Why talking about vaginas could save your life

2 min read

By now many of us are cottoning on to the fact that breaking down the period taboo is good for society in general. And amen to that. But did you ever think about the fact that it could also save your life?

May is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month, and never has it been more important to talk about menstruation. That’s because one of the big early symptoms of the five gynae cancers – womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal – is a change in your periods. In the past, a widespread silence around women’s health has meant confusion and a lack of education about what’s normal and what isn’t. The first step towards realising when something’s wrong is knowing what to expect in the first place – and then feeling comfortable about visiting the GP to check out anything unusual.

The Eve Appeal, which funds research into gynae cancers, has launched the Get Lippy Campaign to solve this problem by raising awareness of the signs and symptoms to look out for, and getting people talking about what changes are worth checking out.

Callaly papaya cut open

To put it in perspective, 58 women every day in the UK will be diagnosed with one of these five cancers. Every day 21 women here die of a gynae cancer. Sobering numbers, yet only 1 in 5 of us feel comfortable discussing vaginal health with family and friends. This might go some way towards explaining why a third of women in the UK end up ignoring signs that could be serious cancer symptoms.

Our friend Kat wrote a moving piece for our blog about what happened when she initially ignored some unusual bleeding after sex. When she had a smear test, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. It’s important to remember that there are many reasons for irregular bleeding and cancer is only one of them. But if you notice something unusual for you, it’s always best to get it checked out.

Too many women end up dying of embarrassment because they don’t feel comfortable discussing their gynaecological health. Ladies: it’s time we talked.

6 quick things you can do now

Clue yourself up on the symptoms of gynae cancers. Each cancer has slightly different signs, so the best thing is to spend five minutes reading about the symptoms now so you’ll know what to look out for in future.

Don’t ignore changes. Get anything unusual checked out as quickly as possible to put your mind at rest. And remember, there’s nothing you can show a doctor that they haven’t seen before. GPs see literally hundreds of vaginas and vulvas in all kinds of shapes, sizes, colours and smells. They’re not there to judge you, but to help keep you well.

Callaly pear in half

Talk about it! Promise yourself you’ll be as open as possible about periods and bodies. If a friend confides that something weird’s happening with their periods or “down below”, support them in getting it checked out at the GP. At Callaly we have been known to book smear tests around the same time as our pals and then go for a hot chocolate together afterwards (just saying…).

If you’ve been thinking about treating yourself to a new beauty product this month or if you know someone with a birthday coming up, you could buy a lipstick, gloss or balm from the #getlippy range – profits from the sales go towards the Eve Appeal.

Share your pout and shout selfie on your social feeds and get involved with the #getlippy hashtag.

And of course you can also donate money to help raise awareness and fund vital research. Just text LIPPY to 70660* to donate £3 to The Eve Appeal.

“Tampon adverts used to make me feel like I was dying inside”
First Person Periods

Tampon adverts used to make me feel like I was dying inside”

Ellamae writes about the experience of MRKH (Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser), what the term ‘invisible period’ means to her, and why she’s passionate about shaking the stigma around periods and health conditions.

Read more 5 min read
“This is a trans thing and it doesn’t make me less of a man”
First Person Periods

This is a trans thing and it doesn’t make me less of a man”

Vic writes about the experience of his gender dysphoria, the connection he made early on with menstruation and his sense of self, and what reprogramming his thoughts around menstruation and societal norms has meant for him as a trans man.

Read more 3 min read
How exactly should you clean your vulva and vagina?

How exactly should you clean your vulva and vagina?

We don't spend enough time talking about vulvas, let alone how to keep them clean. So, in the name of spreading useful information and not harmful bacteria, here's what you need to know.

Read more 3 min read
Why we’re telling The Whole Bloody Truth

Why we’re telling The Whole Bloody Truth

We’re setting out our specific commitments to improve inclusivity and representation, and we’re calling on the rest of the period care industry to join us in making this change.

Read more 2 min read
Would you use a vibrator, razor or tampon that was designed 90 years ago?

Would you use a vibrator, razor or tampon that was designed 90 years ago?

We asked seven women to unbox products from the 1930s and guess what they were used for. Most were unrecognisable, but one had barely changed at all...

Read more 2 min read

Currents is a place where interested people with periods come to get the real lowdown on menstruation and bodies. We explain the things nobody else does, normalising every experience of periods no matter how weird it might feel. We’ll leave you informed, unashamed and ready to expect more for yourself.

We’re now on Amazon!

Order your tampliners along with the rest of your shopping. Easy!

Ask an expert! 👇

Like all websites everywhere, we use cookies. Check out our privacy policy to learn more.

Got it