Women’s health specialists are concerned for the wellbeing of women in London after recent research has shown that 40 per cent of adult females in the city have never visited a gynaecologist and nearly half (48 per cent) of them do not visit one regularly.
The independent survey of 2,000 female London residents aged 18 or over, also revealed the reasons behind this trend. When the 40 percent were asked why they never visited a gynaecologist:
- 45 per cent of respondents said that they had never had an issue and didn’t see the point
- 40 per cent didn’t understand the need for regular visits
In addition, the research unveiled other worrying statistics, including:
- 43 per cent of women in London felt their GP was not good at discussing women’s health issues
- 25 per cent of women in London have never had a cervical smear
Women’s health specialists at BMI Fitzroy Square Hospital, who commissioned the survey, found the results of the research extremely concerning as they believe women are putting their sexual health and wellbeing at risk by not seeking expert advice and guidance.
Commenting on the results, Consultant Gynaecologist and Gynaecological Oncologist Dr Adam Rosenthal at Fitzroy Square Hospital said: “A gynaecologist can help identify problems such as infections and endometriosis, helping to increase a woman’s chance of early and effective treatment. By not acting pre-emptively, for example by having regular screening for sexually transmitted infections and cervical smears, women could be putting themselves at risk of gynaecological problems such as infertility and pelvic pain, or rare more serious ones such as cervical cancer.”
“It is surprising that so many women are putting their health at risk by not undergoing regular screening, Dr Rosenthal said. “Most women will at some point during their life suffer gynaecological symptoms. While most are not dangerous, if left untreated some can lead to more serious conditions. I would urge all women to visit a gynaecologist if they are not happy discussing these issues with their GP. Seeing a gynaecologist is not only about having tests for infections and smears, it’s about getting access to expert advice so women can make informed choices about their health.”
The team at Fitzroy Square Hospital advise that women should see a gynaecologist if they are troubled by any of the following symptoms:
- Heavy periods
- Bleeding between periods, after sex, or after the menopause
- Intermittent or irregular periods
- Pain during or between periods, or during sex
- Itching or burning
- Abnormal discharge
- Bladder problems
The research also revealed that the percentage of people who don’t have a cervical smear varies across London’s 32 boroughs. On average 25 per cent of women in London never have one, the borough with the highest rate of women who have not had a cervical smear is Waltham Forest with 37 per cent. Enfield, Hillingdon, Lambeth and Tower Hamlets all have the lowest percentage (17 per cent) of women in London not having smears.
Women who do not have regular cervical screens increase their risk of developing cervical cancer, a disease which kills 3 women a day in the UK. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under the age of 29 and the second most common cancer in women under 35. Current government guidelines that suggest women should have a screen every three to five years.