And before I knew it, my cervix fell out...
Well, not exactly. But, not not exactly either. But 'ectropian cervix' doesn't have quite the same ring to it, nor is it at all clickbaity enough for this kind of blog. Let me elaborate.
- Have you ever been confused about the mechanics of your downstairs?
- Ever stumped a qualified doctor with your very existence?
- Having trouble remembering that one biology lesson on bodily anatomy?
If the answer to any of the above is yes (and I'm almost certain it is), I have one more question for you:
Did you struggle to find help, support or information?
So did I. That's why I started The Vaginalogue.
The Vaginalogue is a women's health project, created and curated by and for all women. A blog for any woman who's ever been mystified by her beautiful flesh palace because, a lot of weird stuff goes down when you're growing up, giving birth, undergoing surgery or merely existing. Stuff that can be scary when you think you're on your own.
But where did it all start?
A little under two years ago; irregular periods, heavy bleeding, during and post coital bleeding (sorry not sorry) and a delightful combination of other miscellaneous symptoms - easily denoted as 'women's troubles' said in that voice that your Grandma still uses when she says the word 'lesbian' - had led me to the point where I was sitting in a doctor's office, pleading with my GP that something be done. And not for the first time.
After an overwhelming number of underwhelming *shots fired* sexual encounters had unceremoniously ended in what can only be described as protest haemorraghing (not dissimilar to the final scenes of Spielberg's Jaws...) I was embarrassed, worried, and certainly afraid.
As a single, sex positive woman I felt, perhaps rather dramatically in hindsight, that even my own body had something to say about my sex life. So when my lovely, but cripplingly awkward, Doctor told me to 'come back if it happens again', on what must have already been my third GP visit at this point, I had to say no. And then I had to say why.
Now, I'm quite a confident person, in case the public blog about my own cervical health wasn't proof enough, but even I felt a little bit uncomfortable having to tell a Doctor why I really didn't want to put myself through yet another uncomfortable, or possibly dangerous, sexual experience on the off chance that my mysterious malady had miraculously cleared itself up. Did I mention my mum was also in the room?
Various reactions to a vulnerable bleeding woman in my own personal experience ranged from almost sensitive to borderline aggressive, to one guy throwing me out onto the street in the middle of the night. But hey, I guess I got off easy. After all, they dunked innocent women in rivers tied to chairs in the 1800s for far less...
After explaining to my GP, my mum, a student nurse and the whole cast of Cheaper By The Dozen - in agonizingly awkward detail - that I didn't quite fancy another game of 'Bloodclot Bingo' with what was left of my sexual confidence, I was finally sent for tests. 6 months later these tests turned into treatment, which turned into cervical biopsies - for those of you who don't know, ouch - and a diagnosis of low level abnormal cells which surprisingly are "nothing to worry about" although the name suggests the opposite.
I was also diagnosed with a partial cervical erosion, caused by a hormone imbalance caused by my contraceptive pill. Apparently the extra oestrogen in my pill was weakening the lining of my womb, or cervix, or something, which was causing it to erode and in turn causing bleeds on, erm, impact...Isn't being a girl super fun?!
After the erosion, or ectropian cervix as I think it is known - I was never quite clear on the name and there was never any information for me to read up on it - was diagnosed, I switched to a different pill which stopped the bleeding for the most part. When I asked how this pill would affect my periods, my GP told me, "they'll either stay completely the same, completely stop, or you'll just bleed every now and again"...
It seems that even trained Doctors have no idea what they're doing sometimes.
I emerged from my experience relatively unscathed, with some hilariously awkward tales to tell my friends and apparently the whole of the internet... but I know that a lot of other people wouldn't have the same experience.
The idea of The Vaginalogue is to open up a dialogue about the icky bits of daily life for a woman that we so seldom talk about in the public domain. We want to combat the 'mystical' nature of women's bodies, the unknown, the unsaid. Not only this, but the lack of information and resources available for women on sexual, physical and mental health leaves it tricky to talk about in privacy to family, friends or even doctors. This lack of information discourages women from opening up about their bodies, health or experiences and can be potentially very dangerous.
We want to put an end to that through sharing our experiences online, to let eachother know that we're not alone. We're saying no to clickbait and yes to #clitbait!
If this, anything like this, or anything completely unlike this has ever happened to you - we want to know in the hope that, together, we can all feel a little less alone.
The Vaginalogue is a brand new social enterprise aiming to improve the lives of all people through information, communication and collaboration. You will find informative opinion pieces on 'taboo' topics such as; Endometriosis, peri-natal mental illness, FGM, Toxic Shock Syndrome and many more. From Doctors, Writers, Comedians, Actors, Feminists and any woman with something to share.
If you're a self-defining woman with a story to share, anonymously or otherwise, then please send submissions to email@example.com or submit via our online contact form here.