“Vaginal odour”, “perimenopause”, and “abdominal pain” were among the female health topics that women searched for the most in 2022, new data has revealed.
According to UK digital healthcare provider Livi, hundreds of thousands of people searched for answers to questions such as “Why does my vagina smell?” and “How to spot symptoms of perimenopause” across the UK, France and Sweden last year.
The platform hosts a health advice hub and revealed some of its most-visited content articles among women in the three countries.
It found that almost 500,000 people clicked on advice about vaginal odours, with the UK driving the most visits with 288,966 views.
Meanwhile, people in France searched for perimenopause symptoms in the highest number, with 223,177 views from the country, compared to 32,432 views from the UK.
Other articles that were most-searched included those titled “What causes lower abdominal pain in women?”, which had a total of 147,487 views from the UK.
Meanwhile, period blood colour was also a popular topic of conversation, as 28,035 Britons and more than 42,000 Swedes clicked on an article titled “What does the colour of period blood mean?”
Dr Bryony Henderson, lead GP at Livi, said in a statement: “It comes as no surprise that vaginal health topped our content chart. Female health education often starts at school, but as we get older and our bodies and lives become more complex, many of us struggle to access relevant health information.
“There may also be an element of embarrassment or lack of confidence around how we talk about sexual health, fertility or periods. It’s great that people are accessing health content hubs to seek out answers to their questions – hopefully this shows that we can break down these barriers and tackle taboos to normalise feelings, symptoms and diagnosis.”
Dr Henderson added that the data showed how people are more curious and willing to seek out important health information, particularly in areas “that may previously have been considered ‘taboo’”.
However, she warned that while it was “completely natural for people to turn to the internet for support”, it is “vital for people to seek regulated, expert advice from safe sources”.
The data reflects what women have asked the government to address in its first-ever Women’s Health Strategy for England, which was launched last year.
The strategy aims to “improve the way in which the health and care system listens to women’s voices and boost health outcomes for women and girls”.
In response to the government’s call for evidence, nearly 100,000 people submitted their personal views and experiences, or reflections as a health or care professional.
The top five topics that respondents wanted the Department for Health and Social Care to prioritise in the strategy included gynaecological conditions (63 per cent); fertility, pregnancy, pregnancy loss and postnatal support (55 per cent); menopause (48 per cent); menstrual health (47 per cent); and mental health (39 per cent).