Premenstrual Disorders

A recent study has revealed women who have premenstrual disorders are twice as likely to go through early menopause. This new finding could have important implications for many women’s health.

Here, we’ll break down what the latest research says, how early menopause can impact your overall health, and why regular screenings are important.

Premenstrual disorders and their connection to early menopause

The recent study published in JAMA Network Open, suggests that women with premenstrual disorders may face a higher risk of going through early menopause. Self-reported health data from 3,600 nurses from 1991 to 2017 was used in the observational study.

The researcher’s discovered women were twice as likely to experience early menopause before the age of 45, if they had a premenstrual disorder. While this was only an observational study, prior research has also indicated a similar connection.

Premenstrual disorders can range from mild premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms to a more severe type known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Both can greatly affect a woman’s daily life. PMS symptoms such as bloating and irritability are the most common, affecting up to 30% of women.

Understanding the health concerns of early menopause

Early menopause isn’t just distressing for many women, it can also lead to several health concerns.

It’s not just about missing your period or saying goodbye to monthly cycles. Starting menopause early can lead to the following health issues:

Bone Health – One of the main concerns with early menopause is the increased risk of osteoporosis. Our bones need the hormone oestrogen to stay strong, and menopause reduces its production. Women who experience menopause earlier may have a higher risk of weakened bones and fractures.

Heart Health – Oestrogen also plays a role in protecting our heart. When menopause begins early, the protective benefits of this hormone are reduced sooner, possibly increasing the risk of heart disease.

Mental Health – The transition into menopause can sometimes affect mood and well-being. Women who undergo early menopause can experience mood swings, anxiety, and even depression. It’s essential to keep an open dialogue with a doctor about any emotional changes.

While these health concerns may seem daunting, there are ways to protect your health if you do go through the menopause early. The key is to stay informed, attend regular health check-ups, and speak openly with your doctor about any changes or worries you may have.

The importance of regular screening

Menopause check-ups can prove invaluable for spotting any potential health problems early on. They are also quick and painless, giving you reassurance and helping to address any side effects that you may be experiencing.

If you suffer from a premenstrual disorder, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will go through the menopause early. However, if you do, regular screenings can help to ensure any potential health issues are picked up early.

Call our friendly team to make an appointment for a menopause health check at SureScan today to keep on top of your pre- or post-menopausal health.

Exercising with Endometriosis

Living with endometriosis isn’t easy. For many, it’s a daily challenge of managing pain, fatigue, and the emotional toll the condition can take. However, one thing that can help to make living with endometriosis a little easier, is exercise.

While the thought of getting active when you’re in pain can sound absurd, there are certain exercises you can do to provide relief.

In today’s blog, we’ll explore the challenges faced when exercising with the condition, and the types of activities you should focus on.

The challenges of exercising with endometriosis

Endometriosis brings with it a unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to physical activity.

Pain, bloating, and fatigue can sometimes make even the simplest movements feel daunting. The inflammation and adhesions caused by endometriosis can cause discomfort, making certain exercises feel more painful than beneficial.

The emotional toll of endometriosis can also sometimes make motivation hard to come by. However, despite these challenges, it’s important to remember the many benefits of staying active, even in small ways.

While it’s essential to listen to your body, finding a balance between rest and movement can help in better managing the condition.

Walking it off – benefits of the Hot Girl Walk trend

One of the best exercises you can do when you have endometriosis is walking. It’s gentle yet effective, and for those looking for something a little higher impact, the Hot Girl Walk currently trending on TikTok could be ideal.

More than just a trend and contrary to its name, the Hot Girl Walk isn’t just about looking your best. It promotes a daily stroll outdoors paired with uplifting tunes or enlightening podcasts to improve your mental health.

While daily walks can lead to well-known physical perks, like better cardiovascular health and improved mobility, the Hot Girl Walk is about internal transformation. During the walk you focus on gratitude, setting and reflecting on personal goals, and recognising and celebrating your self-worth.

It can help you manage both the pain and the emotional issues that come with endometriosis.

Exercises to avoid with endometriosis

While exercise can be beneficial for those with endometriosis, it’s also essential to know which workouts can worsen the symptoms.

High impact exercises, like heavy weightlifting or intense plyometric workouts, can place added strain onto the pelvic region. This can potentially lead to more discomfort.

Some twisting movements, like certain yoga poses, can also cause pain for those with adhesions or cysts. Also, any exercise that places direct pressure on the abdomen or pelvic area, such as certain core workouts, should be approached with caution.

If you are finding it hard to exercise due to endometriosis or pelvic pain, schedule an appointment at the SureScan clinic. Treatments to help manage the condition are available, and could help you get back to the exercises you enjoy.

vaccines during pregnancy

Pregnancy can be an exciting journey, but it can also be daunting. You need to keep both you and your baby safe, which includes preventing viruses. But, how safe is it to have vaccines during pregnancy?

With winter on the way, it’s important to think about how you can avoid illnesses like the flu and coronavirus. Read on to find everything you need to know.

Can you have vaccines during pregnancy?

A common question many expectant mothers have is whether it’s safe to receive flu and COVID vaccines during pregnancy. The short answer is yes!

Health experts, including the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommend these vaccines as a safe and effective way to protect both the mother and the baby from severe illnesses. These vaccines have undergone rigorous testing and have been administered to countless pregnant women, with reassuring safety records.

Receiving vaccinations can help ensure a smoother pregnancy by reducing the risk of complications related to flu and coronavirus.

Weighing up the risks

To decide whether to get vaccinated, it’s helpful to weigh the risks of contracting coronavirus against the risks of the vaccine itself.

Coronavirus, and its many variants, poses a significant threat to our health. For pregnant women, the risk of severe illness and complications is even higher. On the other hand, the COVID vaccine has been thoroughly studied, showing minimal risks, and proving to be effective in preventing severe illness.

When you’re expecting, your body is working extra hard to create a nurturing environment for your growing baby. This can make you more vulnerable to infections as your immune system is typically weaker throughout the pregnancy.

Sadly, despite the outweighed benefits of having vaccines during pregnancy, fewer pregnant women are getting these vaccines than experts would hope. To illustrate, last year only 35% of pregnant women received the flu vaccine, a slight drop compared to 37.9% in 2021.

When should you get vaccinated?

Timing is everything, especially when it comes to vaccines during pregnancy. For the flu vaccine, it’s generally advised to get vaccinated before flu season is in full swing. This helps ensure optimal protection against the virus throughout the season.

When it comes to the COVID vaccine, health guidelines suggest that it can be administered at any stage of pregnancy. However, consulting with your healthcare provider is crucial to determine the best timing based on your individual needs.

Getting vaccinated at the right time can help you have a worry-free pregnancy while keeping you and your little one protected.

If you are concerned about the risks involved, you can undergo routine tests to ensure the pregnancy is progressing as it should. Our highly experienced consultant gynaecologists at SureScan can offer a range of pregnancy health services and scans to help give you peace of mind, care and support when you need it the most.

health precautions

As students begin a new term at university, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is urging them to take precautions to protect their sexual health. Both gonorrhoea and HPV cases have increased dramatically in young people, leading to potentially serious consequences.

Here, we look at the rise in sexually transmitted disease, and how to protect your sexual health.

Cases of gonorrhoea increase by over 50%

In 2022, figures showed a startling rise in gonorrhoea cases. The UKHSA reported an increase of more than 50%, bringing the count to over 82,500 cases.

This preventable sexually transmitted disease is most common among young adults, particularly those aged 19-20. Last year, there were around 400 sexually transmitted infections diagnosed every day in young people.

While increased testing might account for some of these rising numbers, experts believe there’s more to it. They suggest that we might be seeing a broader spread of STIs within the community.

Another growing concern is the reduced effectiveness of antibiotics against this infection. As gonorrhoea is becoming more resistant to antibiotics, there’s a risk that it could become untreatable in the future.

Typically, symptoms manifest within two weeks post-infection, but it could sometimes take longer. Common signs include a green or yellow discharge from the genitals, and pain during urination. However, most people don’t exhibit any symptoms at all.

Sexually transmitted HPV rates soar

It isn’t just gonorrhoea rates that are increasing. There has been a worrying rise in sexually transmitted HPV, with some cases leading to oropharyngeal cancer. This type of cancer targets areas like the back of the throat, tonsils, and tongue.

The CDC has blamed HPV as the primary cause behind a staggering 70% of oropharyngeal cancer cases. The trouble is the disease can be difficult to detect.

Data reveals that roughly 3.6% of women and 10% of men experience oral HPV. Although many HPV infections resolve on their own in a few months, there is the risk they could turn into something more sinister like throat cancer.

The HPV vaccine has shown to be highly effective at curbing the transmission of HPV. However, uptake of the vaccine is down, with The National Cancer Institute pointing out that just 54.5% of teens aged 13-15 have received the advised two to three doses of the vaccine.

Protecting your sexual health

Looking after your sexual health is as crucial as any other aspect of your well-being. One of the easiest and most effective ways to stay safe is by always using protection, such as condoms, which can help shield you from risks like gonorrhoea.

With the rising concerns about HPV, getting vaccinated is also a smart move. This vaccine not only keeps you safe from the virus, but also from potential complications. Remember, even if you feel fine, it’s essential to have regular sexual health check-ups. Some issues might not show clear symptoms but can be caught early with routine visits. Without treatment, you can risk serious consequences like pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy or infertility.

To keep on top of your sexual health, book an appointment with one of our friendly, expert consultant gynaecologists at SureScan. They will ensure you receive a fully confidential, best quality of care possible. If any sexual health infections are detected, then treatment can be organised straight away, to help prevent any future health issues.

painful bloating

Though not an official medical term, ‘Endo belly’ is used to describe the severe bloating and discomfort that often accompanies endometriosis. Affecting one in 10 women with the condition, it is often misdiagnosed as IBS due to its similar symptoms.

In today’s blog, we’ll break down what Endo Belly is, how diet can be used to manage the symptoms, and how to receive a timely and accurate diagnosis.

What is Endo Belly?

Endo Belly refers to the severe abdominal bloating that women with endometriosis often endure. While it bears similarities to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it’s generally connected to a woman’s menstrual cycle. The discomfort typically occurs before or during menstruation, although it’s not limited to these times.

A recent study revealed that 96% of women with endometriosis experience painful bloating. Unlike the more generalised bloating that people with regular menstrual cycles might encounter, it can be intensely painful. The factors that cause Endo Belly remain unclear, but theories suggest that a mix of increased gas formation, inflammation, and altered gut microbiota might be to blame.

Some abdominal bloating can be considered a natural byproduct of active gut flora. However, the extreme bloating associated with Endo Belly signifies a far more significant and often debilitating condition.

Can your diet control painful bloating?

The role of diet in managing Endo Belly is an area of growing interest among healthcare professionals and patients alike. While no one-size-fits-all solution exists, certain dietary changes have shown promise in reducing the severe bloating that accompanies endometriosis.

Eliminating or reducing foods known to cause inflammation, such as processed foods, sugars, and certain fats, can offer some relief. Adopting a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins may also help.

However, individual responses to dietary changes can vary significantly. Therefore, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider for a personalised plan tailored to your specific needs.

Getting an endometriosis diagnosis

Diagnosing endometriosis can be a complex and often frustrating process. Symptoms are easily mistaken for other conditions like IBS, making accurate diagnosis challenging.

A comprehensive evaluation involving clinical assessments, imaging scans, and sometimes even laparoscopic surgery, are required for a definitive diagnosis. Given the complex nature of endometriosis and its symptoms, consultation with gynaecologists, gastroenterologists, and other specialists, is often recommended for a thorough diagnosis and effective treatment plan.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that you suspect could be related to endometriosis, early diagnosis is crucial for effective management and relief. SureScan provides a range of scans that can identify and help diagnose conditions like endometriosis, giving you the information you need for a targeted treatment plan.

Don’t let painful symptoms dictate your life. Schedule a gynaecological scan today and take the first step towards reclaiming your health.

menstrual health

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has revealed new workplace guidelines to increase support for women experiencing menstrual health challenges and menopause. This is not just progress; it’s a monumental leap forward.

The new guidelines include initiatives such as workspace modifications, specialised training for managers, and flexible work options. These changes aim to shatter long-standing taboos and ensure that workplaces are not just retaining talent but nurturing it.

What are the new standards?

The new guidelines set by the BSI aim to make work environments more accommodating for women experiencing menstrual health issues or who are going through menopause.

From training managers to be more aware of the unique challenges faced by women, to ensuring facilities are easily accessible, the guidelines offer tangible solutions for immediate implementation.

Companies are advised to scrutinise their existing policies to ensure they address and include considerations for menstrual and menopausal health.

After data from the Fawcett Society revealed that one in 10 women has left a job due to menopausal symptoms, flexible working patterns are highlighted as a necessary adaptation.

BSI acknowledges that experiences with menstruation and menopause can be highly individual, and not everyone will want or require the same level of support. Even so, these standards mark a step forward in creating more inclusive workplaces for all.

Boosting staff retention

With a high number of women leaving their job due to menopausal symptoms, it highlights the need to create more supportive work environments.

By implementing the BSI’s new guidelines on menstrual health and menopause, companies stand to gain significantly. Not only do these measures create a more inclusive environment, but they also contribute to higher levels of employee satisfaction and retention.

Trained managers, flexible working conditions, and amenities designed to alleviate symptoms can transform a difficult period into a manageable one, thereby reducing the likelihood of experienced staff seeking opportunities elsewhere.

It’s a win-win situation; businesses retain valuable talent, and employees feel supported during challenging times.

Help for menstrual health and menopause symptoms

With these new guidelines, women should find it easier to get the support they need at work.

As well as getting help inside the workplace, women are also encouraged to undergo regular health checks. Undergoing a menopause health check or gynaecological scan can help to pinpoint any issues that may be causing unpleasant symptoms.

If you are experiencing issues brought on by your menstrual health or the menopause, schedule an appointment with SureScan today. Early detection and tailored treatments can make all the difference.

vaginal dryness

According to recent figures from the British Menopause Society, one in three women experience vaginal dryness during menopause. Alongside vaginal itching and irritation, these common symptoms can prove challenging to manage.

The good news is these challenges don’t need to define your menopause journey. Here, we look at what vaginal dryness is, what causes the problem, and how you can treat it.

What is vaginal dryness?

Vaginal dryness can show up in different ways. Some women might notice it only occurs during intimate moments, while others may experience continuous discomfort throughout the day. Along with dryness, you may experience a range of other sensations, such as a feeling of ‘prickliness,’ itchiness, irritation, and even pain.

This condition can increase your susceptibility to yeast infections (also known as thrush). This happens because the delicate tissues of the vagina lose their natural defences due to the dryness. You might notice a change in your vaginal discharge as well, which could either decrease or increase.

The risk of developing bacterial vaginosis can also increase when you have vaginal dryness. It occurs when there’s an imbalance in the usual bacteria that live in the vagina. In some cases, if there’s an increase in vaginal discharge, it might lead to more irritation.

The causes of vaginal dryness

The hormone known as oestrogen plays a significant role in maintaining the lubrication, health, and elasticity of our tissues. However, during perimenopause and menopause, levels of this crucial hormone drop, leading to delicate and dry tissues.

This hormonal shift can also result in loss of elasticity in the vagina and vulva, potentially making intimate moments painful. The vagina might also become shorter and lose its natural folds, undergoing changes medically termed as urogenital atrophy.

Treating vaginal dryness

Menopausal changes such as vaginal dryness, itching, and irritation are common but can be managed with a variety of solutions. Lubricants, especially oil, water-based or silicone-based, can help during intimate moments.

For daily relief, over-the-counter vaginal moisturisers and soap-free washes are beneficial. Remember to avoid any products with perfumes or added features like heating or tingling, as these might cause more discomfort.

If over-the-counter treatments don’t provide enough relief, medical options are available. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) might help some women, but for others, supplementary vaginal oestrogen, prescribed by your doctor, can be beneficial. Applying oestrogen directly to the vagina exposes your body to only a tiny amount, minimising risk while alleviating symptoms. Remember, everyone is unique, so what works best will depend on your personal circumstances and symptoms.

If you are experiencing vaginal dryness or any other concerning symptoms, schedule a menopause health check with SureScan today.

Period flu

Have you ever noticed that the telltale signs of your period’s arrival seem suspiciously like flu symptoms? If so, you’re not alone!

Many women experience what has become colloquially known as ‘period flu’ – a range of premenstrual symptoms that mimic those of the flu.

In this blog, we’ll look at what period flu is, why it happens, and what you can do to manage the symptoms.

What is Period Flu?

While ‘period flu’ isn’t a term officially recognised in the medical world, it describes the symptoms many women experience alongside PMS.

PMS generally occurs five to seven days before menstruation starts, and eases once it begins. Period flu could last from a few days up to two weeks, intensifying around two days before your period begins. The main symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Back pain
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

The severity of these symptoms can vary from mild to severe, and in some cases, they could prevent you from carrying out daily activities.

Why do some women experience Period Flu?

Scientists aren’t sure why period flu occurs in some women. However, it is known that hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle are likely contributors. For example, oestrogen and serotonin are thought to be responsible for symptoms like fatigue.

Lower levels of oestrogen, besides affecting serotonin, can prompt the release of norepinephrine in the brain. This in turn can lead to a decline in vital brain chemicals like dopamine and acetylcholine, potentially leading to symptoms such as fatigue and insomnia.

Studies suggest that some gastrointestinal issues experienced during menstruation, including cramps, pain, and diarrhoea, might occur due to the immune system’s response to higher levels of prostaglandins. These hormone-like substances are present throughout the menstrual cycle, but peak during menstruation, causing an inflammatory response.

Lifestyle choices can also influence symptoms. Diets rich in processed foods, alcohol, fried food, caffeine, and sugar can be a contributor. Poor sleep hygiene and a lack of regular exercise can also exacerbate the symptoms, according to research.

Managing PMS symptoms

If you suffer with period flu symptoms, making a few lifestyle changes can help. According to preliminary studies, a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and seafood, can help manage the symptoms. Adding calcium-rich foods such as milk and yoghurt to your diet may also be beneficial.

A study published in the Taiwan Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, found that consuming 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily helped reduce PMS symptoms, including fatigue, changes in appetite, and depression.

While period flu symptoms are common, they could be a sign of an underlying problem. To ensure you receive the best possible treatment to address the cause of your symptoms, book a gynaecology scan with SureScan today.

Male Fertility

New research has hinted at a link between job-related activities and sperm quality. Led by scientists from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the latest study reveals that men who engage in jobs requiring regular lifting of heavy objects, tend to have a greater sperm count compared to those in less physically demanding roles.

Published in the journal, Human Reproduction, the research falls under the larger Environment and Reproductive Health (EARTH) study. The EARTH study focuses on examining the impact of environmental factors and lifestyle choices on reproductive health. The researchers aimed to explore how occupational factors could be connected to sperm concentration and testosterone levels in men.

Here, we look at the rising rates of male infertility, and what the study revealed about the effects physical labour has on fertility.

Problems affecting male fertility

Male infertility is a growing problem across the West. Issues with sperm count and semen quality are the primary contributors to these escalating rates. In an eye-opening analysis led by the EARTH study group, it was revealed that men who sought fertility treatment experienced a staggering decline in sperm count and quality, dropping by up to 42% from the year 2000 to 2017.

Mounting evidence also suggests a link between male infertility and prevalent chronic ailments such as cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases.

How physically demanding work boosts male fertility

The EARTH study represents a joint effort between Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Mass General. Their goal is to examine how environmental elements and lifestyle choices impact fertility.

With a comprehensive collection of samples and survey responses from over 1,500 individuals, the study zoomed in on a specific group within this pool – those who were having fertility issues. There were a total of 377 men included in the study, whose partners were seeking help at a fertility clinic.

The findings revealed men who frequently lifted or moved heavy objects in their line of work had a 46% increase in sperm concentration. Furthermore, there was a 44% rise in total sperm count compared to those engaged in less physically demanding professions.

Men who were more physically active at work were also found to have elevated levels of testosterone. Surprisingly, they also had higher levels of oestrogen, which is typically considered a female hormone.

Undergo a fertility health check

There are a lot of factors that can impact male fertility. While this recent study suggests physically demanding work could boost male fertility, it’s important to get to the bottom of the issue.

If you or your partner are experiencing fertility issues, book a fertility health check with SureScan. Together, we’ll get to the root cause of the problem, and explore the treatment options available.

menopause symptoms

Researchers in the UK have recently discovered middle-aged women with long COVID tend to experience worse menopause symptoms. These include feeling extreme tiredness, having trouble thinking clearly, getting dizzy out of the blue, and finding it hard to sleep all night.

As more information about long COVID comes to light, it seems women who are going through menopause, or are close to it, might have a higher chance of facing tough complications from the virus. Here, we look at what the latest study revealed and how to treat worsening symptoms caused by long COVID.

What did the study reveal?

The recent study revealed women going through the menopause have a rougher time dealing with long COVID symptoms. It suggests that this might be down to lower levels of the hormone oestrogen. Symptoms of long COVID were reported to be worse the days before the menstrual cycle was due to start. This is when the hormone levels are at their lowest.

There were 460 women included in the study, and 50% stated their menstrual cycle had changed or stopped since they developed long COVID. One theory about long COVID is that it may cause a temporary mix-up in the way the ovaries make steroid hormones. This mix-up could make the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause even tougher to handle.

Symptom overlap may lead to misdiagnosis

The symptoms of both long COVID and the menopause do overlap, which makes it easier to misdiagnose the issue. Research from The North American Menopause Society indicates that addressing hormonal deficiencies is crucial for women to recover effectively from long COVID.

Astonishingly, the American Medical Association notes that long COVID has been linked to over 200 symptoms. These symptoms usually start a few weeks to a few months after a COVID infection. While their duration varies, the hope is that they won’t last forever.

Middle-aged women often face symptoms like those of long COVID. These include symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, and mood swings. They also suffer with concentration and memory issues, joint and muscle pain, and headaches, which are also common in menopause.

Treating Long COVID in menopause

Estradiol, a potent oestrogen hormone in women, has been found to be beneficial against COVID. This hormone is also used in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat menopause symptoms more effectively. Especially when dealing with long COVID. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons as oestrogen-based HRT has been associated with a higher risk of endometrial, breast, and ovarian cancers.

Addressing perimenopause symptoms could not only eliminate your discomfort but might also reduce long COVID symptoms if they are interrelated. Adopting a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition (especially avoiding carbs and sweets before periods), getting at least 7 hours of sleep, engaging in regular exercise, managing stress, and limiting alcohol consumption can be beneficial.

Worsening menopause symptoms could be a sign of something other than long COVID. For peace of mind and to determine what is going on, book a menopause health check today with SureScan.