Re your article (Most Britons cannot name all parts of the vulva, survey reveals, 30 May), I put some of the blame for this on the medical community for using infantilising euphemisms for female genitalia when addressing adult female patients.
For example, four separate private gynaecologists in central London each referred to my adult menopausal uterus as my “tummy”. English women to whom I related my surprise at this replied: “The doctor’s probably just embarrassed.” If a gynaecologist is embarrassed to use real terms for a woman’s body, perhaps he or she should have chosen a different speciality.
Research has shown that empowered patients recover better, recover faster, and have fewer hospital readmissions. If the medical community stops infantilising adult patients with imprecise baby talk, it might save the NHS a fortune.
I wonder how many people could name the parts of the male urogenital tract, or of the respiratory, digestive and other areas of the body? I am all for frank discussions about female anatomy, but the current, obsessive focus on the vagina (and associated areas) is tiresome – and indeed embarrassing and offensive to many (from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds). This barrage of explicit articles about the urogenital area of the female body – from arts to scented candles and clinical reports – is unlikely to resonate with many of us, or inspire a desire to self-educate. A more respectful and effective route surely lies in communication via family medical practitioners, community groups and social programmes.
Burlington, Ontario, Canada