Women’s Health Services
At Bluff Road Medical Centre, we cover the full suite of women’s health services across the lifespan. From preventative health, cancer screening and diabetes testing, to skin cancer screening, mental health services and cardiovascular health, it’s all available under the one roof. Our team is ready to support you for all your women’s health needs, so please get in touch!
Contraception & Sexual Health Screening
We offer advice and support around various short and long-acting contraception at Bluff Road Medical. Examples of short-acting contraception include hormonal pills, injectable hormones and vaginal rings. Long-acting contraception include intrauterine devices and hormonal implants. We can also assist with the Implanon rod and Mirena IUDs (intra-uterine device). Our doctors can discuss the merits of different types of treatment options, what’s suitable for you and potential side effects. To discuss contraception, please call 9598 6244.
If you haven’t had a check-up in a while, it’s a good idea to come and get tested. Some STIs can have serious implications if left untreated. For example, Chlamydia, which is the commonest bacterial STI, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and fertility issues. If you’ve just finished or recently started a relationship, please consider a sexual health screening appointment.
When it comes to women’s health, breast awareness is vital. It’s important to familiarise yourself with how your breasts look and feel. That way, any changes may be easier to identify. You can find tips for performing breast exams at breastcancer.org or here.
BreastScreen Australia mammograms (breast x-rays). However, those aged 50 to 74 years will be periodically reminded by the Breast Screening Victoria to have a free mammogram every two years.
Women over 75 who have no breast symptoms continue to have free access to BreastScreen if they wish. If you have any concerns or if there’s been a change in family history (particularly if someone has been diagnosed with breast cancer), please book in with your GP to discuss your own risks.
At Bluff Road Medical Centre, our doctors are here to offer comprehensive medical support right through the journey of starting a family and beyond!
If you’re planning to have a baby, it’s a good idea to book in with your GP before you start trying. Your doctor will be able to provide advice around everything from genetic carrier screening tests to diet, exercise and pre-natal supplements to take prior to getting pregnant. We can also run you through the different care options available to you, including public versus private care and everything in between.
At Bluff Road Medical Centre, we offer cervical screening as part of our women’s health services. Please book a double appointment for your cervical screening. In December 2017, the Pap test was replaced with the Cervical Screening Test (CST). The CST detects a common sexually transmitted virus, Human Papillomavirus (known as HPV) which can cause cell changes in the cervix and rarely leads to cervical cancer. The test feels exactly like a Pap smear.
Screening now commences at age 25. If HPV is not detected, your next CST is due in 5 years. If HPV is detected, the lab will look for any changes in cells collected during your screening test. A recommendation will be provided as to whether to repeat the test in 12 months or to see a gynaecologist if the changes are more severe.
If you’re due for a cervical screening, please book in. Likewise, if you have any symptoms such as abnormal bleeding (spotting or changes in your cycle pattern), discharge or pain during sex, book in with your doctor as soon as possible.
We offer support to women experiencing premature menopause (before age 40) or early menopause (before age 45). Most women menopause between the ages 45 to 55, the average age being 51. Menopause signifies the end of the menstruation in a woman’s life and is associated with a natural decline in reproductive hormones. Menopause is said to have taken place if you have not had a period in 12 months.
You may notice changes to your cycle during this ‘change of life’. Period cycles may be longer, shorter, or totally irregular, and bleeding may be lighter or heavier. Other symptoms may include hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and sexual discomfort, sleep issues, headaches, mood changes, reduced libido, tiredness, urinary frequency, aches and pains, crawling or itching sensation under the skin and forgetfulness.
Our doctors can provide advice about dealing with menopause from a lifestyle point of view and managing the symptoms. We can discuss the types of medical intervention available to you, such as Menopausal Hormone Therapy (previously known as Hormone Replacement Therapy) and review your contraception requirements.
When you book in for a consultation about menopause, we may suggest that this is a good time to do a comprehensive check up. This helps us to identify any future risks like heart disease or osteoporosis and affect decisions about how to manage your menopause symptoms. The Jean Hailes Foundation offers useful fact sheets and resources for women looking for more information about menopause.
Antenatal (Pregnancy) Care
We are proud to offer shared care for expectant mums. This is where your antenatal visits are split between your GP and the hospital or birthing centre of your choice. Shared care is a wonderful option for women experiencing a low-risk pregnancy, as it means you can continue to see your regular doctor in a familiar setting.
You can also opt for midwifery-led or direct obstetrician care (public or private). For more information, see our Antenatal (Pregnancy) Care page.
Breastfeeding and Postnatal Care
Lactation (breastfeeding) and maternal and child health services are another women’s health service offered at Bluff Road Medical. If you’re experiencing difficulty breastfeeding, we have a specialised lactation service to offer support in everything from nipple and breast pain, supply and attachment issues to tongue tie and blocked ducts.
We also assist with 6-week check-ups for mother and baby to review maternal mental and physical health, infant sleep problems and immunisation. To find out more, please see our Breastfeeding and Postnatal Care page.
Pelvic Floor Health
Here at Bluff Road Medical, we are actively encouraging women to talk about pelvic floor health! It is often not raised by most but can cause significant concern for women especially those who’ve had children.
Pelvic Floor First lists the following signs as an indication of a pelvic floor problem:
- Leakage when you exercise, laugh, cough or sneeze
- Needing to get to the toilet in a hurry or not making it there in time
- Frequent urination
- Finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel
- Accidentally losing control of your bladder or bowel
- Accidentally passing wind
- Having a prolapse
- Pain in your pelvic area or pain after sex
If you are experiencing any of these issues, please book in with your GP. We can explain treatment options, organise further tests and advise you about which other health professionals can assist you.