Women's Health

Women's Health Services

  • Cervical smear testing
  • Family planning
  • Contraceptive service
  • Oral contraceptive pill
  • Depo provera injection
  • Mirena Coil
  • Implanon
  • Contraceptive patches
  • Vaginal ring
  • Emergency contraception
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Antenatal & Postnatal Checks
  • Breast examinations
  • Hormonal replacement therapy
  • Well women screening
  • Infertility tests
  • Menopause check
  • STI Tests

Cervical Screening (Smear Tests)

Cervical screening is a method of preventing cervical cancer by detecting abnormal cells in the cervix (lower part of the womb). Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, but it is a test to check the health of the cervix.

Most women's test results show that everything is normal. But for one in 20 women, the test will show some changes in the cells of the cervix.

In Ireland about 200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. It is the second most common female cancer in Europe.

HSE - Cervical Screening
The why, when & how guide to cervical screening

Cervicalcheck.ie
CervicalCheck - The National Cervical Screening Programme provides free smear tests to women aged 25 to 60. A smear test is a simple procedure that only takes minutes and is the most effective way to detect changes in the cells of the cervix.

Menopause

The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally. Periods usually start to become less frequent over a few months or years before they stop. Sometimes they can stop suddenly. The menopause is a natural part of ageing. It usually happens between 45 and 55 years of age as a woman's oestrogen levels decline. The average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51. But around 1 in 100 women experience the menopause before 40 years of age. This is known as premature or early menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency.

Symptoms of the menopause

Most women will experience menopausal symptoms. Some of these can be severe and have a significant impact on your everyday activities.

 

Common symptoms include:

  • hot flushes
  • night sweats
  • vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
  • difficulty sleeping
  • low mood or anxiety
  • reduced sex drive (libido)
  • problems with memory and concentration

 

Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop. They can last around 4 years after your last period. Some women have them for much longer. A significant number of women can develop urinary incontinence after the menopause, for which treatment is also possible.

 

When to contact your GP

Talk to your GP if:

  • you have menopausal symptoms that are troubling you
  • you're experiencing symptom before 45 years of age

 

Your GP can usually confirm if you're menopausal based on your symptoms. If you are under 45, they may take a blood test to check your hormone levels.

Treatments for menopausal symptoms

Your GP can recommend treatments and lifestyle changes if you have severe menopausal symptoms.

These include:

  • hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – tablets, skin patches, gels and implants that relieve menopausal symptoms by replacing oestrogen
  • vaginal oestrogen creams, lubricants or moisturisers for vaginal dryness
  • cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – a type of talking therapy that can help with low mood and anxiety
  • eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly can improve some menopausal symptoms

 

Your GP may refer you to a menopause specialist if your symptoms do not improve after treatment or if you cannot take HRT.

Menopause Video Resources

Check out the ICGP video series on menopause here

These resources have been assembled by the ICGP’s Director of Women’s Health, Dr Nóirín O’Herlihy and the ICGP’s GP Clinical Lead in Women’s Health, Dr Ciara McCarthy. The 5 short videos will give you some general information about menopause, what it is, how it is diagnosed, and what to expect from its treatment.

 

Breast Check

Breast cancer is the most common female cancer in Ireland. About 2,700 women get breast cancer in Ireland each year. Most of them (8 out of 10) are over 50, but younger women, and in rare cases men, can also get breast cancer.

BreastCheck is a Government-funded programme providing breast screening and invites women aged 50 to 64 for a free mammogram on an area-by-area basis every two years. The aim of BreastCheck is to reduce deaths from breast cancer by finding and treating the disease at an early stage.

HSE - Breast Cancer Information

Symtpoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention & screening information

 

It is important for women of all ages to regularly check their breasts for lumps and changes. Check Dr Ciara Kelly's video of a breast self-examination for what to look out for.

Useful Links & Resources

  

Contraceptive Choices

 

Female Nutrition

 

Safe Ireland (Domestic Abuse) - Everyone has the right to live free from violence and abuse. If you are experiencing abuse, you are not alone. There is support available to you.

Wexford Wexford Women’s Refuge 1800 220 444 Helpline, Refuge, Advocacy, Counselling, Accompaniment, Support Group
Wicklow Bray Women’s Refuge 01 286 6163 Helpline, Refuge, Advocacy, Counselling, Accompaniment, Support & Advice

 

Please be advised that we do not take any responsibility for the content of the websites or documents referenced on this page, or information that you may receive from them. We advise all patients to discuss their health concerns with their GP.