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Reproductive and Gynaecological Health 2021

Teaching women to be bold about gynae health

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Drazen Zigic

Dr Anita Mitra

aka. The Gynae Geek, Academic Specialty Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Gynaecological health affects every single woman we know, so why do we find it so hard to have the conversation? 

When working in clinic, I take pride in ensuring all patients leave feeling they’ve been heard and that I’ve answered their questions and concerns. Having over 135,000 followers on my social media account, now means I can educate thousands more about symptoms and conditions, empowering them with the knowledge and language to make their problems heard by medical professionals. 

I think it’s important that our patients are aware that we are normal people who can be relatable and approachable.

Sharing my honest, human side 

I also like to share what I get up to during my shifts, which many people have commented has made them feel more relaxed about going into hospital, especially during the pandemic. I’m not afraid to show my human side online. I think it’s important that our patients are aware that we are normal people who can be relatable and approachable.  

I recently spoke about having terrible period pain during a caesarean section on a night shift. I received an outpouring of messages from other women thanking me for making this ‘ok’ to talk about. Why is it that we find it so hard to say the word period or vagina to each other and out loud?  

Most notable was the message I received from a male colleague; “Lots of respect here, this is the right conversation to have.” Unfortunately, many people don’t experience such support from those around them. 

Dialogue with healthcare professionals

So, what’s missing from the conversations we are having and are we really currently meeting the needs of all women?  

Sometimes just asking the question, using the correct language and saying something isn’t right is the first step. As doctors it is our job to listen and help patients make positive change for permanent gain. And that’s my social media mission – that all women are heard. 

Dr Anita Mitra is a Specialist Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She is also ‘The Gynae Geek’; creator of an Instagram platform that educates and informs around gynaecological health. She has written a book that promises to be your ‘no-nonsense guide to down their healthcare’.

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