26th July 2022 | Posted by Sara Wolfe
Birth control, headaches, and migraine: What’s the link?
What’s the link between birth control and headaches?
No birth control method is perfect, and each type has its risks. Each body is different and may react to forms of birth control differently. We explore the link between birth control and headaches or migraines.
What exactly is a migraine with aura, for readers who are unfamiliar with the term?
About one in three people with a migraine have migraines with aura. The auras usually happen before a headache.
Auras usually start happening gradually over about five minutes and last for up to an hour.
Auras are most commonly to do with your sight. Your speech can also be affected. Some people feel disoriented or confused, or can faint, although this is rare.
The common aura symptoms related to your sight include:
• blind spots
• seeing coloured spots or lines
• seeing flashing or flickering lights
• seeing zig zag patterns
• temporary blindness
Other aura symptoms can include:
• numbness or tingling sensation like pins and needles in parts of your body
• muscle weakness
• feeling dizzy or off balance
What’s the link between birth control and migraines with aura? Is there a specific type of birth control that affects it?
If you have migraine with aura, you’re about twice as likely to have an ischaemic stroke (a type of stroke caused by a blockage in an artery that supplies blood to the brain) in your lifetime, compared to those without migraine. However, the overall risk linked to migraine is still very low, and you are far more likely to have a stroke because of other risk factors like smoking and high blood pressure.
The combined oral contraceptive pill (‘the pill’), the contraceptive vaginal ring (‘the ring’) and the contraceptive patch (‘the patch’) contain the hormone oestrogen. They are all called ‘combined hormonal contraceptives’. Taking oestrogen causes you to have a slightly increased risk of having a stroke (compared with the normal risk).
Taking combined hormonal contraception therefore further increases the risk of a stroke in women who have migraine with aura. Because of this, women who have migraine with aura are not usually given combined hormonal contraceptions.
If you have migraine without aura you should be able to take combined hormonal contraception, unless you have other risk factors like smoking or being overweight.
Does this mean that birth control could increase risk of stroke, bearing in mind migraines with aura can increase risk of ischemic stroke?
The risk of having a stroke is low even if you have migraine with aura and take combined hormonal contraception and is likely to be even lower if you do not smoke or have high blood pressure. However, as the risk is directly related to the oestrogen in the combined hormonal contraceptives, it can be avoided by using non-oestrogen methods of contraception.
The World Health Organization have made recommendations to ensure safe prescribing of combined hormonal contraceptives by identifying women at risk of stroke and, where the risks outweigh the benefit of the method, offering alternative contraception.
A history of aura at any time, even if it occurred during childhood, is felt to be an unacceptable risk factor for the development of a stroke and so women with this should not use combined hormonal contraceptives for contraception.
Can people continue to take birth control if they experience migraines with aura, e.g. if they’re taking it for health reasons? If yes, how can the severity of migraine with aura (and any potential risk of stroke) be mitigated — if at all?
Women who have migraine with aura are not usually given combined hormonal contraceptions. There are a number of other methods of contraception available, for example, the progestogen-only pill (POP), the progestogen injection, intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCDs) or the intrauterine system (IUS), and barrier methods that are usually suitable.
What forms of contraception are safest, for someone experiencing migraine with aura?
Do you have anything further to add on the topic of the link between birth control and migraine with aura/risk of stroke that I haven’t asked?
In some women with migraine who take the combined pill or use the combined patch, migraine attacks can be triggered by the drop in the blood level of oestrogen during the pill-free or patch-free interval. So long as these migraine attacks are without aura AND you were already known to have migraine without aura before starting the pill or the patch, there is usually no need to stop the pill or the patch.
If these migraine attacks are without aura but are troublesome and not easily treated with pain killers, then options include:
Tri-cycling your pill. This means taking the pill continuously for three packets (nine weeks) without any breaks, followed by a seven-day pill-free interval. This keeps the level of oestrogen constant whilst you take the three packets. By doing this you have fewer withdrawal bleeds and therefore fewer migraine attacks.
A change to a different method of contraception.
Dr Shivani Dattani, can assist to determine the best method of birth control for you. So click here to book your appointment today.
6th July 2022 | Posted by Sara Wolfe
Extended Opening Hours + Same Day Appointments
We recognise that sometimes it is not easy to see us during working hours. With professionals who demand healthcare that fits around their availability and struggle to make appointments in the more normal 9-5 environment, our London City clinic now offer extended early morning appointments.
Austin Friars, London City will be offering extended opening hours on a Wednesday from 07.45 am and Thursday from 7.30 am, which will be a combination of pre-bookable and on the day, face to face, telephone & virtual consultations.
In the City of London, our ultra-modern clinic, is in the historic Austin Friars Square near Liverpool St Station.
Monday 08:30 – 19:30 Tuesday 08:30 – 19:30 Wednesday 07:45 – 19.30 Thursday 07:30 – 19:30 Friday 08:30 – 18:00 Saturday 08:30 – 13:00
As part of our extensive services, we offer a Nurse-led clinic with Clinical Nurse Specialist Jennifer every Monday from 8:30am – 1pm at our location in the City of London. The services include cervical screening, HPV vaccination and Pre and Post Op consultations.
For the simplest way to book an appointment and the latest clinic and appointment availability please check our online booking tool link
15th June 2022 | Posted by Sara Wolfe
First HRT, now a Tampon shortage! What will be next…?
A number of news outlets are reporting that tampons are in short supply, You wouldn’t think that tampons would be a hot commodity, but apparently they’re flying off the shelves, if they’re even getting onto the shelves. These shortages are caused by raw material shortage of cotton.
Until shortages ease, plan ahead and be flexible about which brand you buy. So with tampons scarce from the shelves, there are period product alternatives that can help. There are a growing number of feminine hygiene alternatives to tampons such as menstrual cups, menstrual discs, period underwear, disposable pads and reusable cloth pads.
Over the past year or so, organic menstruation products have been steadily rising in widespread popularity, spurred on by ambitions to things better by the environment and by women. Consultant Gynaecologist Meg Wilson contributes to an article on organic menstrual products. Read it here https://becauselondon.com/brains/2018/organic-tampons-sanitary-care-for-against-sustainable-biodegradable-abigail-gurney-read/
Menstrual cups are ideal for people who want to make a switch to a more sustainable period product. Menstrual cups have quickly become a popular alternative to tampons and pads. Mr Narendra Pisal, a consultant gynaecologist at London Gynaecology shares his expert view on the use of menstural cups read more here
1st June 2022 | Posted by Sara Wolfe
The Menopause in the Work Place
Handling menopause in the work place.
The menopause can have a huge impact on our functioning at work. It’s important that employers create and support a positive and open environment for women going through the menopause to help maintain their confidence and happiness at work and to prevent women feeling like they need to hide why they may be struggling at work.
Will my employer have a menopause policy?
If you are struggling with menopausal symptoms at work, it is worth finding out if there is a menopause policy at your workplace. A menopause policy is useful as it helps people within the organisation including managers, supervisors and team leaders to understand what the menopause is and how it can affect people. The policy may also help to identify who is a point of contact for queries related to the menopause and what support is available to staff affected by it.
There are simple changes at work that can make a huge difference to menopausal symptoms, these include:
- Think about the temperature and ventilation in your workplace.
- Are you able to work near a window?
- Do you have access to a fan?
- The material and the fit of your uniform, if there is one. Does this make you feel hot or cause discomfort? Is there an option for an alternative?
- Is there a suitable room for you to rest if needed, for example a quiet room?
- Are the toilet facilities easily accessible?
- Is cold drinking water available?
- Is flexible working an option?
Is there a menopause or wellbeing champion at work who could help people affected by the menopause? The champion could be a point of contact if you need advice, or someone to initially talk to if you are not comfortable talking to managers.
Consider setting up a support network for staff affected by the menopause in your workplace as you will not be alone. Often sharing common experiences can be really helpful.
Is there an option for psychological support through work? We know that the menopause can have a real impact on mood and self-confidence and often women may benefit from counselling or talking therapies.
Worried about the menopause?
Start by booking a Menopause Consultation for specialist advice from our menopause experts today. Packages Include Consultation & Testing. Packages Starting From £540. Or book to see our GP Dr Shivani Dattani for a menopause consultation. Click here to find our more.
20th April 2022 | Posted by Emma Orman
Join our team: Sonographer (part time)
London Gynaecology is a leading private Gynaecology Practice, based at two locations: The Portland Hospital, one of London’s leading private hospitals, and our new clinic in the heart of the City of London.
We are looking for an experienced Sonographer, with a special interest in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, who will promote our ethos to provide expert advice and care and a first-class patient experience.
The position is based at our City of London clinic on Mondays and Saturdays.
Duties and responsibilities include:
- Conducting a range of scans from gynaecological pelvic scans to early pregnancy reassurance scans, and including transvaginal and transabdominal scanning
- Capability to scan and diagnose reasons for general gynaecological referrals, including abnormal bleeding, ovarian cysts, adenomyosis, fibroids, polyps, carcinomas, polycystic ovaries and infertility
- Clearly explaining sonography procedures to patients and making them feel at ease
- Confidently dealing with sensitive and difficult situations, especially when delivering bad news
- Producing high-quality ultrasound reports and images using Viewpoint
- Keeping accurate records and making referrals where necessary
- Confidently interpreting ultrasound scans in order to share findings with Consultants
- Liaising with Consultants, healthcare assistants and admin staff to enhance patient care
- Ensuring a high quality, patient-focused, professional service is delivered at all times
- Managing a busy patient list while maintaining a positive can-do attitude and the ability to be flexible
- Taking part in regular Consultant meetings and being a part of multidisciplinary teams
- Ensuring the ultrasound machine and consulting room are checked on a regular basis to maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene at all times
- Complying with safety guidelines and relevant Codes of Practice, and conducting audits
- Keeping up to date with CPD, annual appraisals and mandatory training
- Helping with any other duties that are required throughout the practice
- At least five years’ experience with gynaecology and early pregnancy scans
- Current and/or recent experience in both private and NHS settings
Qualifications and Skills:
- Registered with BMUS, SoR or HCPC
- Diploma of medical ultrasound
- Evidence of professional updates
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to work both autonomously and part of a team
- Professional and practical attitude towards work with strong imaging and reporting skills
- Competitive rates
Interested applicants should email their CV and cover letter to Snehal Babar: [email protected] Subject line: Sonographer: job opportunity.
Unfortunately, we will only be able to contact successful candidates – but we thank you for applying and for your interest.