At Home with Chris Jessen 2018 - 188

PROMOTION

Taking

personal
care

The vagina and vulva are the
most neglected female genital
organs - until now, that is

W

omen's perceptions about
HPV infection, subfertility,
cancer and their sex life
before and after the
menopause demand a reshaping of the
way gynaecologists deliver healthcare.
Unfortunately, even today, sexual
pain is perceived as a mental health
issue. Colposcopists, who examine the
cervix, vagina and vulva, only check the
cervix for abnormal smear results and
vulval symptoms can be treated with
inappropriate steroids. Over the past
decade, increases in vulval pre-cancer
and invasive cancer have been noted in
women younger than 50 years old. The
delay in diagnosis is reported to be
around five years.
But what can you do to protect
yourself? Consult a specialist if you
notice any changes in the vulva. These
could include:
A lump, or growth, on the vulva
A chronic (persistent or recurring)
itch, burning sensation or irritation
A chronic ulcer
An area of pigmentation or a change
in the colour of the vulva

MEET THE EXPERT
Mr Ashfaq
Khan, FRCOG,
has practised
gynaecology and
obstetrics for 18
years in the NHS
and at Harley
Street, London.
His specialties
are cervical and vulvo-vaginal in
pregnancy and after delivery.
Mr Khan is head of the lower genital tract
disease unit at the Whittington Hospital
in north London. He's also senior clinical
lecturer at the UCL medical school.

A disproportionate labia size that
causes discomfort or irritation.
Thankfully, chances are that it is nothing
serious or a relatively simple medical
treatment can sort it out. However, don't
assume anything. For many women in
their 20s and 30s with vulvar pruritus
(itching), it's not always vulvovaginal
candidiasis (thrush). It could be a
pre-cancerous condition, cancer or a
chronic auto-immune condition, such
as lichen sclerosus or lichen planus.
This is why it's important to consult
an expert. An appropriately trained and
experienced consultant will carry out a

SEXUAL PAIN IS
HARDLY DISCUSSED IN
CLINICS... IT'S NOT
A FAVOURITE TOPIC
OF GYNAECOLOGISTS
vulvoscopy (examination) and advise
you on appropriate treatment options.

Feminine care

Seeing an appropriate healthcare
professional regularly is important for
maintaining vaginal and vulval health.
The following tips will also help:
Don't douche your vagina
Avoid using feminine deodorant
sprays, scented pads or tampons,
coloured or perfumed toilet paper,
bubble bath and scented body wash
Always wipe from front to back
Wear cotton underwear during the
day to let your skin breathe
Avoid wearing tight underwear,
trousers, sheer tights, swimsuits, cycling
shorts and leotards for long periods
Change out of wet bathing suits and
sweaty clothing as soon as possible.

HPV and non-cervical
pre-cancer

People do not always realise that the HPV
virus does not only affect the cervix,
but also the vaginal, vulval, anal and oral
areas, too. It is essential to check all
of these areas during colposcopy, but
this doesn't always happen. A carefully
performed vaginoscopy and anoscopy
can tell you a lot about your health.
Laser treatment can be offered if
any abnormalities are detected.

Painful sex

Sexual pain is hardly discussed in sexual
health clinics - this poorly researched
area is not a favourite topic among
gynaecologists generally. However, this
can lead to over-diagnosis and overtreatment. When in fact, careful
history-taking and the involvement
of an expert multidisciplinary team
can significantly improve this condition.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Call 020 3303 0316
Visit www.ashfaqkhan.com or
harleystreetgynaecology.com


http://www.ashfaqkhan.com http://www.harleystreetgynaecology.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of At Home with Chris Jessen 2018

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