10th August 2017 | Posted by Admin
All About Heavy Periods
The official term for heavy periods is menorrhagia, meaning an above average or prolonged level of bleeding in a menstrual cycle. Bleeding during an average period is supposed to be around 80ml (less than half a cup), but a lot of women experience more bleeding than this.
So, when can a women call her periods heavy? Any of the following symptoms would define a heavy period:
- passing lots of clots
- having to constantly use double protection
- changing protection more frequently than every four hours
- or if your periods are making you anaemic
If you’ve always bled heavily, you may think your flow is normal – after all, you’ve had nothing to compare it with – so getting things checked out by your doctor is a good idea.
Heavy periods can be an indicator of underlying problems. If you’re tired and anaemic, visit your doctor who can arrange an ultrasound scan and blood tests to check haemoglobin, thyroid function tests and iron levels. The possible causes for heavy periods can include:
- Uterine fibroids – fibroids are non cancerous growths on and around the womb and are often present with heavy periods.
- Endometriosis – the condition where endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus can result in painful and heavy periods.
- Polycystic ovaries – periods can be less frequent but heavier if you’re suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Underactive or overactive thyroid – thyroid problems can cause heavier and irregular periods.
- Perimenopausal changes – a few months / years before menopause, periods can change pattern and become heavier.
- Endometrial hyperplasia and cancer – this can be a rare cause of menorrhagia.
If you think you are experiencing heavy periods, visit your GP or gynaecologist who will be able to investigate and provide any treatments to help.
For more information on heavy periods, click here to visit our heavy periods page.
19th July 2017 | Posted by Admin
Cycling Associated Genital Problems & How to Avoid them
Cycling is on the increase, infact the Cycling UK state that cycling has increased steadily since 2008, and over half of journeys are completed within the city. But whether it’s cycling for transport, trying to keep fit or just keeping up with the kids, the act of cycling causes problems for both men and women with regard to their genitalia. For female cyclists, the commonest problems are; chaffing, saddle sores, skin sensitivity and numbness, labial enlargement, vaginal irritation and infection (thrush and bacterial vaginosis), skin infections and urinary tract infections.
Sounds rather unpleasant, but rather than getting off the bike there are simple things that can be done to avoid these problems.
Ensuring your bike is fitted for YOU: before you even get on a bike, spending time making sure it is fitted correctly for your frame is one of the most important things you can do as this will prevent most problems.
The height and type of the seat is most important as the pressure needs to be distributed and transferred on to the ischial tuberosities (the ‘sit bones’ that takes the majority of the weight when sitting) rather than the labia. And don’t forget the handlebars as you should not have to stretch too far forwards to reach them; sitting in a more upright position will also reduce pressure on the labia.
These simple adjustments will prevent pressure sores on the labia, skin sensitivity and loss of sensation and also enlargement of the labia.
Wear the right clothing: In fact in cycling, what not to wear is just as important as what to wear; use the right padded cycle shorts but skip your underwear. Always wash the shorts immediately and use a fresh pair each time you ride a bike. The padding will help to avoid pressure symptoms but also prevent vaginal and urinary tract infections through the washing.
Lubricate: Use Vaseline or chamois cream to provide lubrication to the labia, groin and inner thighs to prevent chaffing and saddle sores.
Hydrate: Drink plenty of water and empty the bladder without delaying too much. As well as the obvious hydration benefits this will prevent urinary tract infections.
Treat: Use of a local antibiotic cream will prevent infections of the skin and labial sores.
Probiotics: Taking regular probiotics can help to prevent vaginal infections and cranberry supplements (this is controversial) to prevent urinary tract infections
Some women already have asymmetrical or enlarged (hypertrophied) labia and this can be a problem as the skin problems are likely to be exacerbated in women. I have come across women with enlarged labia who have sought labioplasty (surgery to reduce the size of the labia) as the pressure causes intense pain during cycle rides so much so that they are unable to continue riding.
There are some reports that cycling can affect women’s sex life. In fact cycling like any other sport releases endorphins and elevates mood and hence is likely to improve sex life. But the problems mentioned above may indirectly make women want to avoid sex when they are suffering with symptoms down below.
Most importantly, cycling is an enjoyable low impact way to stay fit and healthy – enjoy getting on your bike!
18th July 2017 | Posted by Admin
HPV Immunity Boosting Soup
In most cases HPV is naturally fought off by the body’s own immunity, so it’s important to support your immune system if trying to rid yourself of HPV. Nutritional therapist, Laura Southern has created a broccoli, asparagus & pea soup packed with nutrients to support your immune system as well as being healthy and delicious.
Broccoli, Asparagus & Pea Soup
Tbsp virgin coconut oil (see if you can buy unflavoured variety)
200g broccoli florets (chopped)
125g asparagus (chop the woody bottoms off, and chop))
3 large handfuls frozen peas
large handful fresh parsley or basil
salt and pepper
veg or chicken stock cube with 400ml hot water
4 teaspoons raw seeds – either pumpkin or sunflower
In a large saucepan heat the coconut oil until liquid and put in the frozen peas. Stir for a minute or two. Add the stock to the pan and add the broccoli and asparagus. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes, until the broccoli and asparagus are tender. Add in the fresh herbs. Season to taste, then transfer to a liquidizer. Blend until smooth. Serve in bowl and sprinkle each bowl with a teaspoon of seeds.
5th July 2017 | Posted by Admin
Our HPV Immunity Smoothie
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a very common infection; 75-80% women (and men) get it at some stage in life. It usually produces no symptoms and many women will not even know that they have had the infection. For some women the infection may linger and cause abnormal smears but most are able to shake it off through their immunity.
Because the immune system plays such an important role in helping rid the body of HPV, nutritional strategies focus on supporting immunity. Laura Southern our nutritional therapist has created an HPV smoothie packed with antioxidants, folate and vitamin E, all essential for immune support and shown to be protective against HPV.
- 150g dark skinned berries (eg mix of blueberries and blackberries) frozen or fresh
- 100g raw kale (or spinach)
- 240ml coconut milk
- water for consistency if needed.
- Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. Add in water if needed to get the right consistency.
- Drink & enjoy!
15th June 2017 | Posted by Admin
How to Make Your Smear More Comfortable
Last year the Department of Health issued an update on the uptake of cervical screening and sadly the number of women attending their smear tests had dropped for the second year in a row with as many as one in three women not up to date with their smears in some age groups.
There are many reasons for this and we know that discomfort is a major factor in women putting off their smear test, here are some tips to make your smear test more comfortable:
1. Take a friend. Never underestimate the importance of emotional support, someone to chat to in the waiting room and distract you during the examination.
2. Listen to music or watch TV. Nowadays with smart phones, watching a movie or listening to music or a podcast is easy to do in any location. Take your headphones and your phone and get prepared to zone out. And don’t worry, if you do forget your headphones ask the nurse if she minds you watching or listening anyway.
3. Equipment. Ask, if available, for the nurse to use a plastic speculum or a small speculum. Plastic is often warmer than metal and it’s clear so it’s easier for the nurse to see the cervix and a smaller speculum is more comfortable. They aren’t always available but don’t be afraid to ask.
4. Paracetamol. Take a dose of paracetamol 30 minutes before your smear which will take some of the discomfort away.
5. Numbing gel. If all else fails, ask the nurse to use a small amount of numbing gel. Previously there was a concern that the gel would affect the smear cytology but with liquid based cytology which is used nowadays a small amount of gel will not interfere with the quality.
Nurses understand that smears aren’t the most pleasurable of experiences and will often do as much as they can to help the patient. If your smear test is overdue, please don’t delay, book it today.