Women's Health

Well Women’s Clinic

We have specially trained accredited pap smear nurses that run free clinics each week for women to come and have a health check up and Pap smear done. Clinics are on a Tuesday, Wednesday and we run an evening clinic on a Monday from 4pm.

We can check your blood pressure, discuss issues that you may need to be aware of and point you in the right direction if further help is needed – and of course perform that important Pap smear. They are supported by our doctors if any issue arises that may need assistance at the time. Please call our reception staff to make an appointment – these clinics are free.

What are some of the issues women may face?

Menopause

It's a normal event in the life of an older woman, but as with other transitions in life like puberty and the onset of menstruation, menopause throws up challenges. Most women experience some difficulties adjusting to the physical and emotional changes of menopause.

What is Menopause?

Taken literally 'menopause' means the last menstrual period, but in everyday speak it means the time around the last period, which typically happens between the late 40s and early 50s. The average age is 51 years. Around this time, menstruation stops and starts – it's usually considered to be menopause if there's been no vaginal bleeding for 12 months. In a very small number of cases (less than one per cent) it happens before the age of 40.

What happens in menopause?

The experience of menopause varies widely from woman to woman and from culture to culture. All women, however, undergo the same basic hormonal changes during menopause. The ovaries run out of functional eggs so ovulation stops and the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone are no longer produced.

The degree to which each woman's body responds to these normal hormonal changes varies.

  • 25% of women do not have any problems with menopause
  • 50% of women experience some menopausal symptoms, varying from mild to moderate
  • 25% of women have more severe problems

It is important to recognise that not all symptoms that women experience at this stage in life are related to menopause. Some are just part of the normal ageing process

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Hot flushes and night sweats. These are sensations of heat that last between 30 seconds and five minutes, felt in the face, chest, neck, or over whole body, sometimes with sweating, nausea, and flushing of the skin. When they happen at night they're called night sweats.
  • Genital changes. The vaginal tissue becomes thin, less elastic and drier; natural lubrication diminishes and sex may become uncomfortable and orgasm less intense. The pH of the vagina alters and it becomes more prone to bacterial and fungal infections. The labia and clitoris may decrease in size because they lose some of their fatty tissue.
  • Irregular periods. Over a period of years leading up to menopause, hormone levels can fluctuate wildly, causing erratic, irregular periods, some lighter, and some much heavier than normal.
  • Urinary problems. Similar changes in the bladder and urethra make urinary tract infections more likely. The muscles of the pelvic floor become weaker, so stress incontinence (leaking of urine with exertion) is more likely.
  • Skin and hair thinning. Skin becomes thinner and less elastic and lines may appear. Skin may feel drier than it was before.
  • Sleep disturbances. Insomnia is more common – so is waking at night with night sweats.
  • Weight changes. As a woman ages, her metabolism tends to slow, and she becomes more sedentary (as do men) and so tends to put on weight. She may lose weight from the hip and thigh area and put it on around the abdomen.
  • Mood changes. Some women become depressed, anxious, irritable, and forgetful. The mood changes are partly hormonal. But they may also be related to a sense of loss of fertility and diminished womanhood. Those women who have been deeply involved with family may feel a sense of emptiness and a loss of purpose, especially if, around the same time, children leave home.

These Symptoms can be controlled by the use of Hormone Replacement Therapy, if you are experiencing these symptoms you should contact your GP to discuss how you could relieve your symptoms.

Post-menopausal women have an increased risk of a number of health conditions, in particular osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis

What is Osteoporosis?

This is a condition characterised by the loss of bone density as well as a deterioration in the bone structure. These changes result in a weakening of the skeleton, leading to an increased chance of breaking a bone; a fracture. The most common sites of fracture are the bones of the spine, the hip and the wrist.

What causes osteoporosis?

Many factors contribute to a loss of bone as people age. In women, the decrease in the level of sex hormones (oestrogens) after the menopause is an important cause of bone loss.

It is estimated that in Australia approximately 60% of women, and 30% of men, over the age of 60 years will suffer an osteoporotic fracture in their remaining lifetime.

Prevention of Osteoporosis?

  • Diet and Exercise
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce the use alcohol
  • Taking Calcium and Vitamin D supplements
  • Medication in some situations

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among females in Australia. This cancer mostly affects women after the age of 40.

Early detection methods

  • Breast awareness: awareness by a woman of the normal look and feel of her breasts
  • Breast self-examination: examination of the breasts by the individual
  • Clinical breast examination: examination of the breasts by a doctor
  • Screening mammography: use of mammography in asymptomatic women to detect breast cancer at an early stage. BreastScreen Australia is the national mammographic screening program – they come to Yarrawonga every 2 years and are often seen in the IGA carpark.

Breast Changes

Sometimes some breast changes occur which can be identified by the patient or the doctor, such as:

  • A lump
  • Any change in the shape or appearance of the breast such as dimpling or redness.
  • An area that feels different to the rest.
  • Discharge
  • Pain
  • Any change in the shape or appearance of the nipple (nipple inversion or retraction)

Many women are concerned that a breast change might be breast cancer. Even though it might not be cancer in most cases, it is very important that all breast changes are carefully investigated. As early detection of breast cancer provides a much better chance of effective treatment.

Clinic standard opening hours are: - Monday - Thursday
- Friday
- Saturday & Sunday
Make an appointment
(03) 5744 1777
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Medical Education

The doctors at this clinic have been involved in the education of medical students from the University of Melbourne, interns from the M2M(Murray to Mountains) programme and young GPs from Bogong Regional Training Network who are completing their training (GP registrars).

LATEST NEWS

We run Skin Clinics on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, bookings are required.

Shingles vaccine – Free to all over 70 - 79.


Flu vaccine – Free to pregnant women and those over the age of 65.
$16 - Flu needle available at the clinic.


Whooping Cough vaccine – Free to pregnant women.
$45 - Available to all others who require it.