What % of women don't know basics of female anatomy?

  1. I had a wonderful daughter of an elderly patient assist with doing a minicath. I missed the first try, making some comment about getting the correct hole, and the confusion at times. The 60 something daughter said "2 holes?". I said something like, you know the pee and the baby hole?

    The lady was shocked she had no idea there were two holes down there. I good naturedly covered up my utter surprise at her ignorance regarding this matter.

    How many women don't know about this?
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  2. 145 Comments

  3. by   Scottishtape
    I didn't before I began working in healthcare. I was raised by a single dad, so suffice it to say: that was not part of my home education growing up.

    My daughters know their anatomy, but I'm a nurse, so, I gather that's expected.
  4. by   LibraSunCNM
    As a midwife, I can tell you---a frighteningly high percentage.
  5. by   Extra Pickles
    I think I'm shocked that she was shocked. I've never described the female anatomy as having a "pee hold and baby hole" and that itself is a bit shocking to me to find you have to say that to an adult woman and still not be understood. I personally don't believe this to be a common knowledge deficit but then again I don't know that I've had too many conversations that involved female genitalia or at least having to explain what was where, especially to a grown woman. I have a hard time believing that anyone with even a grade school education would not know that there is a urinary system that involves bladder, ureters, urethra. And a reproductive system that involves uterus, cervix, vagina. Really basic stuff and unless someone didn't go to school at all don't know how it wasn't learned at some point.
  6. by   Extra Pickles
    Quote from LibraSunCNM
    As a midwife, I can tell you---a frighteningly high percentage.
    Honesty? Are these women educated at all? I don't mean to be rude I'm just flabbergasted that any female who has been through the sixth grade wouldn't know this. My kids learned the basics of human anatomy in the classroom before they even got to middle school!
  7. by   Libby1987
    I've heard it said or have known women who have never used a mirror. With explanations similar to not being able to stand the sight of blood, they don't want to look, or never thought to look. What is behind that?
  8. by   klone
    Yes, it's pretty sad. Also, vulvas are mythical/mystical/magical in a somewhat evil kind of way, I've learned. Even many people in healthcare don't want to know anything about them.

    I did my MSN capstone QI project on trying to decrease contaminated urine samples in an outpatient OB/Gyn clinic. As part of my project, I made a graphic representation (color drawing) of a vulva with labia separated, to visually show the two holes and where they're located, how to clean the area before peeing, etc. I posted the drawings in the patient restrooms. OMG, the complains I received! From other staff! One particularly vocal complainer was a pediatrician whose practice was with adolescents! The pictures regularly disappeared off the bathroom walls.

    Six months later, I was invited to do a poster presentation at the local EBP symposium, and when I submitted the .PDF of the poster (which had a the graphic on it) I was asked by the symposium coordinators (who were healthcare people) to please remove the vulva from my poster.
  9. by   elkpark
    Quote from Extra Pickles
    I have a hard time believing that anyone with even a grade school education would not know that there is a urinary system that involves bladder, ureters, urethra. And a reproductive system that involves uterus, cervix, vagina. Really basic stuff and unless someone didn't go to school at all don't know how it wasn't learned at some point.
    I remember having conversations in my college dorm decades ago (in the '70s) about sex and contraception issues, and was sincerely shocked at the number of other college women who didn't have any idea about the most basic human anatomy -- not just their reproductive systems, but the whole, basic, heart/two lungs/two kidneys/stomach/intestines thing. Many of them appeared to have no idea that they had internal organs, period, or to have ever thought about how their bodies worked. Since then, I've never assumed that anyone knows anything about their bodies (and that approach has served me well in my practice over the years, haha ...)

    I'm pretty sure I learned the basics in school over the years; plus, my parents were a physician and an RN, so there was a lot of informal education at home.
  10. by   Nascar nurse
    30 years ago in nursing school had a 40 something year old female patient going thru the worst of menopause with very heavy bleeding. Took me an hour to explain that her liver was not coming out of her vagina. She wasn't being funny - she really believed this was true and I'm not sure I ever really got her convinced that it's just not possible.
  11. by   WKShadowRN
    With popular culture demonstrating individuals referring to theirher vulva as a vagina it tells me that far to many are ignorant in this matter. I instructed a girl with children to clean her labia for the clean catch urine and she asked me what was labia. I told her lips. It asked sounds me but this lack of education is pervasive and extends to overall health illiteracy.
  12. by   Extra Pickles
    Quote from elkpark
    I remember having conversations in my college dorm decades ago (in the '70s) about sex and contraception issues, and was sincerely shocked at the number of other college women who didn't have any idea about the most basic human anatomy -- not just their reproductive systems, but the whole, basic, heart/two lungs/two kidneys/stomach/intestines thing. Many of them appeared to have no idea that they had internal organs, period, or to have ever thought about how their bodies worked.
    and yet these were women who were enrolled in college somewhere so how the heck did they get out of high school without this most fundamental knowledge? I can't wrap my head around this.
  13. by   Extra Pickles
    Quote from Libby1987
    I've heard it said or have known women who have never used a mirror. With explanations similar to not being able to stand the sight of blood, they don't want to look, or never thought to look. What is behind that?
    They don't even have to look, no mirror required, the boys in school learn the same as the girls in school from pictures in textbooks and posters in class. I do dearly hope they aren't learning first-hand in seventh grade what the female anatomy looks like in person! When I was in middle school I surely had never seen a human penis or scrotum but I knew what the heck they were and that they existed in the first place! Just sounds crazy to me that grown women don't know this info.
  14. by   Extra Pickles
    Quote from WKShadowRN
    With popular culture demonstrating individuals referring to theirher vulva as a vagina it tells me that far to many are ignorant in this matter. I instructed a girl with children to clean her labia for the clean catch urine and she asked me what was labia. I told her lips. It asked sounds me but this lack of education is pervasive and extends to overall health illiteracy.
    I can understand that she wasn't educated enough to know the clinical term for parts of anatomy but I hope at least she understood that the opening providing the urine sample wasn't the same opening that produced her children. I hope.

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