Women's Health Page
At Moatfield Surgery, we not only want to help you to manage your current health needs, but also to prevent further health problems developing. This page is to help educate women on their own health and how to look after yourselves.
This is even more crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic and people may struggle to maintain healthy lifestyles and stay motivated.
Taking more exercise, having a healthier diet, achieving a healthy weight, stopping smoking and drinking less alcohol can improve your health and help prevent many long term conditions.
- Breast Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
- Gynaecological Health
- Domestic Violence
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer are over the age of 50, but younger women can also get breast cancer.
It's vital that women check their breasts regularly for any changes and always have any changes examined by a GP. CoppaFeel have put together a video on how to regularly check your breasts.
We understand with busy lives that remembering to check your breasts can slip the mind. Luckily for you, CoppaFeel have put together a reminder service where you'll get monthly reminders to check your breasts!
Now you know why you should check, sign up here.
Cervical cancer develops in a woman's cervix (the entrance to the womb from the vagina). It mainly affects sexually active women aged between 30 and 45.
Almost all cases of cervical cancer are cause by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a group of viruses, spread during sexual intercourse or other types of sexual activity. Most women will get some type of HPV infection at some point in their lives. The two highest risk types of HPV are 16 and 18 which cause the vast majority of cervical cancers. There is no treatment for HPV but it is important to remember most infections do not cause any problems and the body clears the virus naturally.
HPV and Cancer of the cervix often has no symptoms especially in its early stages. The best way to protect yourself from cervical cancer is by attending cervical screening (previously known as a "smear test") when invited. During cervical screening a small sample of cells is taken from the cervix and tested for HPV.
The NHS Cervical Screening Programme invites all women from the age of 25 to 64 to attend cervical screening. Women aged 25 to 49 are offered screening every 3 years and those aged 50 to 64 are offered screening every 5 years.
For young women recieving a smear test can seem like a daunting procedure. Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust have put together a guide to your cervicle screening.
Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers today. In most cases cervical cancer can be prevented through early detection and treatment of abnormal cell changes that occur in the cervix years before cervical cancer develops. In order to do this, we have to educate women on the tools for prevention, detection and screening awareness.
Both girls and boys aged 12 to 13 years are offered the HPV vaccine as part of the NHS vaccination programme. For more information Click Here.
To learn more about the Cervical Cancer Screening, Pap and HPV tests, the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC) have great recources.
The Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is the time from the first day of a woman's period to the day before her next period. The length of the menstrual cycle varies from woman to woman, but the average is to have periods every 28 days. Regular cycles that are longer or shorter than this, from 21 to 40 days, are normal.
Some women will experience painful periods. this is usually caused by the womb contracting to push out the blood. To help manage pain you can take over-the counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol.
Read more about Period Pain
Some women will experience heavier periods than others. This is completely normal. If however your periods are so heavy that they impact your life, help is available. Talk to your GP about your bleeding. It would be useful to keep a diary including how often you change your sanitary protection (towels, tampons or menstrual cup)
Irregular periods can be common during puberty and just before the menopause.
However bleeding between your periods or after intercourse should not be ignored especially if it lasts for more than a few months. Please see your GP to discuss this further.
Read more about Irregular Periods
Stopped or Missed Periods
There are many reasons why you may miss your periods, or why periods may stop altogether. Some common reasons are:
- Sudden Weight Loss
- Being Overweight
- Reasing the Menopause.
If your periods stop and you're concered, see your GP. Read more about stopped or missed periods.
PMS ( Premenstrual Syndrome)
PMS is thought to be linked to changing levels of hormones throught the menstrual cycle.
Not all women get PMS. If you do, the range and severity of symptoms can vary.
Symptoms may include:
- mood swings
- feeling depressed or irritable
- breast tenderness
A severe form of PMS is categorised as Premenstrual dysphoric disorder which can be severely disabling. Please see your GP if you are struggling.
Read more about PMS, including symptoms and treatment.
The menopause is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman's oestrogen levels decline. In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51.
Although a natural part of aging it can be an extremely difficult period of their life for many women and it is often dismissed or diminished within society. If you are struggling please reach out to your GP. Hormone replacement therapy can be a very effective way of treating the menopause but is not for everyone and there are other alternatives which can be used.
Symptoms of the menopause
- hot flushes
- night sweats
- vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
- difficulty sleeping
- low mood or anxiety
- reduced sex drive (libido)
- problems with memory and concentration
The Womens Health Concern (WHC)'s put together a very educational fact sheet answering all the FAQ regarding the menopause.
Menopause Support aims to highlight the menopause and discuss treatment options honestly.
We at moatfield take domestic violence very seriously. So seriously infact we have a full page dedicated to resources and help guides.
Click Here to take a look at our domestic abuse page.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
A surprising common medical condition with up to 8% of women experiencing it in some form.
- Feeling of heaviness around the stomache or genitals
- Dragging discomfort inside the vagina
- Feeling like something is coming down the vagina
- discomfort during sex
- problems urinating i.e incontinence
Please see your GP if you are suffering with any of the above symptoms.
Common causes include being overweight, childbirth and getting older.
Often good regular pelvic floor exercises can help but sometimes vagina pessaries or surgery is required.