A: I have been a Consultant Obstetrician Gynaecologist since 1999 and currently practice in Kent and London. My work takes place predominantly in the South East. But, I have widespread medical and social contacts throughout the UK and Scotland, where I am originally from.
My main areas of interest are (not surprisingly) heavy and irregular menstrual bleeding, Menopause/PMS and HRT, and vulval disorders including vulval pain. While there can be some overlap between these various conditions, I see women suffering from these issues over a wide age range, from young teenagers to women in their seventh decade and beyond. Unfortunately, it is a misnomer that gynaecological problems cease once a woman goes through the menopause. Many women present with problems for the first time in later life.
A: It is generally accepted that gynaecologists (particularly female ones) are impossible to embarrass or shock. There is very little if anything that we have not encountered throughout our training. I won’t go into further details at this point!
Common questions include: whether heavy or irregular bleeding is abnormal or anything to be concerned about; whether pain or bleeding with intercourse should be concerning; what are the best and safest forms of contraception; what is the best form of treatment for troublesome periods; and how to deal with heavy vaginal discharge. Fortunately, after many years of experience, I am rarely stuck for an answer. I can usually turn my thoughts to most queries.
A: I am a great believer in moderation in all things, including diet, vitamin supplementation and exercise. I am wary of radical or extreme advice in any of these fields. Particularly if there is no robust scientific or clinical evidence to support the management, which is something that doctors always strive for.
I work very closely with a medical herbalist and a qualified dietitian/nutritionist in my practice. There is no doubt that this type of multi-disciplinary working can be extremely successful and provide the best range of advice for women. As with many areas, I would always encourage women to seek specialist advice on recommendation rather than self-treat or medicate. However, there is no doubt that nutrition and exercise can play a key role in managing gynaecological problems such as PCOS.
A: I have been advocating the use of such products to my patients for several years now, prior to my relationship with TOTM. This is an exciting new developing area in women’s health care, and as with improving diet and exercise, it is an area where women can seek to provide the best possible support for their health without medical intervention. I have long been concerned about the potential adverse side effects of standard sanitary protection, particularly in those patients suffering from heavy or protracted menstrual bleeding who can end up wearing sanitary pads a significant proportion of the time.
Another group who can experience problems is women suffering from vulval problems, including Vulval Pain Syndrome/Vulvodynia, in whom the delicate vulval skin becomes hypersensitive and prone to react to any form of irritation. Conventional fem-care products tend to be manufactured from synthetic materials such as rayon. Over the years, the range and extent of such additives have undoubtedly increased. As an experienced clinician, I believe this parallels with the increased frequency of perineal and vulval problems which I now see on a more regular basis.
When women chose organic fem-care products the risk of such adverse reactions is, in my view, significantly reduced. Products such as TOTM do not contain any of the typical irritants I have mentioned above and are made from organic, bleach-free, hypo-allergenic cotton. These materials are known to be “skin kind” and very safe to use even in the intimate genital region. I have personally noticed an improvement in my patients’ symptoms following a switch from conventional to organic protection.
A: I think the expansion of organic fem-care products is a key area which is likely to continue to grow in the future. As all women will require sanitary protection at some point, these are products which have the potential to impact massively on women’s’ day-to-day lives. They can improve the overall quality of general health, sexual health and well-being. In addition, switching to such products does not necessarily have significant cost implications, an issue which I know concerns many of my own patients.
A: I am now “up and running” on social media (I admit it has taken quite a long time as I am a bit of a dinosaur in this respect), I hope to be involved in regular interaction with customers, both current and future. I also hope to offer advice and information through various formats including Q & A sessions, with the aim of positively promoting women’s health and well-being.