Women's Health


The ideal time to visit your GP is before 10 weeks gestation, or as soon as you know or think you're pregnant. This gives us enough time to organise screening tests, provide education on pregnancy, and to send referrals as necessary. 

Pregnancy care information sheet - you can click into this link to get an information sheet about pregnancy. The contents are:

There are some considerations we need to take into account when choosing the right contraception: 

Your GP can discuss your options with you.

You can improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy with the advice on the Your Fertility website. With regular, unprotected sexual intercourse, 80% of women become pregnant within 1 year. If you have tried to get pregnant for over a year, you should speak to a doctor for advice. Your doctor will assess your medical history and organise appropriate testing. If you are trying with a male partner, rather than with donor sperm, then your partner will need to be tested too. 

Before trying for pregnancy, it's a good idea to see your doctor. Your doctor checks your health, immunisation history, ensures your cervical screening test is up to date, and advises on lifestyle considerations and supplements helpful before pregnancy. 

Menopause typically occurs at 51-52 years of age, but it can occur earlier due to treatment or premature ovarian insufficiency. The symptoms of menopause can occur years before this, during perimenopause. 20% of women do not have any symptoms of menopause, and 20% have severe symptoms that significantly affect their life. For those experiencing significant symptoms of menopause, it is worthwhile consulting with a doctor to discuss if treatment is appropriate. Treatment can be with medications (hormonal and non-hormonal), herbs, lubricants, and/or lifestyle changes. 

It is hard to bring up the topic of incontinence, but please do so! It's very common, with urinary incontinence affecting 30-50% of women, and faecal incontinence affecting 4% of women. There are treatments and procedures that can help.

BreastScreen Victoria offer screening mammogram every 2 years to asymptomatic people. They will send reminders to people between 50-74 years of age, however you are eligible from 40 years of age onwards (even past 74 years of age, you just don't get any reminders). If you notice any breast changes you should book for an examination with a doctor, instead of just doing a screening mammogram. 

People with a cervix between 25-74 years of age who have ever been sexually active are eligble for cervical screening. If you are asymptomatic you can do a self-collected vaginal sample (one of my patients called it a COVID swab for the vagina - pretty much true!). If you prefer, or if you have symptoms (bleeding after sex, spotting, pain, discharge), you should have a clinician-collected sample as it will provide more information than a self-collected vaginal sample. 

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS can be diagnosed on history, blood test, and ultrasound. It isn't really a disease of the ovaries despite its name. The follicles (or "cysts") are just something that health professionals saw on ultrasound and named it that. Many of the symptoms of PCOS are actually caused by raised insulin and testosterone levels. PCOS is not just associated with irregular periods, but with other health concerns too (e.g. weight gain, diabetes, subfertility). So it's important to get the diagnosis, treatment and ongoing monitoring. 

Violence Against Women

There are many services that people experiencing violence or those supporting someone experiencing violence can access. The services at 1800respect and The Orange Door can help you identify your options, and provide support. You are not tied into anything. It is always good to know your options. You can also speak to your GP for support. 

In Victoria, local services can be found on The Orange Door

Abortion is a safe and common medical procedure, used to end a pregnancy. In Victoria, it is legal to have an abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, and in certain situations beyond this. You can either see your GP for a referral to the public hospital, or go through a private abortion service (usually no GP referral needed). If you are going through the public hospital, we will need to do some investigations before we are allowed to refer: blood test (betaHCG, blood group and antibodies), ultrasound, and a urine STI test.