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Feb 01, 2021 Commentary
The elephant in the room: tackling taboos in women's healthcare

by Aarti Kapoor and Merryn McKinnon

The medical arena often encounters ‘taboo’ topics. These appear especially prevalent in women's health conditions, such as menstruation and menopause. Taboos are exacerbated by medical uncertainty, complex jargon, and patients' misunderstanding of the human anatomy — impacting patients' ability to actively participate in a shared decision-making process with their doctor. In this commentary, we look at one example of a medical procedure where taboo topics pose a number of challenges in doctor-patient communication — hysterectomy. We explore whether science communication can address these challenges, as well as contribute and collaborate in other medical scenarios, thereby benefiting both disciplines, and ultimately, patients.

Volume 20 • Issue 01 • 2021