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The Femedic: The website that’s breaking down the taboo of women’s sexual health issues

The development of women’s rights appears sluggish and arduous at occasions, regardless of the authorized leaps and bounds we’ve made in the UK this yr alone.

The drafting of a brand new home violence invoice, the promise of Istanbul Convention ratification and debates over the ludicrously outdated Abortion Act of 1967 are all extremely constructive. Yet endlessly ready its flip in a seemingly infinite queue marked “other business” is a matter so shrouded by disgrace and secrecy, it’s barely coated by the media, not to mention uttered aloud by politicians: women’s sexual health.

This might be set to vary, after an academic new website, thefemedic.com, has launched. The website, curated by healthcare editors and written by docs, psychologists and gynaecologists, goals to normalise the taboos of subjects reminiscent of menstruation, thrush, incontinence and psychosexual circumstances.

It’s the first website to be launched by advertising firm Curated Digital’s publishing arm, and editors have pooled years of analysis engaged on focused healthcare tasks for shoppers together with vitamin specialists Healthspan and charity Marie Curie. They observed a transparent discrepancy between what women have been looking for out on-line and the calibre of info they have been being met with.

‘Health is more than just symptoms’

“We believe a person’s health is about more than just their physical symptoms, it’s a lifestyle, emotional, and social conversation as well,” editor and founder Monica Karpinski says. “We want to create a broad spectrum of resources and articles that address this complete context of someone’s health.”

At the second, she continues, women looking for details about their health are met with info that’s both “dry, medical fact-sheet” type or “scurrilous, gossipy style content that makes light of health topics”.

“We want women to be able to access focused, trustworthy answers to their questions that don’t shy away from difficult topics.”

Monica Karpinski, thefemedic.com editor and founder 

“There is nothing in between that takes women’s health seriously by lingering on topics long enough to bring women all the information they need.”

Despite being on-line for lower than a month, the website has already garnered a wealth of help from sexual health practitioners and feminist health campaigners.

“Our culture drives women to want to fit in and to feel ‘normal’ at all costs,” Sally Turner, broadcaster and founder of feminine sexual health consultancy Women4Real, says of the want for websites like Femedic.com to galvanise a motion in the direction of feminine health held again by generations of gendered oppression. She has spent years elevating consciousness of vulvodynia, a neuropathic ache situation that causes continual burning and soreness of the vulva.

“Are they going to be listened to and taken seriously, or is it easier to keep buying over-the-counter meds in an attempt to self-treat, without a proper diagnosis?”

Gabby Edlin, founder of interval poverty charity initiative Bloody Good Period, referred to as the website “brilliant”.

‘Content resonates with women’

“There is a lot in the information about women going to the docs and their ache not being believed. This content material resonates with rather a lot of women, who assume menstrual ache is a secret factor that nobody talks about.

“Period pains generally are seen as foolish ache that women both exaggerate or play on. “

Earlier this yr, 2,600 women spoke to the All Parliamentary Group on the topic of reporting extraordinarily painful cramps throughout menstruation. Of this pattern, 40 per cent reported having seen a physician 10 occasions earlier than they have been recognized with endometriosis, a standard situation the place tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb (endometrium) is present in different elements of the physique.

Dr Leila Frodsham, Consultant Gynaecologist and lead for psychosexual drugs at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, hopes that the engagement of women in the dialog round feminine sexual health care, catalyzed by initiatives like Femedic.com, will result in a discount in the closures of sexual health providers nationally. The closures have been pressured by authorities finances cuts of £200million to public health providers since 2015.

“From my perspective sexual health clinics allow access for patients with sexual dysfunction who would not wish to discuss matters with their GP,” she says.

‘Lingering culture of conservatism’

“[Clinics] provide a service that is confidential and easy for patients to access. This, therefore, incorporates those vulnerable young adults, people with mental health conditions and those with addictions. If the closures continue, these patients will be pushed into an already overwhelmed GP and A&E service.”

“In the UK, there is still a lingering culture of conservatism that can make us afraid to bring things up, like vaginal problems or thrush, for fear of being laughed at or judged,” editor Karpinski concludes.

“Despite the brilliant progress the women’s movement has made, women today are still dealing with the hangover from its history. We want women to be able to access focused, trustworthy answers to their questions that don’t shy away from difficult topics. We want this information to help them understand certain conditions and feel more confident making decisions about their health.”


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