Being a busy working single-parent I’ve neglected my health in the past and had a few shocking surprises in the form of anaemia, abnormal cervical cells and an emergency breast reconstruction for which I failed to identify the symptoms which could have largely reduced or even prevented a great deal of suffering. Turning thirty I now realise the importance of good-health and keeping ontop of risk factors and warning signs before they have a chance to develop into something sinister which is why I’ve booked my first WellWoman Examination at the Harley Street Health Centre.
WellWoman packages are designed specifically for the health needs of women (WellMan packages are also available) and are conducted by female doctors with the aim being to identify undiscovered health issues and prevent future illness and disease.
Full haematology profile
Infection and inflammation markers
Full cholesterol screen
Kidney function screen
Muscle damage markers
Vitamin D level
Thyroid Function Screen
The Silver Wellwoman package adds the cervical smear and human papilloma virus screening to the bronze Wellwoman package as regular cervical smear and HPV screening is a vital part of staying healthy as a woman. The Gold Wellwoman package also covers the glycated haemoglobin (HbA1C) test for diabetes and hormone screening to identify age-related changes, fertility and more. The most extensive Wellwoman package combines all packages with a comprehensive sexual health screen testing for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and bacterial infections. Packages start from £475.00 with tailor-made options also available.
Seeing as my medical included a fasting blood test I was advised to have a light dinner the night before and to skip breakfast for my 11:00am appointment ensuring I stay hydrated with water although you can have a tea or black coffee without milk or sugar and afternoon appointments are advised to avoid food for 6hrs prior to testing. I arrived several minutes early at the Harley Street clinic for my 11am appointment where I was greeted at reception and shown to a comfortable waiting area with a glass of water until Dr Enam Abood collected me.
Sipping a green tea in a cosy armchair within her antique-adorned peacefully sunny office we discussed all aspects of my health, lifestyle and wellbeing which I’ve never done to the same extent with my GP before. Dr Abood asked about my children and pregnancies, sleeping habits, contraception, periods, diet and fitness as well as my own medical history and that of my family and I was surprised to remember past treatments and ailments that I had long since forgotten and never spoken about. What immediately came to mind was the time, care and attention to detail that Dr Abood gave to me which is something severely lacking in the NHS as unfortunately waiting lists are long and appointments very short so doctors and patients remain distant rather than building up an understanding relationship due to the sheer volume of patients they see. I therefore felt at complete ease to talk with Dr Abood with no problem or concern too small or embarrassing.
The more time that we spent talking the more I actually addressed the health of my body and the issues and symptoms I’ve had in the past and presently overlooked. When visiting my GP I only attend if I’m in pain or something has gone drastically wrong and I need to seek treatment; however talking through my health in a calm and unhurried manner allowed me to better assess my daily life and I realised that I wasn’t in fact ‘fine’ as I’d automatically answer whenever I’m asked, I did have health complaints that I really should address.
Dr Abood then performed and talked me through my Wellwoman examination which involved being measured in height, weight, hips and body composition, having my blood pressure taken, heart rate, breathing, lung capacity, bloods, urine and a smear test. She assured me my overall health and fitness is very good before delivering her full report via email.
Dr Abood’s Conclusions & Recommendations:
I am pleased to report that you are fit and well. Well done for your excellent efforts. There are a few issues that I need to address:
• I would recommend an ultrasound of the inguinal areas to confirm the nature of the lymph glands as they’ve been present for over one year. They are most probably reacting to an infection or inflammation. We are checking for causes (vaginal swab and urine tests) and the results of these are pending. I discussed with you the copper coil and you mentioned the possibility of it causing inflammation and affecting the lymph glands, which is a plausible thought. Please discuss the inguinal ultrasound referral with your own GP. If you decide to do this privately then I would be more than happy to do this referral for you.
• An ultrasound of the breasts, once per year, is advisable due to the presence of your implants. An ultrasound will ensure that no abnormalities are missed.
• You told me that you have some anxiety at the back of your mind regarding bowel cancer as your mother contracted it before the age of 60. You have had some loose stools and your GP checked a stool sample, which was clear. We discussed the benefits of a colonoscopy. There are currently no clinical indications for a colonoscopy, however, it will alleviate your anxieties. I suggest discussing this with your own GP and if you decide to go privately I am again happy to refer you.
• We discussed sleep hygiene techniques such as not using your phone or computer for at least thirty minutes prior to going to bed. Listening to soft music and meditation/self-hypnosis tapes can be very beneficial. Another great technique is emailing yourself all that’s going on inside your mind to ease the pressure off. Try getting into the habit of a ‘daily tasks’ list before going to sleep to let your subconscious mind relax.
• You most likely have a sensitive bladder that you’ve learned to understand and cope with.
• Your vitamin D level is very low. I have done you a prescription for a high dose vitamin D supplement. Please 20,000 international units, one capsule twice per week for two months, and then one capsule per week after that to bring your vitamin D level into a more normal range.
• Your female hormone screen is generally satisfactory, however, your progesterone level is low, which is most likely transient. However, in view of your irregular periods, a referral to a consultant gynaecologist is advisable.
Please talk to your own GP regarding this.
I’m reassured to hear that all of my tests have come back negative for cervical cells, sexual health and urine and now have steps to take to address my vitamin deficiency, hormone imbalance, inflamed lymph nodes, irregular menstrual cycle and unstructured sleep pattern. I now realise the importance of keeping proper check of my health in order to improve my quality of life and prevent serious illness in the future and have the added peace of mind of being able to return to Dr Abood knowing she fully understands my health inside and out.
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