intimate health, they are more focused, productive, comfortable and confident.

So, tired though we women ‘of a certain age’ may be, I think it’s really important to take control of our vaginal health and to stand up for what we need.

I hear loads of stories about women who are let down by their doctors.  It is too easy for overworked GPs to dismiss their complaints as ‘something you just have to put up with’.  Or to be prescribed HRT as it seems to work for lots of their other patients.

There should be, in my opinion, dedicated menopause clinics in surgeries.  Places where women can discuss the changes to their bodies in a sympathetic environment, without fear of censure or embarrassment.

This would allow open and honest discussion of the effects of HRT, supplements and self-care techniques.

Women could discuss their relationships, the impact of the menopause on their sex lives and seek reassurance from one another that sex doesn’t stop when your eggs dry up.

It is also important, I think, to give men a chance to discuss how their partners’ menopause affects them.  It’s no exaggeration to say that some marriages hit the buffers due to hormone-related problems!

Personally, if there’s one thing I am fearless about it is demanding answers to any medical problems I might have.  It’s too easy to say – “ah, you shouldn’t take your diagnoses from Dr Google” but all too often, Dr Google offers information which needs to be properly considered beforit is roundly dismissed.

And nowhere does this seem to be more pertinent than when it comes to matters gynaecological.

Having had my children naturally in my 40’s (at 43 and 45), and being branded a ‘geriatric mother’, I soon learned that passive acceptance of what the medical profession tell you isn’t always a good thing.  You need to educate yourself so that you can ask the right questions – and it’s exactly the same with the menopause.

Things are improving but very often trying to discuss it is a bit like shouting into a wind tunnel.  You are just not heard.

There are, of course, plenty of things you can do to ease your daily symptoms which are tried and tested and may offer significant relief, particularly in the case of one of the major menopausal bugbears – vaginal dryness.

You may, for example, find sex more comfortable if you use a vaginal moisturiser such as  Vagisil ProHydrate Internal Gel (RRP: £12).  It has a unique bio-adherent formula containing Hyaluronic Acid, which coats the vaginal wall and slowly releases moisture over time – meaning you only need to use it once every 3 days.  It comes in single-use pre-filled applicators which are great to carry with you for times when you need additional moisture or are just feeling particularly dry and uncomfortable.

You could also try an external moisturising gel such as Vagisil ProHydrate External Gel (RRP: £8.50) which instantly replenishes dry and uncomfortable vaginal skin.

Whatever you decide to try, my point is that you should be fearless about seeking the best solution to your health problems.  It’s your body, after all, and nobody knows it quite like you do.

We women should all support each other and openly discuss our gynae problems – particularly at menopause.  Suffering in silence helps nobody and it is likely that these symptoms are just a passing phase that can be treated.

After all, it is entirely possible that we may have another 40 or even 50 years left so it makes sense to be fearless about our vaginal health!

The Vagisil range is available from leading supermarkets and chemists nationwide.

This is sponsored content in partnership with Vagisil.

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linda

Ex marketing professional turned family lifestyle blogger. I live in Cardiff with hubby Mat, Caitlin (10) and Ieuan (8).

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

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Charli BruceBecca TalbotJane - Our Little EscapadesLisa (mummascribbles)Mira Recent comment authors
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Dean of Little Steps
Guest

I so agree. It’s about time we also took our feminine health seriously too. PS. You don’t look your age at all 🙂

Olivia
Guest

I haven’t heard of these products before but these are definitely something I’d look into getting, I agree though vaginal health needs to be spoke about more! X

Bryanna skye
Guest
Bryanna skye

What a great message that is! It’s important to have such an open dialogue, so thank you for sharing x

Nikki Thomas
Guest

A really great post and all so true. I am in my late forties and I know that the menopause is lurking on the horizon, it is a funny time isn’t it, thinking about the end of fertility and even though I have no plans to have any more kids, it still feels very strange. I agree that there shouldn’t be a taboo about the topic of vaginal health and menopause.

Kara
Guest

I am dreading the menopause and it is approaching me fast I am sure as my mum was around my age when symptons started. I think talking about these things is becoming much easier

Bread
Guest

I’m always surprised by the number of women who aren’t looking after their vaginas. At any age.

vicky Hall-Newman
Guest

I am 46 years old ( I just had to think how old I was and I am actually 45) but I am coming to the age of thinking I have the menopause to look forward to. But as much as it is still a taboo subject, I am going to face it head on.

Bella and Dawn at Dear Mummy Blog
Guest

I think older women need to be more comfortable in their own space mentally and physically. No one should be made to feel invisible at any age. More forums to chat openly would help and my mummy, even though she’s in her 30’s, needs to claim back her positivity and confidence.

Rebecca | AAUBlog
Guest

completely agree that we need to be more open about this kind of thing, from periods to menopause. They are big changes!

L dove
Guest

Great post and such an important topic. We need to speak more openly about vaginal health!

michelle twin mum
Guest

I think you’re right about the need for menopause clinics. I’m not that far off it all being a reality for me and my Mum struggled so much. Mich x

John Milnes
Guest

Well, there are two ladies our house and one of them is fast approaching her teens. Luckily we I know my wife is talking to her about these issues. I know, because she has told me.

Great post and thanks for sharing

John M

Kirsty
Guest

I think it’s great to talk more about our health and share our experiences and fear. I have seen these on the tv and it’s great there are readily available products to help

NewcastleFamilyLife
Guest

I have never heard of this product before, something I probably need to start thinking about now I am in my mid 30s x

Msddah
Guest

Thanks for sharing such an eye-opening and yet relative post.

Mellissa
Guest

I totally agree, it is so important to take control of our vaginal health. These sound like some great products.

Stephanie
Guest

Yes I agree, I am not at that stage yet but it’s something I will worry about when it comes to it. It is so important to know our bodies and what works. I like the fact that you can purchase this in your local supermarket too with your weekly shopping. Makes it so much easier and convenient

Honey @ The Girl Next Shore
Guest

This is defo one of those talks all women shouldn’t find taboo to talk about. I love my vagina, and I intend for it to be as healthy as my 20/20 vision (with glasses, lol). Not a lot of ladies talk about this as openly as we should – and the thing is, we would probably have healthier relationships if we did!

Kaz
Guest

It is so important to talk about this – and raise awareness too. I am very open with my daughters about vaginal health. Kaz

Eva Katona
Guest

Very interesting article. I’m nearing 40 so this is a great read for me.

Jen Mellor
Guest
Jen Mellor

I love the idea of dedicated menopause clinics in doctors surgeries what a great idea.

Laura
Guest

I think this raises some important themes that us women need to talk about and share more! We all age, this is s a fact but yes it can feel like one becomes more and more invisible as we get older. Love this post

AnnMarie John
Guest

What a good reminder for all women. We should definitely take control of our health and decide what’s best for us. It’s also going to help bring that confidence back.

Louis
Guest

My friends always laugh at me because I’ve been using special vaginal products ever since I was in my teens. And I’m happy to admit that. I just wish other people were too. If we could talk about intimate health more openly then I think people would have bigger support networks when it came to things like the menopause.

Louise x

fran back with a bump
Guest

Feminine health is a big issue and I’ve suffered for years with dryness and had to have a minor op after my last baby thanks to a very rough midwife!! These things shouldn’t be taboo and it’s good there’s more available on the market now to help.

Laura - Dear Bear and Beany
Guest

We need to talk more openly about it, as every woman will go through it at some point. Great post

Jenni
Guest

It’s so important that we feel able to talk to healthcare professionals about all of our health issues, this is a great post!

Mira
Guest

Icouldn’t agree more. Sometimes it is fear, and sometimes is could be embarrassment that hold us back from seeking best health solution for ourselves. It’s hard to open up about some intimate issues even to people you are close with.

Lisa (mummascribbles)
Guest

It’s definitely important to be open and honest about these things. We all have them so why not discuss them so wee all know what is normal or not.

Jane - Our Little Escapades
Guest

Very important points for us all. I’m really not looking forward to going through the menopause. It feels like men have it so easy!

Becca Talbot
Guest

Such an important topic, which many are too afraid or embarrassed to talk about. Well done you for having the courage to speak out and raise awareness x

Charli Bruce
Guest

I think it’s really important that women of all ages take care of their feminine health, we should be teaching our daughters from a young age about it too