News, Culture & Society

Two-thirds don’t know their a**e from their elbow

Millions of Britons are clueless about their bodies, with two thirds literally being unable to tell their a**e from their elbow, a study found. 

More than one thousand members of the Great British public wrongly identified the elbow bone as that of the coccyx, which is located just above the buttocks, or the coccygeal, which is the tail-like bone at the bottom of the spine.

Results also reveal 39 per cent do not know the difference between the kidneys and the liver, while a quarter cannot distinguish between the veins and arteries.

One in 10 men believe a woman’s period lasts for more than a month, while 56 per cent do not know why women have smear tests and a fifth are clueless as to the function of the ovaries.

In addition, some 24 per cent of adults do not know whether females have a prostate gland.

Millions are body clueless, with two thirds being unable to tell their a**e from their elbow


Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is one of the most commonly occurring vaginal conditions.

It is twice as common as thrush. 

BV occurs when there is a change to the natural balance of bacteria in women’s vaginas.

Triggers for the condition include excessive washing, perfumed soaps, menstruation, sex without a condom and certain antibiotics.

BV can be symptom less or can cause a fishy smell from the vagina; a watery, grey, thin discharge; or just more discharge than normal. 

Treatment is available as a gel or pessary over the counter. Antibiotics are available on prescription.

Source: Balance Activ 

‘A worry when spotting any potential health issues’

The survey of 1,000 men and 1,000 women, commissioned by intimate health brand Balance Activ, also revealed one in 10 females are unsure what happens to their bodies during menopause.

And, perhaps more worryingly, just over a fifth of women are in the dark about why they require smear tests.

More than one third of women are not completely sure what their ovaries do, and a quarter have no idea of the function of a man’s prostate, compared to 27 per cent of men.

The study also found 41 per cent of women do not know if Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a sexually transmitted infection, while six in 10 are unaware what the condition is.

Half of females are clueless as to the potentially serious implications of leaving BV untreated.

More than one in 10 women say they would use vaginal deodorants, washes or douches to relieve the symptoms of the condition, despite these products actually being potential BV causes.

Dr Sarah Jarvis said: ‘BV is one of the most common vaginal conditions and is in fact twice as prevalent as thrush.

‘BV occurs due to the overgrowth of bad bacteria in the vagina, which can occur when the natural balance is disrupted by something as simple as washing with a fragranced soap.’

Anne Dawson, senior marketing manager for Balance Activ, added: ‘We know that intimate conditions such as BV and thrush can often be misdiagnosed, and the key to getting the right advice is to understand your symptoms, and what the problem is.

‘Having knowledge and the reassurance from people who understand BV gives you the confidence to talk, this makes all the difference when it comes to managing your health and overall well-being.’ 

Dr Jarvis added: ‘Even though, when you think about it, it should really be the one thing we know most about, this study suggests that actually we know very little about our bodies.

‘This lack of awareness could also suggest that we take certain functions for granted, which could be a bit of a worry when it comes to spotting any potential health issues.

‘Having a basic understanding of how our bodies work can help us keep tabs on when we may not be functioning at 100 per cent health and can help us notice any changes that may require some medical advice to help us get back on track.’

Half do not check their bodies for abnormalities  

Only one fifth of Britons believe they are in-tune with bodies, despite 95 per cent thinking that knowing how your body works is important to staying healthy, the survey adds.

Yet, half of those polled revealed they do not regularly check their bodies for abnormalities.

In addition, around one in 10 pay more attention to their physical appearance than their health. 

When it comes to seeking help and advice, Britons are most likely to confide in their partner over intimate health issues, yet one third of men and 29 per cent of women would rather talk to their GP.

Despite this, 55 per cent of Britons wait more than a week before making an appointment to see their GP or taking any additional action.