Gynaecology is the medical term for diagnosing and treating women’s diseases involving the reproductive organs, including the urinary tract.
Currently, in the UK, NHS gynaecology waiting lists have grown by 60%, with over 40,000 women waiting over a year just to be seen by a specialist.
While the NHS comes under strain, nibbling through the backlog, the importance of women’s health and sexual health must remain at the forefront while campaigning for awareness.
While it’s important to get regular check up’s so your GP may spot issues long before symptoms start, it’s also good to know that if you have a problem or are in pain, you can see a GP promptly. For many women, pain can develop and quickly turn from bad to worse. For others, changes that may indicate cancer and cause great anxiety must be addressed promptly.
Gynaecology care in London
Here at Dr Wayne Cottrell & Co, you will be seen within 48 hours, and in most cases, we can offer same-day appointments.
Dr Wayne Cottrell’s clinic is based in London’s Canary Wharf and specialises in male and female sexual health. As well as being able to offer same-day appointments, we have both male and female GPs. Our female GPs, Dr Stella Adesoye, Dr Rachael Cave, and Dr Stephani Bernard, all have extensive experience in women’s health.
Some of the conditions we can help with are:
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. High-risk HPV can lead to vagina, cervix, anus, or throat cancer.
Testing involves visual inspection, swab tests, and a PAP smear to detect HPV or pre-cancerous changes.
When should I book an HPV test?
You should contact us if you have one or more of the symptoms listed below:-
- Intermenstrual bleeding
- Growths or lumps
- Vaginal discharge
- Discomfort, bleeding during sex
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
Rectal /anal symptoms:
- Anal and rectal bleeding
- Anal discomfort, itching
- Growths or lumps
- Persistent, unexplained pain in the throat
- Persistent lump in the throat
- Metallic taste, bleeding
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Persistent hoarseness.
A smear test or Cervical screening is how we screen for cervical cancer. A smear checks for a virus called human papillomavirus. Particularly – high-risk strains, 16 and 18. If you have high-risk HPV, we recommend yearly smears.
We also offer male pap smears for our MSM patients or female patients who have receptive anal sex.
When should you book a smear?
You should have a two-yearly check-up OR if you have one or more of the symptoms listed below:-
- Vaginal bleeding (between periods or during/after sex)
- Smelly vaginal discharge
- Discomfort during sex
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
STI stands for Sexually Transmitted Infection – infections that are only spread through (unprotected) sexual contact, including oral sex.
STIs can cause great anxiety and, apart from health issues, negatively impact our mental health, personal relationships, and sex lives.
When should I book an STI screening?
STIs can be asymptomatic, so we recommend six monthly screenings for those who have multiple sex partners OR who are experiencing one or more of the symptoms below:-
- Smelly or discoloured discharge from the vagina, anus (or in men, penis)
- Lumps, rash blisters, sores, or skin growths in and around the genitals, including your anus
- Warts in and around the genitals, including your anus
- Warts in the mouth or throat
- Itchy anus or genitals
- Pain when urinating
- Unexpecting bleeding from your vagina or anus
Our GPs can prescribe oral contraception and IUD devices and make referrals for implants to prevent pregnancy.
Dr Stella Adesoye, Dr Stephani Bernard and Dr Rachael Cave can also be booked for coil removals.
Even if you have confirmed you are pregnant at home with a urine test, you should book an appointment with a GP who can perform a blood test to confirm a pregnancy and see how far along you are.
As well as testing, you can discuss any concerns, including health issues that may affect your pregnancy. Usually, we recommend a pregnancy booking appointment where we would take blood, a blood pressure check, a urine screen and advice on the next steps.
Dr Stella Adesoye has a particular interest in antenatal health and pregnancy.
Cystitis/urinary tract infections
UTIs are ubiquitous in women as the urethra is much shorter in women than in men. Although some UTIs can clear on their own, it is important to seek medical attention from your GP if you find you are getting them frequently.
When should I see a GP for a UTI?
If you have suffered with a UTI for longer than three days and over-the-counter medication is not helping, you should contact your GP if you:-
- Have pain or pressure in the pelvis or midback
- Have dark, smelly urine
- It is affecting your day-to-day routine
- Persistent need to urinate even after going to the toilet
- Burning or pain when trying to urinate
- Urine that is dark and may have blood in it
A UTI can travel to your kidneys if left too long without proper treatment.
If you should experience any of the below during a UTI, contact A&E:-
- Pain in the kidneys (either side of your spine)
- Nausea or vomiting
Breast checks, Mammogram referrals
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women, and if it is detected early enough, it can be successfully treated in most cases.
We offer 30-minute breast exams or gynae exam appointments to inspect and refer patients to a gynaecologist or for a mammogram if needed.
When should I book to have my breasts checked?
Examine your breasts once a month, in the middle of your menstrual cycle; if you experience any of the symptoms below, contact your GP for a check-up:-
- A new lump in the breast or armpits
- A change in the size or shape of your breasts
- A discharge of fluid from your nipples
- Dimpling on the skin of your breast
- A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast
Genetic testing for breast cancer risk
For those with a strong family history of breast cancer, genetic testing for breast cancer risk can help you make important decisions way before a problem may occur. In addition, we can perform some of the genetic screening onsite.
You should book an appointment for a genetic test if one or more first or second-degree relatives have been diagnosed with:-
- Cancer from a young age
- A genetic mutation such as BRACA1
We test for cancer-causing mutations in your genes that may affect your: –
We also offer genetic testing for cardiac risk and prostate cancer.
Ovarian Cancer Screening
Ovarian cancer is when abnormal cells in the ovary begin to grow and divide uncontrollably.
When should I consider screening for ovarian cancer?
Routine screening can’t detect ovarian cancer, so it is important to see a GP if you experience two or more of the symptoms below:-
- Pain and tenderness in and around the pelvis
- Feeling bloated
- Physical signs of bloating
- Feeling full when eating or loss of appetite
- Needing to urinate more often
- Weight loss
Infertility needs to be excluded in couples who have been trying to conceive with no success for over one year.
Seeing a GP for fertility issues?
We recommend a complete check-up for anyone over the age of 35 trying to conceive and also for couples who have been trying to conceive with no success for over one year:
The cause of infertility can be either –
Primary – when someone has never conceived.
Secondary – when a person has had one or more pregnancies in the past but is having difficulty conceiving this time around.
We can do the necessary blood tests on-site and refer for any USS or sperm testing.
Menopause is when a woman’s reproductive age ends and her periods stop due to a drop in estrogen. This can be challenging for women as they often have distressing symptoms, which can interfere with day-to-day life. Fortunately, there is help at hand, and we can prescribe hormone replacement therapy, if suitable, to help reduce the severity of the symptoms.
When should I see a GP about menopause?
Dr Racheal Cave and one of our new GPs, Dr Stella Adesoye, have a particular interest in menopause and HRT and can advise on the symptoms and how to deal with them both with and without medication.
You may wish to book an appointment with Dr Cave if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below –
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Reduced sex drive
- Low mood
If you wish to discuss female health, book an appointment with a specialist or simply request more information on the condition list above, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Dr Adesoye has a special interest in women’s health and has completed her diploma in Obstetrics and Gynaecology as well as in Reproductive and Sexual Healthcare.
She holds letters of competencies for insertion and removal of contraceptive coils and implants and is working towards the International Diploma in Lifestyle Medicine.
Dr Cottrell has over twenty years of experience in family practice (adults and children), sexual health screening, preventative medicine, and travel medicine.