Here’s something I never thought I’d say publicly: I have a urinary tract infection (UTI). And next time you have one, you should also be open about it, too.
Now, before the trolls privately message me with “This isn’t news! How dare you!” (it’s happened), hear me out.
It is a radical action for a woman to publicly state that she has a UTI, or any other “women’s health”-related issue.
This is because we are often treated as though our experiences with pain or ill health – and particularly when it’s related to our female anatomy – are disgusting, embarrassing or even non-existent.
How do I know this? Because, along with the physical discomfort and pain, I have also felt embarrassed and stressed by the social implications of having a UTI.
And I’ve decided that I don’t want to feel that way any more.
It is already difficult and physically painful to be a woman (hello, menstruation, cramps, endometriosis, vaginal births, caesareans, miscarriage, menopause, and so on). I don’t need to add the psychological pain of shame and self-hate to it.
These feelings of embarrassment and doubt began before even before I saw my doctor.
I was supposed to stay home that day and wait for a heating company to come over, as they were going to give me a quote for replacing my gas heating system (I live in Canberra, and it’s freezing).
Instead, I postponed it to the next day and went to the doctor instead.
The receptionist from the heating company was not happy about this, and asked over the phone why I couldn’t see the tradesmen that day.