I have heard about a vaccine to prevent a virus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer. Can you tell me more about it?

HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus. Some strains of the virus can cause cervical cancer and vaccination offers protection against the two strains that cause 70% of all cervical cancers. HPV is spread mostly through sexual intercourse, but also through other types of sexual activity.

It is recommended that women receive the vaccine before they become sexually active. However, if a girl or woman is already infected with HPV, the vaccine will not prevent that strain of HPV from causing disease. It will protect against new infections with other strains of HPV included in the vaccine.

At what age should a girl start going to a gynaecologist as opposed to her paediatrician?

Females should have their first gynaecological visit / consultation by the age of 16, or when they become sexually active. At this point they should begin having yearly pap smears and pelvic exams.

Why should young women have the Papanicolaou Test (SMEAR Test)?

Recent studies have shown that women in their early 20s should be screened for cervical cancer.

At what age should periods start?

Periods are also known as menstrual cycles. The onset of menstrual cycles (menarche) occurs during the teenage years. Menstruation continues until a woman is in her 50s and reaches menopause.

Is it common to have headaches every month just before or just after my period starts?

Migraine headaches that occur on a cyclic basis with the menstrual cycle are known as menstrual migraines. To classify as a menstrual migraine, the headache must begin anywhere from 1 day before to 4 days after the onset of menses. Approximately 15% of migraine sufferers are classified as having menstrual migraines.

Treatment of menstrual migraines is similar to that for standard migraine headaches. Lifestyle changes such as increased exercise and a diet low in salt, fat, and sugar have been known to help alleviate menstrual migraines. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as ibuprofen or naproxen are often a good first-line choice of medication.

How do I tell if I am pregnant?

The only way to be absolutely sure you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. A pregnancy test or ultrasound examination can be scheduled through the Medical Centre. A variety of home pregnancy tests are available through most pharmacies. Pregnancy tests are typically accurate within 10 to 15 days of conception. Your doctor can also carry out a blood pregnancy test to confirm a pregnancy. Early Pregnancy Symptoms such as a missed period, nausea, and inexplicable sensitivity to foods and odours may also act as significant indicators to pregnancy status.

When will I first notice pregnancy symptoms?

Each pregnancy is unique, but typically, symptoms will become obvious within 7 to 14 days from the time of implantation. Implantation occurs within nine days after fertilisation, which can occur within a week of unprotected intercourse. However, many women may find they are symptom free for several weeks after implantation.

Can I get pregnant by participating in unprotected sex during my period?

Yes, it is possible to become pregnant during your period. Sperm can live for a few days in the cervical mucus of the vagina. If you are prone to having a short menstruation cycle, ovulation may occur within a few days of the end of your period. If this coincides with the lifespan of the sperm, pregnancy can result.

Can I be pregnant if I get a negative home pregnancy result?

Yes, it is possible to be pregnant and still get a negative reading from a home pregnancy test. While each home pregnancy test specifies when it is best to take the test, typical home pregnancy tests will not provide an accurate reading until at least ten to fourteen days after participating in unprotected sex. If you receive a negative result but your period still has not started, you should visit your doctor for tests.

I have taken a home pregnancy test and the results were positibe. Now what?

Make an appointment with your doctor. You will want professional confirmation of your pregnant condition and medical advice on how best to proceed. Your doctor can prescribe prenatal vitamins and provide you with a list of do’s and don’ts that will help ensure your pregnancy is healthy, and your child has the very best start to a long and happy life.

Getting ready to give birth – When should I call the clinic?
  • If you think your waters have broken
  • If you have any vaginal bleeding
  • If you are having regular contractions, which generally you feel as pains in either your abdomen or in your back
  • If your baby is moving less than usual