By Allison Sadlier // SWNS
One in ten women aged 24-34 has never been to a gynecologist.
That’s according to new research which found that 12% have never once been even though their first visit should have happened between 13-15 years old.
Check-ups should be annual, but one in ten (14%) respondents haven’t seen their gynecologist in over two years.
The survey of 2,000 American women between the ages of 24-34 revealed that there are gaps in care and knowledge related to vaginal health.
The average respondent will ignore noticeable symptoms for five days before making an in-person doctor’s appointment, while one in five (17%) will wait ten days or more.
But before seeing a professional, many are reaching out to Dr. Google. Two in five women named Google as their first port of call over a physician when experiencing discomfort or vaginal health symptoms.
OnePoll who conducted the research on behalf of RepHresh found the average respondent Googles a sexual health-related question four times a month – that’s 3,024 times in a woman’s adult lifetime.
The top three most commonly Googled phrases and questions respondents needed answers about included “vaginal discharge” (44%), “Do I have a yeast infection?” (39%) and “Vaginal odor” (37%).
Three in five (61%) respondents blamed a “lackluster” sexual education experience in their youth for these knowledge gaps even though one in two (54%) admitted they didn't take their sexual health seriously when they were young.
Of those who felt like their sexual health education failed them, half wished they were taught more about female pleasure (52%) while 48% think there should have been more time spent learning about female anatomy.
Forty-one percent would have liked to have a more in-depth understanding of the menstruation cycle as well.
It’s still not too late to turn the tides since 55% of respondents said they’re “on a quest” to educate themselves about their vaginal health.
Eileen Hsu, Director of Marketing, RepHresh said, “According to our survey, 69% of women would feel more empowered if they knew more about their bodies. This fact alone reiterates the importance of ensuring all women not only have the resources they need to feel empowered in their bodies, but that they also have access to accurate information about their vaginal health.”
One of the topics many women were completely in the dark about was vaginal pH. Over half (51%) thought a vagina should have a neutral pH and only 12% correctly identified “moderately acidic” as the ideal pH balance.
Two in five knew that unprotected sex could cause the vagina’s pH balance to change but 39% thought acidic foods could alter it.
One in four (27%) even thought swimming in a chlorinated pool would have an effect.
TOP RESPONDENT THOUGHT CAUSES TO UNBALANCED VAGINAL pH
- Unprotected sex 41%
- Acidic foods 39%
- Antibiotics 38%
- Menstrual periods 38%
- Swimming in a chlorinated pool 27%
Dr. Jacqueline Walters (a.k.a. “Dr. Jackie”), as a RepHresh™ Women’s Health and Wellness Expert added, “It’s clear that there’s a knowledge gap for women when it comes to their vaginal health. I believe all women should advocate for themselves and aim to increase their Vaginal IQ (VQ), so they can approach their vaginal health with more confidence and less fear.”