With our busy lives, it sometimes can be easy to neglect our personal health. However, we cannot stress enough the importance of a thorough gynaecological check-up. Here at The McIndoe Centre, we offer all of the most important screenings to ensure your health is looked after.
Gynaecological check up
Thorough gynaecological check-ups include a full examination including a breast examination and cervical smear. Other issues may also be explored as appropriate and we are happy to offer a computerised recall system for those who would like to be reminded that they are due for a screening.
Sexual health screen
Most sexually transmitted diseases can be prevented by use of a condom and ensuring no penetration take place without protection, however sexual health screens are still incredibly important.
The most common sexual diseases are Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. Screening for these diseases is highly recommended, as if left untreated, damage can be caused to the fallopian tubes and lead to infertility. Testing is simple and can be combined with a cervical smear. Additionally, a full sexual health screening can be arranged if required.
Screening for ovarian cancer
Unfortunately, Ovarian cancer tends to present itself late as it rarely shows symptoms until it is already advanced. Screening strategies are yet to be shown effective in this disease, although in selected cases they may be effective. As always, it is best to discuss your options with the doctor.
Screening for breast cancer
The NHS advocates Mammograms every three years from 50 to 70 years of age, however many countries have screening programmes that include more frequent Mammograms starting from age 40. Here at The McIndoe Centre, we are happy to discuss adequate screening for you individually.
Screening for cervical cancer
The cervical smear remains the most reliable test for screening for cervical pre-cancers, and this may be supplemented with HPV testing in some circumstances. The NHS advocates screening every three years from the age of 25, however many other countries offer screening every year.
Cervical cancer vaccine
A vaccine is now available to prevent infection with HPV types 6, 11, 16 & 18. These viruses are associated with most cases of cancer of the cervix and many cases of genital warts. The vaccine is licensed for use in women aged 9 to 26 years, and reduces the risk of these diseases very significantly in the first few years. However, it is not yet certain how long the effect will last, or whether boosters will be required.
Heavy or irregular period
The cause of heavy or irregular periods should be sought before assuming that the bleeding is normal. Most of the time the diagnosis is dysfunctional uterine bleeding, which simply means abnormal bleeding when other pathology has been excluded. Fortunately, very successful treatments have been developed for heavy periods.
One of the simplest treatments is the Mirena coil. This can be inserted without difficulty and provides effective treatment for five years. An alternative is a form of endometrial ablation, such as Thermablate, which involves heat treatment to thin the lining of the uterus. This can be done very simply, and causes minimal side effects.
Menopause and the role of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Women who are able to cope with the symptoms of menopause without undue suffering, or have only mild symptoms, should not use HRT. However, women with more severe symptoms affecting their quality of life should consider it. HRT can be tried for a relatively short period of time with minimal risk in order to assess the effect. Many women will see great relief from severe symptoms.
Every year, new and exciting methods of contraception are introduced to the general public. Everyone has different needs and expectations, and careful consideration must be taken to find the right method for you.
No two patients are alike, and here at The McIndoe Centre, we are dedicated to helping you find the safest and most appropriate form of contraception for you as an individual.