Author: emmads

Supporting Menopause Awareness – Let’s Talk Over Drinks

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Officially, the Menopause is the time in someone’s life when they stop having periods for at least a year and can no longer get pregnant.

It can affect a person’s physical and emotional health, leaving them with long-term struggles. Yet, it is often spoken about in hushed tones. Without a proper conversation and an increase in Menopause awareness, struggling individuals will remain in the dark.

But more importantly, those around them won’t have a clue how to help or offer support.

As well as offering information through social media and blogs like this one, we are proud to be hosting an event with expert guest speakers, a chance for some free consultations alongside some bubbles and canapes.

The evening will be all about navigating the menopause and celebrating who we are. Not only will our menopause specialist be speaking, but a team from the renowned lingerie brand Bravissimo will be attending to speak and provide a personal service for anyone interested.

If you’re experiencing menopausal symptoms, or simply want to learn more about this phase of life, then please join us for an informative evening!

What Is The Menopause?

It typically occurs when we reach 45 to 55, but some people can experience it earlier or even later.

During the menopause, the ovaries stop producing eggs, and your body produces less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Some women sail through the menopause with barely a symptom. Others find it difficult to cope with the changes the menopause brings and can try many different clinical and natural treatments to find some relief.

Many people who do experience changes often report similar feelings. If you’re unsure how your experience may measure up or are worried it may be something else – you can complete our questionnaire. Otherwise, book an appointment to talk to one of our experts.

Talking about our own experiences with different symptoms can help increase menopause awareness and reassure others that they are not alone.

Hot Flushes

This is one of the most common menopausal symptoms you may hear people talking about and trying to deal with day to day.

They can occur day or night and cause a sudden feeling of warmth, which spreads over your upper body and face. You may also sweat more than usual.

Most women have between one and five hot flushes a day, but some have them much more often. They usually last between two and four minutes but can occasionally go on for up to half an hour.

It can also present with heart palpitations as the body’s temperature control becomes erratic. This can interrupt your sleep and leave you feeling pretty groggy in the morning.

Low Mood & Anxiety

This can be another symptom that greatly interferes with a person’s life. It can feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster – one minute you could be feeling great, and the next you might feel tearful or anxious for no apparent reason.

A change in sleep pattern may also add to feelings of fatigue and make it hard to concentrate.

Not only might you find it hard to get going each morning, but sudden mood swings can occur when your tolerance dips. You don’t always have control of this – so people around you should be aware that none of these changes are aimed at them.

Better education on the matter and honest conversations can better equip people to not only deal with their own symptoms but supporting those around them.

Thinning Hair & Dry Skin

These are symptoms that can, understandably, cause a lot of anxiety.

You may notice your hair is thinner, drier, and not as easy to style. It might also become more brittle and break more easily.

Dry skin is also common and can feel tight, itchy, or look flaky.

Oestrogen plays a key role in promoting water retention, leaving your skin looking plump, and aids in hair growth. A reduction in this hormone will be a major reason for these symptoms occurring.

There are things you can do to help ease the harshness of these symptoms, including a gentle skin cleanser, a good moisturiser and avoiding harsh or irritable ingredients in any skin or hair care products.

Of course, if you’d like some more thorough and tailored advice you can book an appointment in our clinic or book your space at our October event to learn more!

Reduced Libido

A loss of interest in sex is common and can be caused by a combination of different things. It’s something most people don’t feel confident enough to speak about, but better menopause awareness could begin to reassure others it is a normal part of life.

Reduced libido could be due to the physical changes the menopause brings, such as vaginal dryness or hot flushes. However, it might also be down to psychological factors, like increased anxiety or low mood.

A lack of oestrogen may also play a role and this can be spoken about with our clinicians.

Having a healthy and active sex life is linked with lots of benefits, including reducing stress levels, improving sleep quality, and boosting self-esteem. So, it’s worth considering ways to keep your libido up during the menopause.

There are a range of treatments available that can help with this and we know how difficult personal matters like this can be to discuss. Our specialists treat these matters with sensitivity to help you get to the root of the issue and to get back to more fulfilling sexual activity.


Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones in your body become weaker and more fragile. It’s most often diagnosed in people over the age of 50.

menopause awareness

A loss of oestrogen during the menopause can cause the rate of bone loss to speed up, which is why this is such a common symptom. You might not notice any difference to how you feel day-to-day, but if the condition is left untreated it could lead to an increased risk of fractures.

With Osteoporosis awareness day coming up on October 20th,  it’s a perfect time to think about your bone health and how the menopause might be affecting it.

If you’re concerned, please book an appointment with us. We can offer advice on lifestyle changes that might help to prevent the condition or if you have already been diagnosed, we can offer treatments to help manage it.

Other Common Symptoms

  • Confusion or brain fog
  • Discomfort during sex
  • Bladder weakness
  • Headaches
  • Join or muscle pain
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Vaginal infections

The Importance of Menopause Awareness

As you can see, the menopause can have a big impact on your life. It’s not always easy to deal with the changes but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone.

There is still a lot of stigma surrounding this topic and many people feel like they can’t speak openly about what they’re going through.

We need to break the taboo and start talking about this time in life more openly. This way, we can offer each other support and advice, normalise the experience, and make sure everyone has access to the information and treatment they need. 

Guidance for Employers

While we all know we can take sick days for the flu or a stomach bug, people (especially those that don’t go through it) often forget the extent to which these symptoms affect day-to-day life.

Brain fog, hot flushes and mood swings are just a few of the symptoms that can inhibit your work life as well as personally.

Having an employer that makes sure menopausal staff feel comfortable and supported is vital for opening up the conversation and building menopausal awareness. It can also encourage others to be more open about sharing their experiences and may allow people suffering to continue with their usual roles for much longer than they may have previously felt able.

Awareness and understanding are key. We always suggest starting by ensuring menopausal employees have access to the information they need, as well as being understanding of their extra medical and personal needs.

Sharing blogs like this one, providing resources in the form of leaflets or online courses and building a supportive environment is important in any workplace. But don’t forget about our October event that provides the opportunity for asking questions and seeking advice from specialists in our clinic.

Our specialists are also available to talk to employees and offer support for businesses on how to manage the menopause in the workplace. We know it can be tricky to figure out what you should offer in terms of leniency, benefits and resources. That is why education on the symptoms, changes and needs of employees going through it can be really beneficial.

So, if you are looking for someone in the field to come and educate staff or you think this would benefit your organisation – feel free to reach out to your employer or the clinic directly and speak to one of our team.

Managing Symptoms

Everybody will have a different experience when going through the menopause. The majority of us will notice some kind of change and discomfort but there are ways to minimise this and manage your lifestyle accordingly. 

In terms of medical intervention, our clinicians may recommend:

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
  • The Mirena Coil
  • Progesterone tablets
  • Lubricants or creams for vaginal dryness
  • Alternative medications to HRT

If you’re not sure what the next step is in your own journey or if you’re going through symptoms that seem unmanageable by yourself, our team can offer guidance and support. We understand that it’s a difficult time for many people but we want you to know that there is help available.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions or would like to book an appointment. We’ll be more than happy to chat things through with you and offer our professional advice.

  Category: HRT & Menopause
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The Importance of Supporting Baby Loss Awareness

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supporting baby loss awareness

October 9th -15th plays host to baby loss awareness week. Our whole team here at The Surrey Park Clinic would like to take this opportunity to talk about the importance of supporting those affected by stillbirth and any other devastating event early in an infant’s life.

This includes parents who have lost a child, as well as their families, friends and people close to them who did or would have played an important part in their lives. It is important for everyone to understand why we are supporting baby loss awareness week and how the events and educational opportunities surrounding it can help families in need.

We also understand that talking about such a traumatic event can seem impossible. But while it’s ok to take time to grieve, we also want to be part of the group breaking that silence. It shouldn’t be something people feel they can’t talk about – but be an open conversation for when they are ready.

That’s why we will be sharing stories, information and advice throughout our clinic, social media channels and our blog – encouraging others to speak out and ask for support in these dark times.

What Is Baby Loss Awareness Week?

We are taking part in an annual event that serves the purpose of breaking the silence surrounding this topic and allowing people all over to come together to remember babies who have died and to show their support for families who have been affected.

The Surrey Park Clinic has always worked to become a safe space for everyone. Patients, staff, visitors and everyone in between are our biggest priorities. However, creating this safe space may have started with the clinic, but that is not where it ends.

Conversations supporting baby loss awareness week are being had on social media, via email, over the phone and at our events.

Having the confidence to speak up, ask for help, resources and advice means being able to do so via a platform that makes you feel comfortable. We understand that face-to-face conversations may not be possible for some.

That’s why we have worked to build our online community as well – offering the chance to engage with our posts, Q&As and much more when finding the immediate words is just too difficult. The more we can get other businesses as well as people like you doing the same – the bigger and better the space is going to be for people struggling.

How To Get Involved

There are a number of ways that you can get involved with supporting baby loss awareness week. We have a few ideas below, but remember this is your time to break the silence in a way that feels right for you.

Wave Of Light

If you’ve been following the event for a while, you may be aware of the wave of light campaign. People all over the country take part by lighting a candle at 19:00 on the 15th of October and leaving it burning for at least an hour.

The act serves as a way to remember all of the babies that have passed away and their families. The continuous wave of light represents how our love for these babies never fades and how they will always be in our hearts.

supporting baby loss awareness

You can get involved by sharing a photo of your candle on social media using the hashtag #WaveOfLight. Or, you can of course take the time privately to reflect.

Pink & Blue

During the week, you will see a lot of social media posts using these colours as well as people wearing ribbons and bows.

These are the dedicated colours for supporting baby loss awareness and some businesses or local landmarks will even light up buildings in these colours to show their support – spreading the message as far as possible.

You can get involved by tying a pink or blue ribbon to your car antenna or handbag. Or, if you’re feeling crafty – make some to give out to friends, family and colleagues!

Take a walk around your local town during this week and see how many lights you can spot. We know that there will be a few around Guildford, so keep your eyes peeled!

Talk About It

This is probably the most important way that you can get involved. Break the silence surrounding baby loss by talking about it with those around you.

If someone close to you has been affected by baby loss, offer your support in any way you can. This might be by just being there to listen, giving them a hug or even attending events with them.

If you don’t know anyone who has been affected, start a conversation about it with friends or family. The more we talk about baby loss, the more normalised the topic will become – making it easier for those going through it to speak out.

Professional Training With SANDS

SANDS is a charity we’ve supported before at The Surrey Park Clinic. They are dedicated to supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby, as well as working to improve the care and experience that bereaved parents receive.

As part of their work, they offer free professional training courses for those who want to learn more about supporting others through baby loss. The courses are open to anyone who works with bereaved parents or families, including but not limited to

– GPs

– Health Visitors

– Midwives

– Doulas

– Bereavement Counsellors/Support Workers

– Social Workers/Carers.

Our staff regularly undertake these training opportunities and many have commented on how enlightening they are. It gives us a different perspective to carry through our roles here at the clinic.

We’d highly recommend that anyone working in the industry has a go at these courses. They’re brilliantly put together and SANDS have even said:

“Over the years we have gathered evidence from parents, health professionals and researchers on how to safely support families when a baby dies and what can be done to save babies’ lives in the future. With this evidence, we’ve created a package of training and tools to help professionals offer the best possible care and support.”

Supporting Baby Loss Awareness: Treatments

Daily pressures, trauma, grief and life stage can, at times, make life particularly challenging. Sometimes we can work through these issues with the support of family and friends. However, there are times when many of us benefit from professional help to find ways to deal with challenging times or problems like baby loss.

We are lucky enough to be able to offer psychotherapy at the clinic and have a number of expert clinicians who can help work through grief, finding a way to break the silence that works for you.

If you are struggling and would like to talk to someone, please do not hesitate to get in touch. No parent enters a pregnancy expecting a loss and the consequences can be devastating. From self-blame and guilt to depression and suicidal thoughts – there comes a time when professional support and advice is needed to guide someone through.

Benefits of Psychotherapy

Firstly, it can be hard to deal with the stigma surrounding the topic. Many parents have gone through this heartbreak, only to find a dismissive friend, family member or even healthcare professional at the end of the phone.

Our clinicians’ first aim is to validate the feelings that come with grief. After that, supporting baby loss awareness is all about affirming your previous steps as well as the ones to come.

By doing so, we hope to leave people feeling more understanding of their individual situations and able to move forward in whatever way suits them. No matter how fast or slow.

As well as this, working with a professional can help avoid an overwhelming feeling or the need to move all at once. Approaching it in an informed manner will make any future actions more sustainable and hopefully, beneficial to you.

It’s not just about addressing your own feelings, but learning how to deal with those around you after an experience as traumatic as this. The world might not seem quite the same for a while and our clinicians are there to help you navigate that at your own pace.

Break The Silence

If you’re reading this and have experienced baby loss, we hope that knowing there are people here to talk to will help encourage you to break the silence.

We understand how difficult it can be and assure you that everyone’s experience is different. Our clinicians tailor their approach specifically to each individual they work with.

Similarly, if you’re close to someone going through a difficult time regarding losing a child, we hope that our blog, social media and other platforms offer the support you need to help them through it.

Baby Loss Awareness Week might not be something you feel comfortable discussing but at Surrey Park Clinic, we feel it’s important to support parents through this tough time however we can.

Sexual Health And Contraception – Not Just A Youngster’s Game

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Too often, sexual health is seen as a young person’s problem. They get the talks about the birds and the bees in school and they are the ones that are constantly reminded to seek advice about STDs, STIs and any other concerns they may have regarding sexual relationships and wellness.

But we all know twenty-something-year-olds are not the only ones having fun. So we all need to be just as involved in this conversation! Sexual health and contraception are not just about preventing pregnancy – it is also about ensuring we know how to avoid infections and keep ourselves safe.

In this blog post, we’re going to explore all of these topics and highlight the importance of honesty and breaking the stigma around this topic with all generations!

Keep It Wrapped

In almost every case, condoms will provide some protection against the risks of STIs during sex. However, let’s take a look at why people need to make careful considerations about their sexual health and contraception.

Sexual health and contraception

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Everyone that wants to, should be entitled to really great sex. Being safe doesn’t mean being boring in any way shape or form.

When a person’s penis enters another person’s vagina, there will usually be a risk of pregnancy. This is usually the reason why people use protection such as condoms or female contraception like the pill or the coil.

But sex isn’t just about making babies. 

Many of us crave intimacy with another person and nothing should stop us from doing what gets us excited and makes us feel good. 

However, while people who might be less likely to fall pregnant or worry about this risk due to menopause or other bodily changes, there is still the risk of contracting an STI such as:

  • Chlamydia
  • Herpes
  • Warts
  • HIV
  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Hepatitis C

You can also still contract these infections if the person doesn’t ejaculate or if the penis is only shallowly inserted.

Furthermore, anal sex poses an even higher chance of spreading these infections due to the thin lining of the anus. Similarly, oral sex poses a risk of STIs which also increases if you have cuts or sores around the mouth, genitals or anus.

Viruses and bacteria can be passed through breaks in the skin and it is possible for both the giver and receiver of oral sex to contract an STI.

It is for this reason condoms are strongly recommended with new partners or when engaging with multiple people. You can never be too careful and even in long-term relationships or where someone may be using female contraception, we recommend condoms as a preventative measure for STIs.

Even if your partner tells you ‘it doesn’t feel as good’ – that is no excuse for neglecting your safety. They are thin and created for your protection. Surely not having to worry about contracting something will help you enjoy it even more?

Also, the age-old lie of ‘I’m too big for them’ is another excuse that shouldn’t slide in any relationship. You can get different sizes, styles and brands – there will be one out there you can use! 

(Plus, there are plenty of videos out there proving otherwise – it’s not as hard as you think to get your whole arm inside a standard condom… So tell them not to flatter themselves and wrap it up!)

Of course, you could use the female condom if you’d prefer.

Just Good Vibes…

A lot of people incorporate sex toys into their activities. Whether it be vibrators, dildos or other equipment, this can often be to aid with sexual dysfunction, self-pleasure, and adding something new to your routine, as well as in same-sex relationships or for general pleasure.

Sharing these sex toys poses a risk of spreading STIs and washing after each use and thoroughly is one way of ensuring this does not happen.

Although, you can still use contraception like condoms when engaging in activities using sex toys, which may help to prevent this risk further. 

It is important for sexual health and contraception purposes to keep general hygiene in mind and think twice about using toys with different partners without proper care and cleaning.

Better With Age?

Developing emotional and physical closeness to another person is extremely important for sustained happiness and quality of life. It can also improve mental health by offering a chance to maintain activity and release those all-important ‘happy hormones’ everyone needs.

However, we are aware that for one reason or another, our physical ability to perform and enjoy sex, in the same way, can often decline. 

This may lead to some uncomfortable or embarrassing encounters with partners. Not having the understanding or access to resources that educate us on sexual health and contraception can be a huge reason for this, but many of us will experience it in our lifetime. It is nothing to be ashamed about and you are most definitely not alone!

There are a few things we can do to remain positive and start conversations about these topics that will heat things up once more and allow you to get at it again.

Talk About It!

This may be easier said than done but it is so important to have an open and honest relationship with your partner about any worries or concerns.

Your other half should be the one you feel most comfortable discussing these things with, as they are the person you are sharing these encounters with. 

Also being settled in long-term relationships or marriage doesn’t mean you can’t try something new. But, nor does it mean you are no longer at risk of STIs or other sexual health issues.

Unfortunately, discussing the topic of polyamory or having sex with multiple partners is still taboo, we need to remember that it is a huge part of many people’s lives and a way they can remain satisfied.

For this reason, it is crucial that anyone, of any age, is having honest discussions with new and existing partners about their past and current sexual health.

This includes mentioning STIs, STDs and contraceptive methods where necessary.

It is essential that both partners feel comfortable communicating with each other about sexual activity to ensure a happy and healthy relationship.

Think Further Than 50 Shades of Grey

If approaching conversations about sexual health and contraception head-on feels too daunting, there are plenty of other ways to learn more about it.

Websites, books, and articles like this one are readily available on the internet and in libraries which can help to increase understanding. This is a great way to learn about sexual health and contraception without feeling like you have to put yourself out there.

It’s also part of the reason we write things like this and share our messages on social media. Without these conversations and educational resources, no one will learn and people forget what is a normal part of life.

From Niagra Falls To The Sahara…

Sexual health and contraception

As people approach the menopause, some may start to suffer from falling estrogen levels. Common symptoms associated with this are vaginal dryness and thinning.

As a result, penetrative sex, in particular, can become uncomfortable or even painful. This is when those open and honest conversations are going to be important. You can discuss the use of lubricant or ways in which you may need to reconsider the other person’s sexual health for the benefit of both parties.

There are plenty of fun options that can not only get you your mojo back but can actually improve your sex life. Flavoured lubricants and other products are designed to assist with not only penetrative sex but oral sex too – just don’t forget to keep it water-based if you are using it on top of a condom. (We wouldn’t want any unexpected tears.)

As well as this, sex drive may decrease and other changes to the body may cause low self-esteem, anxiety or depression. Sexual health and contraception do not just mean avoiding infections. We also need to consider mental well-being and our general experience with this part of our lives as people’s bodies change.

But, if you think the menopause might be playing a part in these issues, you could get in touch with our experienced team of specialists. With over 10 years in the field, we understand how personal symptoms can be – differing from patient to patient.

If you need help managing these symptoms or understanding more about how menopause may affect your relationship and personal life, book an appointment today or call our clinic on 01483454016 for more information.

Our clinicians can help with sex drive as well as low mood which may be one of your main culprits in the bedroom!

Feeling Down Because You Can’t Get It Up?

Unfortunately, ageing can come with a few other sexual changes for those where estrogen is not an issue. This can include erectile dysfunction (ED), reduced libido and even difficulty ejaculating.

There are many possible causes for these changes but it is essential to have open conversations with your partner about how you’re feeling and what you’re experiencing.

Again, just as younger people are concerned with having an active but safe sex life, sexual activity, the older you get, should not just be about avoiding infections but also maintaining a healthy and enjoyable relationship.

No Accidents In This House

If you are looking to prevent pregnancy as well as STIs, there are a number of options available to you. 

Many people also use hormonal contraceptives to control unwanted symptoms such as acne, mood swings and painful periods – but it is always recommended that you speak to your GP before trying anything new.

Here are a few of the options currently available. Most of which are available through the NHS.

  • Combined Pill
  • Injection
  • Patch
  • Implant
  • Copper Coil
  • Diaphragm
  • IUS (Hormonal Coil)
  • The Ring
  • Mini Pill
  • Condoms
  • Female Condoms
  • Vasectomy
  • Female Sterilisation
  • Emergency Contraception

GPs, pharmacies and sexual health clinics are the best places to get contraception. As there are so many, it may take a while to find one that is right for you. 

When we get older, people going through menopause may find it harder or impossible to get pregnant, but people producing sperm will continue to do so unless they undertake hormone therapy or have the testes removed.

It is also worth remembering that condoms are the only option that protects against STIs.

Understanding and education surrounding sexual health and contraception are vital in breaking the barriers and stigma we deal with every day.

Stay Safe

We hope this blog has helped start a conversation about something we know can be difficult or embarrassing. It is so important that we break down the barriers surrounding these topics to ensure everyone has access to the resources and support they need throughout life.

Don’t forget to share this article with others and find us on social media for more open and honest discussions where we will answer your questions and share our expertise.

Gynaecological Cancer Awareness: Normal or Not?

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gynaecological cancer awareness month

In the UK, over 22,000 people each year are diagnosed with some form of gynaecological cancer. Many of us don’t even know what the different types are or what we should be looking out for in terms of our own wellness, signs and symptoms.

September is gynaecological cancer awareness month – the perfect opportunity to get educated and join our community of individuals who want to understand more about their own bodies and where they can seek guidance or support should they need it.

Too often, people don’t seek treatment for gynae concerns because they’re embarrassed, don’t know the symptoms or aren’t sure where they can go for help without being turned away or judged. This can be a deadly mistake.

Simply having access to the correct information and a safe space can be life-changing. So please,  keep reading.

Gynaecological Cancer Awareness – The 5 Types

There are five main types of gynae cancer we want you to be aware of. 

Each comes with its own set of symptoms, risks and treatments. With some overlap, it’s incredibly important to be aware of each one and seek medical advice if you are concerned.

Womb Cancer

Also known as endometrial cancer, this is the most common type of gynaecological cancer in the UK with around 9,000 new cases diagnosed each year. It usually affects people over the age of 50 who have been through the menopause. However, we are now seeing higher rates of pre-menopausal people also being affected.

Anyone with a womb could be at risk.

The majority of cases begin in the lining of the womb or endometrium. While the signs may differ from person to person, the most common symptoms include:

  • Bleeding or spotting after menopause
  • Heavy periods that are out of character
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Unusual vaginal discharge (compared to usual)

If you are worried about any of these symptoms, you should contact your GP right away or a specialist consultant or clinic. During your appointment, they may ask you questions about your family medical history and how you feel. It is likely your doctor may also need to do an examination.

We know it can feel embarrassing or uncomfortable, but this is an important process that could be the key to early diagnosis. Having the courage to talk about it and go through the stages may just save a life. You are always within your rights to ask for a particular doctor or chaperone to make the experience a little less intimidating.

Other signs of womb cancer include:

  • A lump or swelling in your pelvis
  • Pain in your pelvis or lower back
  • Pain during sex
  • Blood in your urine

Anyone with a womb is susceptible and that’s why comprehensive gynaecological cancer awareness is so important! This includes women, trans men, non-binary people and intersex people. However, it does mean that you cannot get this type of cancer if you have had a hysterectomy.

Having high oestrogen levels is just one thing that can increase your risk of being diagnosed. Being overweight, having PCOS, diabetes or a family history of cancer are just a few more risk factors that can come into play.

gynaecological cancer awareness month


For more information please visit the NHS website.

Ovarian Cancer

There are many types of ovarian cancer, with the most common being epithelial ovarian cancer. Much like the type that affects the womb, it is often diagnosed in women over the age of 50 and can be difficult to spot as symptoms such as bloating or tummy pain can be mistaken for other health concerns.

When cells in the ovary grow abnormally, it can cause the following symptoms, leading to a diagnosis:

  • Persistent bloating
  • Persistent pelvic & abdominal pain
  • New bowel habits
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling full more quickly or nauseous when eating
  • Weight loss
  • Back pain


When diagnosed early, it offers the best chance of successful treatment. This is why we believe that not only is gynaecological cancer awareness crucial, but so is access to and education surrounding ovarian cancer screening.

We offer screening at our clinic with Professor Jay Chatterjee. He is one of the top Gynae Oncology specialists in the country – offering a full consultation, transvaginal scan, blood tests and follow-up here at The Surrey Park Clinic.

If abnormalities are found, you may be referred for further treatment by Professor Chatterjee. While cysts and other benign growths can be mistaken for this, it is always worth going through the tests to make sure.

Vulvar Cancer

This is one of the rarest forms, with around 1400 new cases diagnosed in the UK each year. It usually affects women over the age of 60 and the most common symptom is a lump or growth on the vulva which may bleed or itch.

What Is The Vulva?

The vulva is the name given to the external female genitalia. It includes the pubic mound, inner and outer labia (lips), clitoris, urethra and vaginal opening.

gynaecological cancer awareness month


Cancer can develop on any of these parts but is most commonly found on the labia.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Itching or burning sensation around the vulva
  • Changes in colour or texture of the skin
  • Unusual discharge that may have an offensive odour
  • Persistent pain in the pelvic area

A diagnosis is usually made following a biopsy, which involves taking a small sample of tissue from the affected area to be examined under a microscope by a pathologist. The vulva will also be checked for any other abnormal growths.

This is especially important as many symptoms can be confused for common conditions like infections. But as they can suggest something more sinister, it is always important to seek medical advice.

Treatment will depend on the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed but may involve surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Cervical Cancer

Gynaecological cancer awareness can help better our understanding of these scary signs and symptoms. Many people will have heard of this type from receiving vaccinations at school. However, few actually know what it is or what to look out for.

It is caused by changes to the DNA in cells of the cervix, which is the lower part of the womb that opens into the vagina. The most common symptom is abnormal bleeding, which can occur during or after sex, in between periods or after menopause. Other symptoms include:

  • Unusual discharge from the vagina that may have an offensive odour
  • Pain during sex
  • Persistent pain in the pelvic area
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss 
  • Fatigue

Nealy all cancers of this kind are caused by a common sexually transmitted infection called human papillomavirus or HPV for short. The HPV vaccines are offered to young people between the ages of 12 and 13 as this will usually be a window before they become sexually active.

While around 80% of us will come into contact with this infection, it usually clears up without any need for treatment or the concern of higher risk.

Cervical screening, also known as smear tests, are offered to people with a cervix at the age of 25. The NHS currently invites people every 3 years, but we also offer private cervical screening at our clinic in Guildford, Surrey.

We recommend yearly testing, as this can be crucial for early detection and can be the difference between life and death. We know no one particularly likes going to their cervical screening appointment  and it can be an uncomfortable process, however, we do everything we can to ensure you are as relaxed, comfortable and at ease as possible during your visit.

If you’d like to find out more about what happens at a smear test or would like to book an appointment with our GP Dr Alex Standring, you can click here.

gynaecological awareness month

Vaginal Cancer

This is the rarest gynaecological cancer, with only around 400 new cases diagnosed in the UK each year. It usually affects women over the age of 60 and symptoms may include:

  • Abnormal bleeding, which can occur during or after sex, in between periods or after menopause
  • Unusual discharge from the vagina that may have an offensive odour
  • Pain during sex
  • Persistent pain in the pelvic area 
  • A lump or growth in the vagina
  • Itching or burning sensation around the vulva
  • Changes in colour or texture of the skin on the vulva 
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss 
  • Fatigue 

There may be a few things that can increase a person’s risk of developing vaginal cancer.

  • 40% of cases are in people over 75 years old
  • There are many types of HPV that may develop into vaginal cancer
  • History of abnormal cervix or vaginal cells
  • Previous treatment of other gynaecological diseases with radiotherapy
  • Weakened immune system
  • Smoking

Because it is similar to cervical in the sense that many cases will be due to HPV infections, we would always recommend attending your cervical screening (smear test) appointments and encouraging children to undertake the vaccinations at school.

It can grow very slowly and the seriousness usually depends on the size of any cancerous growths. This is why early diagnosis is key. As we mentioned before, waiting three years for cervical screening might not always be the best option, especially if you have a family history of cancers.

If you’re worried about anything we have discussed today or would simply like to get into the habit of more regular screening, get in touch with our team today or book an appointment online. If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Let’s Educate And Break The Breastfeeding Stigma

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Breastfeeding stigma

Sadly, the world does not make life easy for breastfeeding parents. There are still a lot of people out there who have negative opinions of the process and condemn anyone trying to feed their children this way in public.

The breastfeeding stigma is a fairly archaic one that is fed by misinformation and misunderstanding surrounding the benefits and process. But by sharing more about the topic and helping more people become aware of why people do or do not feed this way, we hope to make the world a much more accepting place for parents!

breastfeeding stigma

Benefits of Breastfeeding

It is recommended around the world as one of the best sources of nutrition for babies. A perfectly normal and natural function that supports young children should not be one that is surrounded by so many negative connotations.

Strengthens The Bond

One of the main benefits is the bonding experience it offers between mother and child. This time spent close together helps to create an unbreakable bond that can offer lifelong benefits. A lot of mums decide to breastfeed to experience this incredible time between themselves and the child they are raising.

The physiological effects felt by the parent during nursing can lower stress and create a sense of calm that can also aid in better sleep. Skin-to-skin contact is one heavily recommended by healthcare professionals all over the world – breastfeeding is just one of the great ways to experience this and grow your bond from day one.

Improved Immune System

It also helps with the baby’s development of their own immune system as well as providing them with vital nutrients and antibodies that they may not get from other sources. It has been shown to reduce the risk of:

  • SIDS
  • Obesity
  • Type II diabetes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Asthma
  • Childhood leukaemia
  • Ear and respiratory infections

Amongst other incredible health benefits, these are risks that can be extremely problematic for young children and so any possibility of mitigating these risks should not be scoffed at!

Aids Pregnancy Recovery

The breastfeeding stigma also fails to recognise the benefits the mother receives. The hormone oxytocin is produced during feeding, causing the uterus to contract and return to its usual size more quickly. This can help to reduce the amount of bleeding after pregnancy and even lower the risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

What If I Can’t Breastfeed?

There are many reasons why a parent may not be able to breastfeed their child. Perhaps they are taking medication that is not compatible or maybe they have a medical condition that doesn’t allow it.

Some mothers simply cannot produce enough milk for their baby or choose not to breastfeed for personal reasons. It can be a stressful and painful time for many so no matter what the reason may be, no parent should ever feel ashamed or embarrassed about how they feed their child.

Below are some more very common reasons why mums choose to stick to the bottle:

  • Returning to work or school
  • Lack of support
  • Personal fears
  • Health concerns

We need to break the breastfeeding stigma and help to educate those who do not understand the process or the benefits. Only then can we create a more accepting world for parents and their children.

If you or someone you know is struggling to breastfeed, it is important to first visit your doctor, midwife or lactation specialist. They can give you support after leaving the hospital and ensure you have all of the resources and understanding you need to make it as enjoyable of an experience as possible.

However, if you cannot or choose not to, it’s just as important that you are aware of the best alternatives available to you such as formula or exclusive pumping. For more information, you can visit the NHS website.

Struggles Associated With Breastfeeding

It’s not always an easy process, nor will it work the same way for every parent or child. It’s important that if you are struggling – you talk to your healthcare provider as soon as possible so that they can help you tackle or overcome any issues.


When the strip of tissue attaching the tongue to the mouth is shorter than usual, it can create problems when breastfeeding. Cases can range from mild to severe but if you notice issues with latching as well as any of the signs below, it could indicate a tongue-tie.


  • The tongue does not lift or move side to side
  • Refusing to feed
  • Difficulty with any form of feeding
  • Slow weight gain


Colic is most common in babies from a few weeks old up until they are around 4-6 months. It affects around 1 in 5 babies and could occur whether they are breastfed or bottle fed. Whilst there is sadly no cure, it’s important to look out for the signs and try some soothing methods such as burping, proper latching and sitting up your baby to console them.


If you notice the tissue around your breast becomes inflamed and painful, or there is a lump around the sore area – you may be suffering from mastitis. It’s something not a lot of women talk about because it can be embarrassing and painful.

It’s an important topic to be aware of as it can leave parents feeling run down with flu-like symptoms that need to be treated. Feeding from one side more than the other or improper latching can be some of the most common causes, however, it may also come from:

  • Not feeding enough
  • Milk duct or gland damage

Catching it early is crucial as it becomes much easier to treat. Antibiotics can be used for any infection, but you should try to continue breastfeeding in spite of the pain.

For more information on managing mastitis and other challenges – visit this NHS page.

Is It Illegal To Breastfeed In Public?

Despite the breastfeeding stigma and the fact that some people may feel uncomfortable about the matter, it is completely legal to breastfeed in public areas in the UK as well as in most European countries.

The Equality Act states that it is discrimination to treat a woman poorly if she is breastfeeding. You are absolutely within your rights to challenge anyone who asks you to leave, but the more it is done and the more people understand the process, the more normal it will become.


breastfeeding stigma


Many parents choose to use a muslin or oversized shirt to cover up as they breastfeed in public, but there is no right or wrong way of doing so. Just ensure you feel comfortable.

Benefits For Developing Countries

As well as the antibodies passed from mum to baby, breast milk contains all of the vital nutrients newborns need. It can be a major way of aiding digestion and ensuring newborns are as protected as possible from common illnesses.

In areas with poor water sanitation and high rates of disease, it is often much safer than giving a young child contaminated water. It can also help to reduce the risk of malnutrition and dehydration, both of which are common problems in developing countries.

As well as this, in countries where food is in short supply – breast milk is a free alternative that ensures newborns are getting the fuel their body needs to grow. This cheaper option makes a great choice for developing areas that cannot afford to repeatedly buy baby food high in nutrients or formula that can be extremely expensive.

The formula can also be difficult to come by in any areas that are not easy to import to or are not developed with plenty of shops and cities. As a result, breastfeeding may be the only option for some parents. It’s important to remember that even if it is not possible or chosen to breastfeed in developed countries, this does not make it any less essential for those who live elsewhere.

This is part of the reason why we need to educate those who do not understand. Only then can we create a more accepting world for parents and their children.

Tackle Breastfeeding Stigma With Us

From the 1st of August to the 6th of August this year is World breastfeeding awareness week. We work with parents through fertility journeys and pregnancy recovery – seeing all the struggles and challenges they face along the way.

This should not be a barrier people have to deal with simply to ensure their child gets the nutrition and energy they need every day.

We believe that this natural process should be a comfortable and happy experience for all – without the breastfeeding stigma. This is why we will be discussing your thoughts and feelings as well as professional advice on our social media throughout the week. We hope you’ll join us in asking questions and sharing information. Let’s educate and empower parents everywhere to feel confident about their choices!

What’s All The Fuss? Celebrating National Surrogacy Week

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National surrogacy week runs from 1st – 7th August this year and we want to give you an opportunity to learn more about it.

This is a topic that can be surrounded by a lot of stigma. People may not understand the need for surrogates or may be under the impression that it is strange or shameful. But surrogacy is actually a very common procedure, and more and more people are using it every year.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the meaning behind the term, why someone might need it, and how it works. We’ll also break down some of the myths surrounding surrogacy and allow you to continue the conversation around this important topic.

national breastfeeding week

What Is Surrogacy?

Surrogacy is an arrangement between intended parents and someone with a uterus who agrees to carry a baby for them. This person is known as the surrogate. People can choose between traditional or gestational methods.


This involves the surrogate being artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm. (This would also make the surrogate the baby’s biological mother as it is their egg being fertilised.) They will then carry the foetus to term and deliver it for the intended parents to raise.


This is slightly different because an embryo is implanted using ‘in vitro fertilisation’ or IVF as it is more commonly known. The mother’s (or egg donor’s) eggs are fertilised with sperm from the father (or sperm donor) and placed into the uterus of a surrogate. The surrogate has no biological connection to the baby but will carry and deliver it for the parents.

Why Use A Surrogate?

A large part of national surrogacy week is understanding the reasons why someone might choose to go down this route. It’s still hugely misunderstood by many people and we do not see much information surrounding it in mainstream media.


This is a huge barrier that leads many to choose a surrogate. Whether it’s low sperm count, endometriosis or ectopic pregnancy causing infertility – surrogacy removes a large part of the issue as well as some of the risks associated with miscarriage.


By the time we hit menopause, the chances of falling pregnant reduce significantly. A large proportion of people who want to conceive at this age use younger surrogates as they are unable to fall pregnant or carry to term to due their age.

Same-Sex Couples

Another important aspect of National Surrogacy Week is celebrating the ability of all couples to conceive – regardless of sexuality or situation. Without the opportunity of conceiving naturally, this method has gained real popularity amongst the LGBT community.

It also allows at least one of the intended parents to share biological relations with the child if they would like to and are able to do so.


There are certain types of medication that can have severe side effects on a developing foetus. This would obviously be a huge risk to take if you desperately wanted children but surrogacy gives you the chance to avoid this completely. Similarly, asking someone to come off of their medication for nine months could be detrimental to their own health. It’s not always an option for people with chronic or long-standing conditions.

Personal Choice

This is not an exhaustive list of reasons people may choose to use a surrogate, but one people often forget is that the individual or couple would simply prefer to conceive this way. Infertility and health are not always the main reason for doing so. Whether it is to maintain their physique or continue working hard at their career, surrogacy is an option that everyone can consider.

Myths Surrounding Surrogacy

Now that we know a bit more about surrogacy, let’s dispel some of the myths that surround it.

“It’s So Expensive”

This is one of the most common things people say when they find out about surrogacy. Yes, it can be expensive and it’s currently not available on the NHS. However, there are many ways to finance it – whether through savings, loans or even crowdfunding.

It is currently against the law to pay the surrogate for their service, however, it’s perfectly legal to pay for all reasonable expenses along the way. This may include travel costs, loss of earnings, reimbursements or physical/physiological treatments.

It can also be cheaper to conceive via traditional surrogacy as you will not need to undergo fertility treatment of gestational methods.

“The Surrogate Will Be Attached To The Baby”

Whilst it is true that carrying a baby for nine months will create a bond between them, this doesn’t mean the surrogate will want to keep the child. In fact, most surrogates are mothers themselves and understand how difficult it must be to go through life not knowing if you’ll be able to have a child of your own.

It’s important to remember that the surrogate is carrying the baby for you and wants what’s best for you and your family. They will have no legal rights over the child once it is born. Part of national surrogacy week is remembering that surrogates are incredible people doing a very selfless thing for the intended parents – they do not always have ill intentions as we may see in films or TV shows.

national breastfeeding week

“It’s So risky”

As with anything in life, there are risks associated with surrogacy. However, most of these can be mitigated by working with a reputable agency or fertility clinic.

The risks to the surrogate are usually minimal as they will undergo the same health screenings as anyone else who is pregnant. The main concern is usually to do with their mental health and emotional well-being – something that national surrogacy week and professional healthcare providers hope to address.

“You Won’t Be Able To Bond With The Baby”

This couldn’t be further from the truth! You would have been  involved in every step of the pregnancy and will likely have a very close relationship with the surrogate.

After the baby is born, you will be able to spend as much time with them as you like and you may even be able to stay in the hospital room with the surrogate and baby if you wish.

How To Start The Process

Many people turn to friends and family. This is a great option as you already have a fantastic relationship built on trust. However, if this isn’t an option for you it will take some research to ensure you find the right surrogate for you.

Unfortunately, we do not offer the service at our clinic but there are plenty of organisations that can offer advice, resources and contacts.

You’ll be asked to decide a few things that will determine how the pregnancy moves forwards. Having an idea beforehand can make this less daunting.

It may be useful to draw up an agreement or think about the financial side of things. How much are you willing/able to reimburse? Also how much contact will you be having with the surrogate?

These are all important questions that national surrogacy week can help you answer alongside the professional advice available online and in clinics.

It’s important to remember that there are many people involved in the process and national surrogacy week is a time to celebrate them all. From the surrogate mothers carrying the baby to the clinics and agencies supporting you along the way – everyone plays an important role.

Join Us This National Surrogacy Week

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this method of conception. It’s a personal choice that should be respected much like the decision to have (or not have) children in the first place. 

In light of this, we hope you will join us this national surrogacy week in celebrating this incredible topic and raising awareness for the incredible act of kindness that comes with it.

It’s natural to have many questions when you first start looking into surrogacy as an option, after all, it isn’t something that is talked about often.

So, if you’re considering surrogacy, or know someone who is, make sure to reach out and get informed. It could be the best decision you ever make.


What are your thoughts on surrogacy? Have you ever considered it? Share your story with us in the comments below or join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #nationalsurrogacyweek. We’d love to hear from you!

Why Group B Strep Testing Is So Important

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Group B Strep

Did you know that we offer Group B Strep testing? It is the most common cause of sepsis (a potentially life-threatening condition) in newborn babies.

It is not mentioned heavily in mainstream media, nor are mums taught much about it during pregnancy. It is a type of bacteria that can be passed from mother to baby during labour and birth, and it can have a serious impact on both.

The lack of education on this matter means that a lot of pregnant women do not have the chance to access routine tests. As a result, many mothers are unaware that they ever carry the bacteria. 

This can cause a number of implications for pregnancies – so in this blog post, we are going to take a closer look at Group B Strep (GBS) and explain why we offer tests as part of our service.

Group B Strep Testing

What Is It?

GBS is a type of bacteria that is found in the digestive system, rectum and the vagina. Around 20-40% of women carry it, but most will never know as there are usually no symptoms in adults.

Due to the close proximity of the rectum, vagina and urethra, it is fairly easy for it to migrate and be passed on to the baby during pregnancy or birth. While the bacteria usually doesn’t cause a problem, there is a chance it can cause serious problems for both mother and baby, including sepsis, miscarriage, pneumonia, meningitis, and urinary tract infections.

The risk of your baby contracting the infection is higher if:

  • They were born prematurely
  • You’ve had a baby who was previously affected by GBS
  • Your temperature was high during labour
  • Your waters broke more than 24 hours before the baby was born

Signs Of Early-Onset Infection In Babies

Without routine Group B Strep testing, the infection is usually not picked up until the first week of life. Most symptoms will be noticeable within the first 24 hours of birth and so it is important to keep an eye out for them.

  • Floppy/unresponsive
  • Vomiting
  • High or low temperature
  • Significantly fast or slow heart rate
  • Major breathing changes
  • Persistent crying
  • Blotchy skin

You should contact your GP if you are worried about any of these symptoms or go to the emergency department if the baby is struggling to breathe or becomes unresponsive. 

Late-Onset Infection In Babies

The infection can also present later on in life, up to around three months. The symptoms are similar to those of early-onset infection but may be more subtle, so it is important to be aware of them.

  • Fever
  • Poor feeding
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Irritability/excessive crying
  • Lethargy/tiredness/unusual sleepiness

It is important to remember that these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, so if you are worried about your baby, please contact your GP or health visitor.

Group B Strep Testing

As mentioned before, it is important to remember that if not treated in a timely manner, there is a chance of life-threatening infections such as sepsis. This is why we believe it is important for women to have the choice of testing and be aware of their options both before and after labour.

A negative result offers peace of mind whereas even a positive one provides a better chance of successful treatment and a healthy mum and baby.

Why Our Tests Are Important

There are a number of reasons why we offer routine Group B Strep testing and want more people to be aware of the service.

Many people do not jump at the chance for a test because the bacteria can be present in low numbers without causing any harm. In these cases, it is not necessary to treat the infection as it will go away on its own. And there have been some cases where women have been treated unnecessarily while pregnant.

In fact, it is uncommon for the infection to be passed on at all. Despite this fact, the possible outcome for those who do contract the bacteria can be fatal. It is for this reason that many women choose to get tested at private health clinics like our own.

Knowing whether or not you carry the bacteria gives you the opportunity to make informed decisions about your care during pregnancy and offers peace of mind that could improve your overall journey to parenthood.

What Is Group B Strep Testing Like?

The procedure at our clinic is very simple and involves a swab of the vagina and rectum. We send this off for analysis and the results come back in a few days.

Ideally, we recommend women have the test around 35 weeks of pregnancy but, of course, before labour starts. The cost of the swab is £99 and you can book online or call 01483 454 016.

If you do test positive after having the test, we will send a referral letter to your GP and advise you to contact your midwife. This way we can ensure a strong plan is created for your treatment before delivery.

In this case, IV antibiotics are usually given during labour. It is entirely your choice to receive them and if you decide against antibiotics, your baby will be closely monitored for at least 12 hours after birth.

However, if you are delivering via caesarean, you will not need antibiotics.  

Preventing Group B Strep Infection

There are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of contracting or passing on bacteria:

  • Keep your vagina clean by washing with water and mild soap. Avoid using douches, perfumed products, or vaginal deodorants as these can actually increase the risk of infection.
  • Wipe from front to back after going to the toilet to avoid spreading bacteria from the anus to the vagina.
  • Wear cotton underwear and avoid tight-fitting clothes as they can trap moisture and provide a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and yoghurt (which contains probiotics that help keep vaginas healthy).
  • Limit sugary and processed foods as they can encourage bacteria to grow
  • Reduce stress as much as possible to keep your immune system strong
  • Stay hydrated – 8-12 cups of water a day is suggested for pregnant women

If you have any concerns about this topic, please don’t hesitate to contact our team at The Surrey Park Clinic. We are always happy to offer advice and support or book you in for Group B Strep testing with our amazing team.

Is It Time To Book An Appointment?

With the possibility of a fatal outcome, we truly believe the benefits of a test during pregnancy should be available to everyone.

It is a safe and simple test that can minimise any risks to the unborn baby.

On average across the UK and Ireland, 66 babies are diagnosed with the infection every month. We would love to cut that down even further and ensure as many mums as possible get the chance for treatment during labour.

At just £99 per test, all you have to do is click here to book in and one of our friendly team will walk you through the whole thing. If you have any questions or concerns before visiting, do not hesitate to contact the clinic.

These choices are yours to make. We just want to offer you the ability to make them.

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Health In The Community: Black Leaders Awareness Day

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Black leaders awareness

This year, July 18th marks Black Leaders Awareness Day. The event is set aside to celebrate the accomplishments and experience the wisdom of past, current and next-generation figureheads in the black community.

These pioneers have worked tirelessly to improve diversity and inclusivity across the globe in multiple industries. We want to ensure they remain at the forefront of society amongst leaders from other communities.

Many have significantly impacted the medical industry and enlightened others on the disparities still faced today.

We want to use this day to build understanding and voice these issues in order to build upon the results achieved by many of these individuals. Our medical community is one uniquely placed to open the eyes of others to circumstances and worries different to their own.

black leaders awareness day

Black Leaders In Medicine

Throughout history, racism within the medical industry has often been based on the ignorant myth that black people’s bodies work differently and are overall inferior to those of the white race.

As a result, many people in the community have had less, incorrect or lower-quality access to treatment and advice. Especially in areas where we see disparities such as infectious diseases.

Not only that, but those working in the industry have also faced serious discrimination – finding it harder to progress, have their voices heard and break stereotypes.

So, let’s celebrate Black Leaders Awareness Day by looking at some pioneers in the field, starting very close to home.

Dr Kizzmekia Corbett

Did you know that in the UK, black people are at least twice as likely to die from Covid-19 as others? The community has been and continues to be disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

There is not enough research to determine a definite cause or factor for this statistic, but it is one that clearly highlights the issues still faced today.

A wide variety has been examined, however, from social and economic equalities to biological factors. It is thought that living in more densely populated areas, the increased likelihood of being a key worker and existing health conditions are some of the main factors associated with this ethnic minority and contracting Covid-19.

It is scary to think that even with access to the NHS and free care in this country, there is a community more susceptible to dying from certain viruses and diseases.

Dr Kizzmekia Corbett is a viral immunologist and lead scientist on the team that developed the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.

Not only has her involvement led to the immunisation of millions, but she continues to speak publically alongside other black leaders to build trust in vaccines and other medicine amongst her community.

Despite being hit disproportionately hard, a lot of the black community remains mistrustful of medicine and medical institutions given the history of racist policies and practices.

Dr Corbett now focuses her time on public speaking as well as mentoring young women of colour in STEM.

Dr Camara Phyllis Jones

Dr Jones is a physician, epidemiologist and ex-president of the Public Health Association who has dedicated decades to realising, measuring and fighting against the impacts of racism on the health of those living in the US.

Her aim is to widen the debate about social determinants of poor health across minority communities. There are many elements surrounding this topic that are difficult for many to understand or discuss and so by creating a platform that educates – there is hope that her work may lead to a National Campaign Against Racism.

Henrietta Lacks

Black Leaders Awareness Day is not only celebrating those who have actively participated in work for the community but those whose legacies and impact lives on.

The year 2020 marked 100 years since Lack’s birth. Having died at the age of 31, she had previously been diagnosed with aggressive Cervical Cancer at one of the only hospitals in the area that would treat people of colour. 

Whilst at the hospital, a doctor removed some of Henrietta’s cells without consent or knowledge from Lacks or her family. This was unfortunately legal at the time and in doing so, he noticed that these cells were essentially ‘immortal’ – replicating rapidly with an extraordinary ability to survive.

Since then, her cells have been involved in key discoveries within the cancer, immunology and infectious disease fields. One of their most recent applications being within the Covid-19 vaccine research as well as historic polio and HPV vaccines.

However amazing her contribution has been to the entire medical industry, her story also highlights the racial inequalities within the system.

Due to the lack of institutions willing to welcome ethnic minorities, access to proper healthcare was slight or non-existent for much of history. As well as this, none of the profits made from her contributions was ever given back to the Lacks family, nor were they approached for further consent or compensation.

However, decades later, the family entered into a data use agreement, providing them with more control over the regulation of further discoveries using Henrietta’s cells. Because of this, her legacy lives on and continues to pave the way in multiple medical fields – also proving that dedication and education are the way forwards to achieving justice.

Struggles Of Women Of Colour

Shockingly, there are a huge number of disparities in Black women’s healthcare, including even the ability to access proper levels of treatment and support. But it does not stop there.

  • Maternal mortality and injury rates are higher for Black women.
  • Black women experience higher infertility rates – paired with racism and less access to fertility care when they need it.
  • Health disparities in the Black community typically receive very little funding, leaving it almost impossible to access the correct care.
  • Underrepresentation of Black women within clinical trials means that this necessary research and education is even further out of reach for the community.
  • As well as clinical trials, the lack of biomedical data from Black women means that further health disparities can go unrecognised for long periods – causing these individuals to suffer even more stigmatisation and discrimination.

Much like we mentioned earlier, some of these factors could be down to causes such as pre-existing health conditions. However, to this day Black women are still mistreated within the healthcare industry because of racism and false beliefs.

Many professionals still even operate under the false belief that black women have a higher pain tolerance. This can result in omitted access to pain relief or the assumption that treatment for injury and certain illnesses is unnecessary because they can live with it.

black leaders awareness day

Racism has been shown to have a direct impact on health outcomes – both mental and physical. It can lead to conditions such as anxiety, high blood pressure and even premature births. So even the case of discrimination in day-to-day lives could be impacting their well-being and the outcome of larger medical occurrences like pregnancy or disparities such as HIV.

There is also a lack of black doctors and nurses in the NHS. In fact, the website shows that as of 2020 77.9% of all NHS staff were white. This can lead to feelings of mistrust and anxiety amongst black women when attending appointments, doubled with the fear of discrimination and racism.

It’s vital that we continue to support black-led initiatives such as Black Leaders Awareness Day, in order to help address these issues. Education is key in promoting change. Black women deserve to feel confident, safe and supported throughout any health journey they may experience throughout their lives.

With access to services like our own here at The Surrey Park Clinic, people of every race, religion and background can be guaranteed the advice, support and treatment they need to maintain their health and wellbeing.

It also allows for more research to be undertaken, improving the entire industry’s understanding of health disparities within the Black community.

We are also proud to have an incredibly professional team made up of people of many ethnicities who have originated from and studied all over the world in a range of specialities.

Because of this, we pride ourselves on having created an inclusive, welcoming environment for everybody who needs our services. We believe this should be the case all over the world and that more should be educated on the issues still faced by people of colour today.

From screenings to testing and wellbeing services, medical care should not be a luxury. Nor should it be provided differently to people of varying community backgrounds.

Support Black Leaders Awareness Day With Us

July 18th is an important date to remember in order to keep fighting for black rights and progress, and also a time to celebrate pioneers in the community – both past and present.

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating this day by sharing this blog or stories of your own with us on social media. Using the hashtag #BlackLeadersAwarenessDay will ensure your support is recognised by like-minded others and that you can help spread the word to as many people as possible.

Don’t forget, if you feel let down in any way by your healthcare provider, it is important not to stop seeking help but to ensure you speak up for your body. There are teams out there like our own that will ensure you get the best possible care in a way that ensures you feel safe and seen.

Give us a call.

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Can Harmony/NIPT screening be performed in Twin Pregnancies?

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Harmony screening

The answer is Yes!

 Ladies with a viable twin pregnancy can also have Harmony screening performed to assess for the risk of Downs, Edwards and Patau Syndromes,  with greater accuracy than standard screening tests. This applies to both natural conception and IVF pregnancies and can be performed from as early as 10 weeks gestation. 

Fetal gender can also be determined for twin pregnancies, with results being given as ‘ two girls ‘ or ‘ at least one boy’. ( It is not possible to determine if there are two boys as it only looks to see if the Y chromosome is present. ) 

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Menopause Isn’t Just A Woman’s Problem: Let’s Talk About LGBTQ+ Health

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LGBTQ Health

Menopause poses multiple problems and concerns for billions of people over the world. It is important that we talk about LGBTQ+ health in relation to menopause and other issues. Being Pride Month, we couldn’t think of a better time to re-spark a true, open conversation. 

Our experts have been discussing the struggles that transgender men and non-binary people may face when going through menopause, as well as some of the symptoms and issues they may encounter that differ from those of cis women. It may not seem obvious to many others, but as well as the usual medical symptoms, they are at risk of additional stress and risks associated with menopause.

In light of Pride month, we will also be outlining why people in the LGBTQ+ community may be at risk of different health problems throughout life, and why many struggle to seek or receive proper help for even the most common of issues.


It’s really not just a woman’s problem.

Cisgender (or cis for short) people are those who identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, people who were born female and still identify as female would be known as cisgender women.

LGBTQ Health

Transgender (or trans) people are individuals whose gender identity doesn’t match that of which they were assigned at birth.

Non-binary people are individuals who do not identify as solely male or female and use pronouns other than he/him or she/her. Most commonly they will identify as they/them as they fall outside of the gender binary.

With this in mind, we need to realise that cis women aren’t the only ones who suffer from menopause-related symptoms and issues. Transgender men (who have not fully transitioned) and non-binary individuals will also go through menopause, though it is often overlooked. People producing estrogen and progesterone will start to produce less and less as they get older which is the typical catalyst for menopause.

Also, if a transgender person decides to go through a transition with prescribed testosterone hormones late in life – they may already be of an age where their bodies are naturally going through menopause.

Similarly, for transgender men who do not use hormone therapy at all, their bodies will still be producing the reproductive hormones that trigger menopause in the same way as a typical cis woman.

This can be a difficult time as people will be going through both the usual menopause symptoms as well as any gender dysphoria they may experience at the same time.

Gender dysphoria is the feeling of discomfort or distress that might be caused by a mismatch between a person’s biological sex and gender identity.

For some people, this can be a very minor issue. However, for many, it can have a major impact on their day-to-day lives leading to depression, body dysmorphia and other mental health issues.

With these concerns in mind, different people in the LGBTQ+ community may feel especially uncomfortable with changes to their bodies during menopause, such as weight gain, loss of muscle mass and bone density, hot flushes and night sweats.

Has The Health Industry Caught Up?

The experts are definitely doing more than in previous years. However, many health professionals are still not quite there, unfortunately. The entire health industry still has a long way to go before it can provide adequate care for LGBTQ+ people as a whole.

One of the main issues is that transgender and non-binary people are often misgendered by healthcare professionals. This can be extremely distressing and make it difficult for them to seek help or feel comfortable discussing personal matters with doctors.

There is also a lack of LGBTQ+ inclusive educational materials on menopause and related health problems. This leaves many people feeling lost and without any guidance on how to deal with their symptoms alongside any other related concerns.

What Can Be Done To Help?

There are some steps that both individuals and the medical industry can take to make things better for people going through menopause.

On an individual level, it’s important to be respectful and mindful of everyone’s pronouns and gender identity. If you’re not sure what someone’s pronouns are, just ask! It shows that you care about being inclusive and want to make sure everyone feels comfortable.

If you are someone experiencing menopausal symptoms, don’t suffer in silence! Talk to your doctor about what you’re going through and see what options are available to you. There is no shame in seeking help and you deserve to feel supported during this time.

LGBTQ+ Health & Wellbeing

LGBTQ Health

LGBTQ+ people experience a number of health disparities. They’re at higher risk of certain conditions and are known to have disproportionate access to primary healthcare. This is seen in areas of mental health, physical health, and access to care.

LGBTQ+ people often face higher rates of stress, anxiety, and depression. This can be due to minority stress, which is the result of experiencing prejudice and discrimination. Individuals may also face rejection from family and friends, making it difficult to find a support system.

This lack of social support can lead to risky behaviours, such as using drugs or alcohol as coping mechanisms. These substances can then lead to other health problems down the road.

Young people in the community are, heartbreakingly, especially at risk for obesity, eating disorders, and suicide.

Access To care

Facing the discrimination many know all too well, can also increase the risk of unfair treatment and poor quality care. While we know a huge percentage of the medical industry has made leaps and bounds in this area, those who identify as LGBTQ+ are less likely to:

  • Have health insurance
  • Receive timely care
  • Receive correct and relevant treatments
  • Understand health disparities that relate to them

This means LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to forego care altogether. This can result in a number of serious health problems, some of which may be life-threatening.

While some may be able to undergo transitions and seek treatment for serious mental health or physical illnesses – there is still a way to go to make health care accessible for all. 

Reproductive Health

While couples that share the same reproductive organs do not need contraception to prevent pregnancy (although contraception is always advised to prevent sexually transmitted diseases), there is still a large proportion of the LGBTQ+ community who want to get pregnant or start a family.

LGBTQ+ people often face unique challenges when trying to conceive. For example, female same-sex couples will need to use donor sperm, which can be found via sperm banks or known sperm donors (such as family members or friends). 

Transgender men who haven’t fully transitioned and want to carry their own child will also need to seek fertility treatment options if single or in a relationship with a cis-woman or person with female genitalia. 

Despite the challenges, there are a number of resources available for LGBTQ+ people who want to have children. Fertility clinics are LGBTQ+ – inclusive and welcoming (just like ours)!

At The Surrey Park Clinic, we have helped many same-sex couples become proud parents. It is truly a privilege to help create families and we always ensure both partners feel fully involved in the process right from the start. There are various options to consider when starting the fertility process.

  • Sperm Donors
  • Intra-Uterine Injections (IUI)
  • In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
  • Shared Motherhood

If you’d like a consultation or more information on any of these options, get in touch with our team or visit our dedicated page.

Working Towards A Solution

There’s no denying that the LGBTQ+ community has been, and continues to be, dealt some pretty tough cards when it comes to their health and wellbeing.

But we also know that things are slowly but surely getting better. With more open discussions around LGBTQ+ issues and an increasing number of inclusive policies being put in place, hopefully, we’ll see even more progress in the years to come. In the meantime, let’s all do our part to support our LGBTQ+ family and friends by continuing the conversation and standing up against discrimination.

We are proud to have built The Surrey Park Clinic into a welcoming and inclusive care facility. That is why we advocate for better communication between professionals and patients, allowing people to receive the care they truly need.

Being open and honest is one way people worried about LGBTQ+ health, can help experts deliver a higher standard of care.

Amongst this, we will also be focussing on the continued education of these issues and reaching out to anyone who may be in need of our services. So please, do not hesitate to get in touch for a chat or more information about anything you have read here today.