HRT Treatment

Following a safety review, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has given the green light for an HRT treatment to be sold over the counter. The Gina 10 microgram vaginal tablets will be available without a prescription from pharmacies for the first time in history.

Seen as a massive step forward in women’s health, the new HRT treatment will benefit millions of women. However, it is important to understand its limitations.

Here, we will look at the new HRT treatment in more depth, alongside the symptoms it can help with.

What is Gina 10 microgram HRT treatment?

Gina 10 microgram are vaginal tablets that contain the oestradiol hormone. It is designed to locally treat the vaginal symptoms of the menopause such as vaginal dryness, uncomfortable sex, itching, and soreness.

Although it will be available without a prescription, a clinical assessment will be required at the pharmacy. This can only be carried out by a pharmacist, and no other member of the pharmacy team.

Can it treat all menopause symptoms?

Looking for help with menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and mood swings? Unfortunately, the Gina 10 microgram tablets won’t tackle every menopause symptom. They are purely designed to treat the vaginal symptoms women experience.

They target the vaginal area only, reducing the risk of them being absorbed into the bloodstream. This means alternative treatments will need to be provided to control other symptoms of the menopause. If you have menopausal symptoms, it is best to speak to an expert gynaecologist about all your treatment options first.

Does Gina 10 microgram come with side effects?

The MHRA claims serious side effects from Gina 10 microgram are rare. Clinical trials did show patients developed less serious side effects such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal discomfort
  • Vaginal bleeding

These side effects tend to be mild and still relatively uncommon. However, if you do experience vaginal bleeding, you will need to be referred to a doctor.

The importance of menopause health checks

The key to controlling menopausal symptoms is to catch them early. However, regardless of how long ago you began experiencing them, a menopause health check is a great way to figure out the best way to treat your symptoms. It will determine the cause, as well as ensure you are receiving the right type of treatment.

Tests will be carried out including blood tests, and a blood pressure check. You can also request additional tests such as a cervical smear test, pelvic ultrasound scan, and breast screening.

Having a menopause health check annually helps to catch any potential problems early, as well as address any concerns you may have. To book a health check, contact our friendly team today. We are also happy to answer any questions you may have about the check-up and what it involves.

gynaecological health

When preparing your body for the hot summer weather, you’ll likely be focused on losing weight or toning up. However, did you know the summer heat can also wreak havoc on your gynaecological health?

Heat, humidity, and wet bathing suits can increase the risk of UTIs and infections. So, how can you protect your vagina from these increased risks as summer temperatures soar?

Here, you’ll discover some top tips on looking after your gynaecological health this summer, and why it matters.

How summer impacts vaginal health

Issues with vaginal health over the summer mostly occur due to the added heat and humidity. As the body heats up, those naturally warm areas such as the vagina, get even hotter. In turn, this increases the moisture in the area, contributing to a build-up of yeast and bacteria.

The clothing you wear can also play a role in your vaginal health. If you wear tight, wet bathing suits for long periods of time, it can cause friction in the area. The wetness will also increase bacteria growth, potentially leading to an infection.

Chlorine found in pools can upset the PH balance of the vagina. If you’re planning on keeping cool in the pool, this is definitely something to be aware of.
So how can you look after your vaginal health this summer?

Protect your gynaecological health this summer

If you want to protect your gynaecological health this summer, there are things you can do. Let’s explore some of the most effective tips you can follow…

Control those moisture levels

Make sure you gently dry your genital area with wipes or a towel. Remember not to rub the area as this will cause irritation. You can also keep moisture levels down by changing out of wet bathing suits quickly and drying the area before putting on something new.

Avoid wearing tight clothes

Tight or synthetic clothing can irritate the skin around your vagina. If you are planning on spending a day at the pool, make sure your bathing suit fits comfortably, and doesn’t dig into the area. If you have been in the water, take a shower when you are done and clean the vagina with a PH balanced wash.

Avoid scented soaps, sprays, and powders

If you are using vaginal soaps, sprays, or powders, make sure they are not scented. This will irritate the genitals, leading to potential problems such as itching and soreness. All vaginal products you use should be PH balanced and unscented.

Book a gynaecological check-up

Attending a gynaecological check-up during summer is a great way to keep tabs on your vaginal health. Any signs of an infection will be picked up on quickly, ensuring you get the treatment needed to help you enjoy the summer months.

To book a gynaecological check-up, get in touch with our friendly professional team today.

menopause testing

Doctors have warned that those who invest in menopause testing kits could be wasting their money. The tests, which can be purchased without a prescription at a cost of £10, claim to be able to diagnose the menopause from the comfort of your own home. However, they may not be as effective as you think.

Here, we look at menopause self-tests and why doctors are warning against using them for a diagnosis.

What is a menopause testing kit?

Do-at-home, menopause testing kits claim to provide a result in just a matter of minutes. They are a urine test designed to detect follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. These hormones are known to aid in the management of the menstrual cycle.

These UK-approved menopause tests appeal to women as they can be carried out from the comfort of their home, without the need to see a doctor. The results are also provided a lot more quickly than if you were to go visit your GP.

They are designed to be taken twice over a couple of weeks to confirm the diagnosis. They have proven extremely popular in recent years, but they may not be as effective as you might think.

Why doctors warn against using them

While FSH levels can be an indicator of the menopause and perimenopause, they cannot diagnose the condition alone. Doctors are warning that the tests could be unreliable and unhelpful to patients. In particular, women over 45 who are experiencing symptoms such as hot flushes will find them to be a waste of time.

If patients do want to use the tests, it is important to seek advice. Whatever the result, it should be double checked to ensure an accurate diagnosis. Importantly, as FSH levels aren’t enough of an indicator to diagnose the menopause, additional checks should be conducted. As well as getting far more accurate testing, the best advice women can receive about managing their symptoms would be from an expert.

Menopause health checks

It can take a while to receive a diagnosis for the menopause when patients visit their GP. However, an accurate and fast diagnosis can be provided by women’s health specialists.

Annual check-ups with a specialist can help to diagnose the menopause and perimenopause as early as possible. They include a BMI and blood pressure check and a consultation with a gynaecologist. Additionally,  blood tests, pelvic and abdominal exams, and a hormone profile can be done if needed.

If you are concerned you may be going through the menopause, book a consultation with one of our expert gynaecologists today. We provide a thorough menopause health check to help detect the condition as early as possible.

endometriosis diagnosis

Endometriosis diagnosis could soon be much easier, thanks to a new imaging study. Currently, patients are being left to suffer due to an inadequate and slow diagnosis. On average, it is estimated that it takes women 8 years to get diagnosed for the condition.

So, what is the new imaging study hoping to reveal and how might it help lead to a faster, more accurate diagnosis?

Understanding the latest study

The latest study is being carried out by researchers at the University of Oxford, alongside Serac Healthcare Ltd. The goal is to come up with a faster diagnosis process for endometriosis.
A 20-minute imaging scan will be investigated to determine if it can detect common types of the condition. At the moment, surgery is the only way to properly diagnose endometriosis, so if the imaging test proves to be effective it would be a huge benefit for patients.

An experimental imaging marker will be used that is known to bind to parts of inflammation in the body. This will allow the researchers to get a visualisation of the disease on a scan. The marker, known as ⁹⁹ᵐTc maraciclatide, has already been used to successfully identify inflammatory conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Somewhere between 2-7 days before participants are due to undergo surgery for suspected cases of the condition, they will be invited for an imaging scan. The researchers will then compare the locations of the disease on the scan to the results found during surgery. This will reveal whether an imaging test could be a faster alternative to surgery to make a diagnosis.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a painful disorder that affects approximately 1.5 million women in the UK, or 1 in 10. Tissue that is similar to the womb lining, begins to grow outside of the uterus. In extreme cases, it can cause nearby organs to fuse together, leading to extreme pain and discomfort. However, most of the time it grows in the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Common symptoms of the condition include:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen or back
  • Pain after or during sex
  • Trouble getting pregnant
  • Abnormal period pain that prevents you from carrying out daily activities
  • Constipation or diarrhoea

The symptoms of the condition can be mild or severe, and they can greatly reduce quality of life.

Getting an accurate endometriosis diagnosis

There are a few reasons why endometriosis diagnosis can be difficult. The symptoms of the condition can relate to a wide range of other issues.

The best way for patients to receive an accurate and timely diagnosis is to get checked over by professionals. Women’s health specialists such as SureScan can provide high-quality consultant-led care. Our friendly expert consultant gynaecologists know exactly what to look out for and they have a greater understanding of a wide range of women’s health conditions, including endometriosis.

Book a consultation now to receive a comprehensive check-up.

causes of infertility

Infertility is one of the leading causes of stress for couples who are wanting to start a family. According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 1 in 7 heterosexual couples in the UK struggle with infertility.

Understanding the cause of your fertility issues is paramount before seeking treatment. To help raise awareness during Infertility Month, here we will look at the most common causes of infertility.

Causes of infertility in women

Women can experience numerous issues with infertility. The most common causes include:

  • Ovulation disorders
  • Gynaecological conditions
  • Blocked uterine tubes

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Endometriosis are two of the most common ovulation disorders that can lead to issues with fertility. Or the issues may be caused by genealogical conditions such as intrauterine adhesions, polyps, and chronic inflammation.

In some cases, fertility issues in women may be caused by blocked uterine tubes. Endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease can both cause the tubes to become blocked.
These are just some of the potential causes of infertility in women. But it is important to note that in some cases the exact cause may not be clear.

Causes of infertility in men

Just like women, men can also experience a range of infertility issues. Some of the most common causes of male infertility include:

  • Low count or poor-quality sperm
  • Poor sperm mobility
  • Abnormal sperm

If a man’s sperm count is less than 15 million sperm cells per millilitre, there might not be enough of it to conceive. If the sperm is too slow to reach the egg, this also poses an issue. In some cases, the sperm cells may also have defects, making them unable to fertilise the egg.

Combined causes of infertility

It isn’t just individual influences that can cause infertility issues for couples. There are also combined factors that may come into play. These include:

  • Age
  • STI’s
  • Smoking and drinking excessive alcohol
  • Chemotherapy
  • Diet
  • Stress

Some of these factors aren’t things that you can change, such as your age. However, there are things couples can do to improve their chances of conceiving. The exact cause needs to be identified to ensure that the right treatment can be undertaken.

Going through fertility issues can put a real strain on couples. It can be a tough journey when one or both partners have issues that need to be addressed. While not all fertility troubles can be fixed, most can be managed and overcome with the right treatment.

If you and your partner have been trying to fall pregnant for more than a year with no success, book a fertility health check with SureScan today. Our friendly and compassionate experts are on hand to help you get to the root of the problem, and advise you of the best treatment option moving forward.

menstrual cycle education

A new UK-wide study has revealed that education in schools about the menstrual cycle still needs improvement. Teachers lack the time, education, and confidence in the subject. Consequently, students are provided with very limited information.

Many girls can find the information they need through social media and other online sites. However, not all information found online is fully accurate. Here, we will look at what the study found, and why menstrual cycle education is so important in schools.

What did the study find?

The study, carried out by multiple universities across the UK, was published in the Frontiers in Global Women’s Health. Researchers from the Swansea university, Nottingham Trent university, University College of London, and University of the West of Scotland, discovered that menstrual cycle education can be, and needs to be, improved.

A total of 789 primary school teachers across the UK were surveyed online. Approximately 91% of them were female. Their study revealed that around 63% of teachers say menstrual cycle lessons are provided. In terms of what education is being offered, 56% of lessons focused on biology, while 40% focused on providing menstrual products. But there is currently a scientific focus, and a gap in providing living experiences.

Despite the lack of information provided, teachers believed the menstrual cycle affects aspects of personal performance and attendance in school. In particular, it is known to affect attendance in PE lessons, pupil confidence, and even overall attitude and behaviour.

Interestingly, 1 in 4 teachers who responded to the survey, revealed they felt uncomfortable teaching students about the menstrual cycle. A staggering 80% of teachers also felt being provided with training would improve their knowledge of the menstrual cycle.

Why is menstrual cycle education important?

The latest study shows there are current failings in menstrual cycle education. So, why does this matter?

Providing menstrual cycle education helps pupils to understand the changes happening in their body. By understanding what is to come, young girls will be more adequately prepared, and more confident when they experience their first period.

Menstrual cycle issues can greatly impact attendance, potentially damaging a student’s education. By providing menstrual products, and educating girls about the symptoms as well as the help available, it can really help to reduce absences.

The right education can empower girls to better manage their symptoms during their menstrual cycle.

Seeking advice from the experts

The latest study shows how current education is lacking for young girls when it comes to their menstrual cycle. If your school doesn’t provide adequate lessons and advice, help is available from gynaecologists and women’s health specialists.

Here at SureScan, we offer a friendly, expert well woman clinic. Adolescents can undergo a simple check up to ensure everything is working as it should. We also provide advice and answer questions to help improve confidence, and offer reassurance for young women about the changes that are occurring.

Pregnant with endometriosis

Endometriosis is a painful and complex condition causing tissue to grow outside of the uterus. While it can lead to issues with fertility, it is possible for sufferers to undergo a healthy pregnancy. However, this will largely depend upon the severity of the condition, alongside the symptoms it presents.

Here, you will discover everything you need to know about getting pregnant with endometriosis.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a painful and debilitating condition that can affect women of all ages. It causes tissue that is similar to the womb lining to grow throughout different areas of the body. This causes the nearby organs to stick together, leading to often severe pain in the affected area.

It is a long-term condition that has a high recurrence rate. Common symptoms include:

Pelvic pain that worsens during the menstrual cycle
Pain after sex
Severe menstrual pain that prevents daily activities
Nausea and vomiting
Difficulty getting pregnant

These are the most common symptoms associated with endometriosis. The trouble is, that the condition often goes undiagnosed, even when women do visit the doctor. This is because the symptoms can often point to other, less severe issues. Therefore, if you do have symptoms, it is always a good idea to have a gynaecology scan to aid a diagnosis.

How easy is it to get pregnant with endometriosis?

While it is possible to undergo a healthy pregnancy, many women suffering from endometriosis find it difficult to conceive. So, how does the condition impact fertility?

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, around 24-50% of women who struggle with infertility have endometriosis. It isn’t known why the condition causes potential issues with fertility, but there are theories.

It could be down to scar tissue and adhesions that make it difficult for the ovaries to release eggs. There is also some evidence to suggest that endometriosis can lead to fewer mature eggs being fertilised. Or it could potentially be down to the inflammation caused by the condition. It can lead to an inhospitable environment, reducing the likelihood of implantation and fertilisation.

Whatever the cause, the good news is there are treatments that can help. So, what treatment options are available to help women with endometriosis to conceive?

Treatment options available

Like many conditions, endometriosis is easier to treat the earlier it is diagnosed. Women with mild to moderate forms of the condition are likely to experience a normal, healthy pregnancy without any treatment. However, those experiencing severe symptoms have a choice of hormonal and non-hormonal treatments alongside surgery. Many women also choose to freeze their eggs to use at a later date. Endometriosis worsens over time, potentially reducing the number of eggs available. So, freezing eggs is a good option for younger endometriosis patients.

If you are worried your endometriosis might be preventing you from getting pregnant, book a fertility health check with SureScan today. This service is recommended for women or couples that are struggling to conceive after a year of trying.

During menopause

Are you struggling with loneliness brought on by menopause? Despite the fact that it happens to all women, many are left feeling isolated and lonely throughout their menopause journey. This, in turn, can cause mental health to suffer, leading to issues with anxiety and depression.

As May 9th-15th marks Mental Health Awareness Week, we felt it was a good time to talk about feeling lonely during the menopause. Why does it lead to a feeling of isolation, and what can be done about it? Discover everything you need to know in this useful blog.

How common is loneliness during menopause?

Loneliness and isolation are surprisingly common for women. It can cause feelings of loneliness as well as contribute to them. There are a lot of theories as to why this is, but whatever the cause, the loneliness experienced can be really difficult to deal with.

Unfortunately, many women don’t feel able to talk about their experiences as they go through the menopause. While there has been some progress made in recent years to raise awareness of the effects the milestone has on women’s mental health, it is still very much a taboo topic for many. Not feeling comfortable discussing their experiences can further exacerbate the feelings of loneliness.

Why do many women feel lonely?

There are a lot of theories as to why women feel lonely during menopause. Just some of the reasons may include:

  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Embarrassment
  • Stigma

During menopause, a woman’s hormone levels fluctuate, leading to side effects such as irritability and mood swings. As oestrogen levels fall, the need to nurture others also reduces. This all contributes to feelings of loneliness as it can make them more difficult to be around.

Symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and fatigue can also play a large role. Many women end up feeling utterly exhausted during menopause, giving them less energy for social get togethers. Anxiety and depression make it easier to isolate, as does the embarrassment that often accompanies menopause.

There is still a stigma attached to menopause, making it difficult for women to speak out about how they feel. All these factors together can understandably lead to loneliness and isolation.

What can be done about it?

Although loneliness is a common feeling, there are things that can help. First, understanding the cause of loneliness is important. It can be really useful to connect with other women who are experiencing the same thing. Social media and local community groups are great for meeting others going through the same experiences.

Managing the effects of the menopause is also crucial. At SureScan, we provide an annual menopause health check which can help identify and treat any issues women are experiencing. To book a menopause health check, contact our friendly team today.

after a miscarriage

Suffering a miscarriage can be devastating, particularly if you have been trying to get pregnant for a long time. According to the Miscarriage Association, one in five pregnancies in the UK end in a miscarriage, resulting in a total of around 250,000 each year. Furthermore, 1 in 100 women goes on to suffer recurring miscarriages of three or more.

While it may be more common than you might realise, that doesn’t make going through a miscarriage any easier to deal with. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t go on to have a healthy pregnancy.

If you are thinking of trying again after a miscarriage, help and support are available. Here, we reveal the main things to consider and the support available should you need it.

Speaking to your doctor

When you suffer a miscarriage, it is important to speak to your doctor. While in most cases, women do go on to have a healthy pregnancy after experiencing a miscarriage, there could be an underlying cause that needs to be addressed. This is especially true if you have experienced recurring miscarriages.

Your doctor will also be able to advise you on when you can start trying again and refer you to a specialist if needed.

How long should I leave it before trying again?

There really is no set answer here. However, you should always wait until you are both emotionally and physically ready to try again.

Physically speaking, you should wait until the symptoms of the miscarriage have passed. This includes any bleeding or pain you might experience. If you don’t wait until these symptoms have cleared up, you do risk developing an infection.

Emotionally, you will know when you are ready to start trying again. Keep in mind that it is possible to ovulate before you have your next period. During this time, you may still be fertile, which means you could get pregnant again. If you aren’t quite ready for that yet, make sure you use contraception until you are.

Your menstrual cycle will likely be shorter or longer during the first month after the miscarriage. For this reason, it is often recommended you begin trying again after your next period.

Seeking help and support after a miscarriage

Going through a miscarriage can be a traumatic time, especially if it isn’t your first one. If you need to, don’t be afraid to reach out for support.

There are a lot of wonderful support groups out there, as well as professional emotional support available. You can also get help to determine why you are experiencing multiple miscarriages.

At SureScan, we provide a recurrent miscarriage service that will help to identify any underlying issues you might be experiencing. You can sit down for a comprehensive appointment with one of our friendly and understanding consultants. Book an initial consultation with our expert team today.

PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects 4-20% of women of reproductive age worldwide. While it is normal for women to experience some changes in their menstrual cycle from time to time, consistent changes could be a sign of this common condition.

A new Apple Women’s Health study has now revealed preliminary insights into PCOS, including its potential causes and association with heart health. Here, we will look at what the study found, and how to determine if you might be suffering from the condition.

Study shows 23% of women have a family history of PCOS

According to a recent study, 23% of patients have a family history of PCOS. If your mother or sister have experienced the condition, there is an increased risk that you could too. Only around 5% of participants in the study who didn’t have the condition, had a family history of PCOS.

The Apple Women’s Health study began in November 2019. Data for the preliminary findings were taken from over 37,000 participants up until December 2021.

Interestingly, the findings revealed that those with PCOS are at risk of developing heart-related issues. These include Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.

The research remains ongoing, with participants able to join and contribute at any time.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a common hormonal condition that affects women of reproductive age. It can cause irregular periods, as well as excess production of the male androgen hormone. Collections of fluid can develop within the ovaries, and they may fail to regularly release any eggs.

It isn’t known what causes PCOS, but with early treatment and lifestyle changes such as losing weight, you can avoid developing long-term complications.

Diagnosing PCOS

It can be difficult to initially determine if you are suffering from PCOS as changes within the menstrual cycle are common. However, there are symptoms you can watch out for to determine if the condition could be causing your abnormal periods. They include:

  • Your period is abnormally heavy and impacts your daily routine
  • The last period you had lasted for more than 10 days
  • You experience your periods more than 38 days, or less than 24 days apart
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Your periods have stopped completely

These symptoms can be a sign of PCOS, but they could also point to other potential issues too. Therefore, if you do experience any of the above, it is important to seek a professional diagnosis.

At SureScan, our specialist gynaecology services can help to detect a range of menstrual disorders. Book a consultation with our friendly and professional team to identify the cause of your abnormal periods today.