Womens Health

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What is a cervical screening test and do I need to have one?

A cervical screening test is a tool for detecting the HPV infection that causes cell changes linked to cervical cancer. It involves taking a sample of cells with a brush which is then sent to the laboratory, the results usually come back within a week. It is recommended that all women between the age of 25 – 70 have the cervical screening test.

It is a quick and safe procedure that takes less than 5 minutes. If requested, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) screen can also be done on the same day. At GPs on Bayview all of our doctors are proficient in cervical screening and treating STI’s.

Do I still need to have a cervical screening test if I have had the vaccine for cervical cancer?

Since 2007 the government has introduced free Gardasil Immunisations which can protect against cervical cancer. It is important to be aware that cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which is very common and approximately 75% of people have been exposed to this virus.

There are over 200 types of HPV and only a few of these affect the cervix. The Gardasil vaccine only protects against a few types of HPV therefore regular cervical screening tests are still required.

What is the best form of contraception for me?

At GPs on Bayview several GPs have a special interest in women’s health and will work with you to find the form of contraception that suits you best. As well as prescribing short acting forms of contraceptive such as the contraceptive pill, we also have GPs who are qualified to insert longer acting forms of contraception such as Implanon and Mirena. The Implanon is a long acting progesterone only contraceptive that is inserted under the skin in the non-dominant arm and lasts for three years after which time it can be removed and replaced with another one. The Mirena is an intra uterine device and is more suitable for women who have already had children who are looking for a long acting contraceptive.

It is inserted in to the uterus using a similar procedure to the cervical screening test and it lasts for 5 years after which time it can be removed and replaced. The Mirena does not affect fertility and women can usually fall pregnant within three months of having it removed. If you are interested in discussing your contraceptive needs, we are more than happy to talk through these options with you.

How do I know if I am Menopausal?

Most women will reach menopause between 45 – 55yrs. Symptoms can include hot flushes, vaginal changes such as dryness, pain on intercourse, mood swings including irritability and anxiety and loss of libido. There are a number of things that can help with menopausal symptoms including lifestyle modification, practical strategies, complementary

therapies, hormone replacement therapies and non-hormonal therapies such as Mona Lisa Touch. It is important to look after both your emotional and physical health. At GPs on Bayview we are happy to discuss any troublesome symptoms that may be interfering with daily life.