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Frequently Asked Questions

Women's Health can be a minefield when trying to locate reliable information. Here is a selection of frequently asked questions and their sources.

Fertility

If you’ve been trying to conceive for 5 years or more without success, book an appointment with your GP. If the consultations you have with your GP doesn’t present clear answers, it’s time to get referred to a specialist fertility clinic. Here you may have blood tests to check ovulation status, chlamydia testing, ultrasounds, semen analysis and sometimes a laparoscopy. Read our article for in-depth information here.

Tip: Visit Stork Fertility for fertility homecare services.  

There’s rarely a simple answer, however factors usually fall into either the clinical or lifestyle categories. Clinical factors could include Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Endometriosis. Lifestyle factors could include weight and age. Read our article to find out how to tackle all these factors.

General Health

Having haemorrhoids is very normal. Several factors can increase the likelihood of developing them: constipation, weight, age, pregnancy, family history, lifting heavy objects, chronic diarrhoea, persistent cough and even sitting down for long periods of time. Read our article on haemorrhoids to find out more.

Whether it is external or internal, you may have the following symptoms: external lumps, pain when sitting down, blood in the toilet or toilet paper. If you have any of these symptoms, book a consultation with your GP. Here you may be required to have a visual examination or a digital rectal examination. If a more thorough examination is required, you could be referred for an anoscopy, colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. 

To manage the pain and swelling, take warm baths, cold or hot compresses and turn to paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin for pain relief. Over-the-counter remedies such as topical creams and suppositories are designed to reduce the swelling, pain and bleeding. These should only be used as a short-term solution so be sure to contact your GP if problems persist.

Every divorce is different. Reach out to your GP to discuss therapy and medication options, counselling, supplements, a healthy diet and even a good sleeping schedule can help with your self-care during this difficult time. Our article can offer you support and guidance in this new chapter.

Looking after yourself is vital to managing the harder issues that may be happening in your life. We recommend Vitamin D for your immune system, Omega 3 for bone and muscle support, Magnesium to help with sleep and muscle relaxation and Multi Vitamins to cover everything.

HPV is a viral infection that commonly causes skin or mucous membrane growths (warts) and are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, most commonly through vaginal, oral and anal sex. Read our article to find out the symptoms of HPV and how to tackle it.

Studies show that women who had the HPV vaccines aged 12-13 were significantly less likely to develop cervical cancer in their 20s.

You will be invited by the NHS for your smear test up to 6 months before you turn 25. You can also book in for private smear tests. You will usually be offered a smear test every 3 years (or 5 years if you are aged over 50).

A smear test, or cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect and prevent yourself from getting cervical cancer. Keeping up to date with your smear test appointments can drive down cervical cancer incidences and push up survival rates.

Parenthood

If the role model young boys look up to holds damaging views, the impact may be great for the safety of those around them, including young girls. We should be encouraging young people in general to find a role model with a positive influence on society. Read our article to find out what impact this has.

Positive role models for men have been suggested to include people such as Marcus Rashford, Stormzy, Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson, John Legend and more. 

Motherhood can be a nerve-wracking prospect. We can give you the support and tools on how to tackle these challenges and create a strong and healthy mum-daughter relationship here.

We recommend being an equal participant, speaking in a respectful manner and acknowledge their current understanding. Avoid using phrases that downplay how the young person feels as this may discourage them from talking about this topic in the future.

Our article can support you with how, when and why to have these conversations to take the pressure off you. 

Some of the ways to do this are focusing on anatomy rather than gender, use terms such as ‘partner’ rather than ‘boyfriend/ girlfriend’ and provide resources that do not use heteronormative terms.

Menopause

Perimenopause is when the body begins to transition from its reproductive state into menopause. You may experience irregular periods, night sweats, hot flushes, mood changes, vaginal dryness and possible bone loss. Read our article to unwrap these symptoms is more detail!

You can visit your GP and request a blood test to check your hormone levels if you feel you are going through perimenopause. Symptoms of perimenopause can include irregular periods, night sweats, hot flushes, mood changes, and vaginal dryness 

Symptoms of menopause can include night sweats, low mood and/or anxiety, feelings of loss of self, difficulty sleeping and irregular or no periods. When you have been 12 months without a period, you are in menopause. 

Menstruation

A period is the part of your menstrual cycle in which you bleed. The blood and tissue leave your body via the cervix when the hormones signal to the body that pregnancy is not in progress.

Remember, this is only one phase of the four that creates the menstrual cycle. Discover the other phases here.

Between the ages of 11-14, young girls* will experience menarche. Menarche marks the first time the body sheds the endometrial lining from the uterus, also known as a period or menstrual blood.

*This includes individuals with a reproductive anatomy associated with being assigned female at birth.

Read our article to get to grips with Menarche.

Address misinformation, provide support, respect the young person’s privacy and prioritise health and fitness. Menarche can be an unusual time for those experiencing it, so it’s important to support them in their needs. Create a safe environment to talk about these experiences freely and sharing useful coping strategies to help them feel prepared.

More information can be found here.

Myths and taboos regarding periods can prevent women from being able to get the right support and products they need. Providing misinformation such as cleaning yourself too much or not at all, can lead to infection and illness. Discover the truth behind these myths here.

Menstrual blood and tissue are no different to any other blood! This natural bodily function signals pregnancy didn’t happen and it is ready to prepare the uterus in the chance of conceiving. So it's actually pretty cool.

Upset stomach, food cravings, emotional outbursts, acne, bloating, sore breasts are some of the main common side effects you may experience when menstruating. 

Breathing problems, constipation followed by diarrhoea, menstrual gingivitis (oral health), migraines and iron cravings. Visit our article to uncover these symptoms in more depth.

Without menstruation, the human reproductive cycle doesn’t work, meaning human life doesn’t continue. It can be painful and disrupting, but we should celebrate this incredible cycle! Find out more here.

Periods can last between three and eight days. The average span of bleeding is 5 days.

On average, women live 4 years longer than men, and periods are believed to be linked to this. Find out why here.

No. Not all women have periods. For example, for a person to have regular periods, they must have a functioning ovary, uterus, pituitary gland and hypothalamus. Periods may also be stopped by medication such as birth control methods or due to medical issues.

This depends on the individual; however, most periods involve blood loss of around 30-75ml. Our article discusses how to find out what a heavy menstrual flow is, and how to tackle it.

Tampons are safe when used correctly. Wash your hands before insertion, replace every 4-8 hours, change your tampon after you have had bowel movement and don’t use a tampon when you’re not on your period. 

Read the tampon debate here.

Research recommends foods such as salmon or ginger to reduce the effects of period pain, red meat such as steak to boost your iron levels and green leafy vegetables that are full of vitamins, such as kale, spinach and broccoli, could alleviate symptoms of PMS.

It’s hard to eat healthy when you are menstruating. So, if you do find yourself eating that chocolate bar, don’t be hard on yourself. 

A recent study by Krause et al on female rats suggests that oestrogen depletion in rodents, and similarly humans, leads to inactivity, fat accumulation and diabetes, which worsens with age.

Mental Health

Selfcare is key to feeling confident when you are menstruating. We’ve got some tips to help with bloating, acne, sore breasts and body dysmorphia here.

If you are in immediate danger or require medical attention call 999 straight away.

We can offer you some helpful advice on what to do if this happens to you here. If you have been sexually assaulted, the NHS advises visiting your nearest SARC so you can get the support you need.

A therapist or counsellor can guide you through the process of regaining control and confidence. It may take some time to heal yourself through compassion and self-care. 

Rape crisis offers advice and support to help you navigate this if you are not sure whether you have been assaulted. It’s not about meeting police requirements, but about supporting you on how to cope.

Pregnancy

Yes. Black women are 4 times more likely to die during childbirth due to chronic underfunding, racism and knowledge gaps. Read our article to find out how we can tackle this here.

You may experience postpartum bleeding, your baby bump may take a while to disappear whilst the uterus heals, problems going to the toilet, haemorrhoids and in some cases a perineum tear. Our article goes in depth about how to cope with these problems if they do arise during your postpartum.

As long as you need.

The traditional timeline for rest is 6 weeks, but every birth experience is different. If you have had a C-section, you must allow your body 12 weeks to recover from the abdominal surgery.

Research suggests that if you had a straightforward birth, you can start gentle exercise as soon as you feel up to it. This could include walking, gentle stretches, pelvic floor and tummy exercises. 

Talk to your midwife if you have any questions. 

Some ways to improve these muscles it to practice pelvic floor exercises, walk more, have a good posture, squeeze your pelvic floor muscles each time you sneeze, cough, or lift something heavy and treat any underlying conditions. Remember to go at your own pace.

This is caused through birth trauma. You may have symptoms that include reliving aspects of the trauma, avoiding feelings or memories and feeling on edge, these feelings can develop weeks after giving birth. If you continue to feel traumatized with debilitating symptoms four weeks after giving birth, you should reach out for professional help.

Our article discusses this in more detail.

You could talk to your GP, counsellor, midwife, private therapist or a health visitor. Some symptoms could be managed by medication, counselling, community groups or treatments such as EMDR.

Whether it is a friend or a professional, talking about your feelings can put you on the right track for healing with this trauma. 

Sexual Health

The most common STI among 16-25 year olds is chlamydia. If you think you may have Chlamydia, you can get discreet tests here.

We recommend being an equal participant, speaking in a respectful manner and acknowledge their current understanding. Avoid using phrases that downplay how the young person feels as this may discourage them from talking about this topic in the future.

Our article can support you with how, when and why to have these conversations to take the pressure off you. 

Some of the ways to do this are focusing on anatomy rather than gender, use terms such as ‘partner’ rather than ‘boyfriend/ girlfriend’ and provide resources that do not use heteronormative terms.

Sometimes there are no symptoms for STI’s. The most common symptoms are bumps, sores or warts near the mouth or genitals, swelling or redness, painful urination, atypical discharge and more. If you think you may have an STI, you can get test kits online here.

You can maintain a healthy vagina through the correct cleaning and shaving habits, through period and sex hygiene, and also through clothing and a healthy diet. Read our article to unwrap the ecosystem of the vagina and find out what causes things such as BV (bacterial vaginosis) and thrush.

Vaginal discharge is a natural self-cleaning process whereby the vagina produces mucous and discharge as part of its healthy regime. The time to be worried about your discharge is when you notice it has a noxious smell or changes colour, if this happens, we recommend contacting your GP.

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