Since 2009 October has been celebrated as Menopause Awareness Month to raise the profile and education surrounding menopause and to promote the support options available for improving health and well being before, during and after this transitory stage of life.

What is Menopause?

Menopause is a natural part of the ageing process and occurs when a woman stops menstruating and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally. This usually happens for women between the ages of 45 and 55 years of age and is reflected by decreasing oestrogen levels within the body. It is this fall in oestrogen that stops the release of an egg and therefore the ability to get pregnant naturally.

In the UK, the average age of a woman reaching menopause is 51. However, around 1 in 100 women experience menopause before the age of 40 years old. This is known as premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency.

Usually, periods become less frequent over a few months or years before they stop completely. However, for some people, they can also stop suddenly.

Symptoms of Menopause

The range and severity of symptoms of menopause are wide-ranging due to the fact that oestrogen is a hormone that is utilised by many parts of the body.

The common symptoms of menopause include hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping, low mood and anxiety, reduced sex drive and problems with memory and concentration.

These menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before menstruation stops and can often last around 4 years following the last period, although some women report experiencing these for much longer.

Menopause Treatment Options

Most women experiencing menopause will experience a range of menopausal symptoms. Some of these symptoms can be mild and easily treated by lifestyle changes but for others, treatment options are required.

Some treatment options include hormone replacement therapy (HRT), vaginal oestrogen treatments, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and the promotion of a healthy, balanced diet.

Supporting You Through Menopause

Here at The Mayfair GP, we understand that experiencing menopause can feel daunting as it can impact many aspects of your life. There are many options available which we can tailor to suit your individual needs.

Get in touch today to book an appointment at The Mayfair GP for an initial consultation where your individual needs would be discussed in order to determine the next available steps. This may include further testing, prescribing hormone replacement therapy or a referral to a Menopause Specialist. We are also able to continue established prescriptions of hormone replacement therapy from gynaecologists. With a strong background in Lifestyle Medicine, we can also help with lifestyle choice options.

Cancer Research UK has revealed that around 10,600 fewer patients in England started treatment for breast cancer between April 2020 and March 2021 compared with the same period the year before.

There is ongoing concern that this drop in numbers is unfortunately due to the public’s reluctance to seek medical advice and continue with their breast screening due to the COVID pandemic.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This annual campaign is about increasing awareness of the disease including the importance of breast screening, access, and treatment options available.

You can find more information about the campaign here.

Do Not Ignore the Signs of Cancer

Almost half of women in the UK are reported to not check their breasts regularly for potential signs of breast cancer, the charity Breast Cancer Now has revealed.

1 in 10 women are reported to have never checked their breasts for new or unusual changes. In addition, only 19% of women check their breasts once every 6 months or less whilst only 13% check once a year or less.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers for women in the UK and Breast Cancer Now is making an urgent plea for all women to make checking their breasts a habit of a lifetime. By doing so, it will prompt individuals to understand their body and notice any signs which are abnormal which could lead to help with early diagnoses.

Self Check Your Breasts At Home

Research suggests that a large percentage of women are not checking their breasts for abnormalities regularly. They do not feel confident about what unusual changes are, and what they should be looking for. This is the case for almost 17% of women aged 45-54, which is the age when breast cancer risk increases significantly for women.

If you would like more information about how to carry out a quick, simple breast check at home then click here for NHS advice.

Can I Lower My Risk of Breast Cancer?

There is no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer but there are several things that you can do to reduce your risks such as maintaining a healthy weight, remaining physically active, and avoiding or limiting alcohol. Our GPs at The Mayfair GP can help you with lifestyle choices so that you can achieve your health goals, and lower your risk of breast cancer.

Book A Breast Screening

If you need a breast screening then get in touch today to book an appointment with one of our dedicated doctors at The Mayfair GP.

The month of September welcomes Urology Awareness Month, organised by The Urology Foundation. The aim is to raise awareness, break down stigma and encourage individuals to actively take care of their urology health.

Diseases and cancers of the kidneys, bladder, prostate and the male reproductive system are becoming more prevalent and it is estimated that 1 in 2 of us will be affected by a urology condition within our lifetime which can significantly impact the quality of life and sleep in particular.

Benign Prostate Enlargement (BPE) / Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Benign Prostate Enlargement (BPE) and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) are medical terms used to describe an enlarged prostate gland. This condition can affect how you pass urine.

Having an enlarged prostate gland is a common condition for men over the age of 50 and has been estimated to increase from 50% among men between the ages of 50 and 60 years old up to 90% for men older than 80 years of age.

In the UK more than 3 million men have lower tract symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate.

What is the Prostate?

The prostate is a small gland, situated in the pelvis in between the penis and the bladder. Its position means that if the prostate becomes enlarged, it can place pressure on the urinary system. This increases your frequency of needing pee and can also cause difficulty in emptying your bladder completely. It can also cause difficulties in starting to pee.

Causes of an Enlarged Prostate

The cause of BPE and BPH are unknown but are believed to have links with the balance of hormones in the body as it naturally ages. Hormonal changes in older men may play a role in the enlargement of prostate glands thereby blocking the urethra, the tube which carries urine from the bladder and passes through the centre of prostate glands.

Treatment

The first line of treatment for benign prostate enlargement depends on the severity of the symptoms however these are often relieved by adopting healthy lifestyle choices. This includes reducing alcohol and fizzy drinks as these can irritate the bladder further. Also, limiting artificial sweeteners, exercising regularly and reducing fluid intake in the evening.

There are medications that can help relax muscles and shrink the prostate. Devices such as catheters can also be used if you have chronic urine retention, where you find it difficult to pass urine and empty your bladder.

Health Screening

Here at The Mayfair GP, we offer health screenings that can help to identify any possible health concerns at an early stage. If you are worried about your urinary symptoms please get in touch today to book an appointment.

Scientific studies are concerned over emerging data on the effects that long COVID is having on some children and warn that these issues are real and should not be ignored.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that 13% of under 11’s and around 15% of 12-16-year-old children have reported to be suffering from at least one symptom of COVID, five weeks after receiving a confirmed positive COVID-19 infection. Almost 500,000 children have tested positive for COVID-19 since March 2020.

The Stages of Long COVID in Children

Children are considered less likely to become infected with COVID, transmit the virus and require hospitalisation. But there are still increasing concerns that the infection has the possibility to cause complications for the health of many children in the longer term.

Long COVID is a patient-led term used to describe the long-lasting effects that the COVID-19 infection can lead to. You may hear the term broken down into three categories: acute COVID infection, ongoing Symptomatic COVID and Post COVID Syndrome. This depends on the length of time signs and symptoms occur.

Common Symptoms of Long COVID in Children

At present, an agreed clinical definition of long COVID within children is limited and continues to be the topic of many discussions. However, regularly reported signs and symptoms include ongoing feelings of nausea, stomach pains, extreme tiredness and headaches. And there could be up to 100 other symptoms including dizziness, seizure, hallucinations and testicular pain.

Many children who have had the virus are reporting that they continue to feel tired doing their daily activities like gentle walking. Also reported is an ongoing reduction in sense of taste and smell. In some cases, they can experience cardiovascular symptoms such as palpitations and dizziness.

In addition to this, it is important to remember that COVID can have a significant effect on a child’s mental health and wellbeing due to changes and fear of the unknown, increased anxiety and social isolation.

Specialist Paediatric Care

We understand that it can be difficult to differentiate between long COVID and post-viral fatigue which can occur after common infections such as the flu and glandular fever.

Here at The Mayfair GP we offer comprehensive paediatric care and are highly experienced at treating a range of childhood illnesses and chronic conditions. If you are concerned, please get in touch. We can also do home visits and can carry out COVID testing, or other health screenings if needed.

Migraine is a very common health condition, affecting around 1 in every 5 women and around 1 in every 15 men which usually begin in early adulthood.

The Migraine Trust is spreading the word about the need for better migraine healthcare and have launched their Migraine Awareness Week happening throughout 5th -11th  September.

What is a Migraine?

Typically a migraine is described as a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head which also brings sensory disturbances. Although there is no known cause, it is a severe and painful long term health condition that can result in episodes known as migraine attacks.

In addition to head pain, migraine attacks can also cause whole-body experiences. These can include problems with vision and sensitivity to light, increased fatigue and sensations of nausea with vomiting.

Stages of a Migraine Attack

Although they can be complex, having a good understanding of migraines can be helpful. By spotting the phases of migraine attacks, individuals can spot the warning signs and be better prepared.

Migraines can be difficult to predict however once they usually follow a pattern made up of four well-defined stages:

  1. Pre Headache: This first stage is often signalled by feeling tired, excessive yawning, food cravings, feeling irritable, stiffness along with feeling thirsty and passing increased amounts of urine.
  2. Aura: This second stage includes a wide range of neurological symptoms including visual disturbances, numbness and pins and needles, weakness, dizziness and speech and hearing changes.
  3. Headache: At this point, it is likely that moderate to severe head pain typically described as throbbing has developed. This pain can often worsen with movement and can sometimes lead to nausea and vomiting.
  4. Resolution/Recovery: Symptoms of this final stage are similar to that of initial onset and can take anything between a few hours or days to fully recover.

Treating Migraines

Although it is not well understood what causes the abnormal brain activity related to migraines, there are certain triggers that are believed to have an impact such as stress, skipping meals, low blood sugar, alcohol, hormonal changes in women and environmental factors such as light and temperature.

Simple steps to take that could help include ensuring you are getting adequate amounts of good quality sleep, exercise regularly, reduce screen time, opt for healthy diet choices and work to reduce stress levels.

Lifestyle Medicine

Here at The Mayfair GP, we have a strong focus on lifestyle medicine. If you would like more information, guidance and support in dealing with painful headaches or migraines, please get in touch to book a consultation.

There is no doubt that type 2 diabetes and weight are intrinsically linked. If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you will know that eating a healthy diet and maintaining an exercise regime are key to managing your condition.

In fact, recent studies have shown that by returning to a healthy weight and – crucially – keeping the weight off, you can actually put your diabetes into remission. This means you could come off your medication because your body is able to manage its insulin levels all by itself.

Type 2 diabetes

Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is present from birth, type 2 diabetes tends to appear later in life. It happens when the hormone insulin in your body stops working properly, leading to raised blood sugar levels.

While the symptoms of type 1 diabetes come on very quickly, with type 2 diabetes the onset is more gradual, meaning people often live with the condition for several years before being diagnosed.

There are several risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, including:

  • age of 45+
  • family history of type 2 diabetes
  • ethnicity
  • high blood pressure
  • being overweight

By far the most well-documented of these risk factors is being overweight, and whilst there’s not a huge amount you can do about your age, ethnicity or family history, controlling your weight can help to control your diabetes.

Achieve a healthy weight

It is always tempting to follow a diet that promises extreme weight loss in a short period, but if your aim is to lose weight and keep it off, slow and steady always wins the race.

Here at The Mayfair GP, we specialise in lifestyle medicine. We can offer practical guidance, tailored to your individual circumstances, on how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. But here are a few key pointers that can work for everyone:

  • Follow an eating plan that works for you, that is low in saturated and trans fats, but contains all the major food groups, with a big focus on fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Eat three meals a day, with a small, healthy snack between meals if you’re hungry
  • Aim to do at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week. If you’re not used to an active lifestyle, start with a gentle stroll, and aim to increase the pace over time

A 30 minute walk whilst chatting to a friend can go much quicker than one spent alone and watching the clock! But if walking’s not for you, try cycling, swimming or maybe a team sport. There are plenty of activities to choose from, so keep looking until you find the one that’s right for you.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes

Because the symptoms tend not to come on so suddenly as type 1 diabetes, type 2 can be harder to spot. Here are some key things to look out for:

  • Needing to urinate more frequently, particularly at night
  • Being very thirsty
  • Feeling tired
  • Blurred eyesight
  • Itching
  • Increased appetite

If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms, you might be concerned that have type 2 diabetes. But if you get in touch with The Mayfair GP, we can organise blood tests to ensure a speedy diagnosis.

For more information or to book an appointment, please contact us on 07568 369455.

A recent trial conducted by a Dutch research team found that the frequency of asthma attacks amongst asthmatics had significantly reduced.

The researchers hypothesised a number of possible reasons for this. Their main hypothesis was that asthmatics were more likely to be fearful of contracting COVID. So in strictly abiding by social distancing measures, their exposure to allergens in the air was greatly reduced.

However, there was also the possibility that the fear of contracting COVID was discouraging patients from reporting asthma attacks. Not only this, but they were missing an essential asthma review.

Asthma and COVID

Now that restrictions have largely been lifted in the UK, it is important that we prioritise any existing medical conditions. And asthma is no exception.

The researchers were at pains to point out that allergic asthma is not a risk factor for a severe COVID infection. So fear of catching the virus should not keep you from attending vital medical appointments. Especially when they help to keep your condition under control.

Asthma in hot weather

As temperatures soar, we could see a sharp rise in the number of allergic asthma attacks reported over the coming weeks. In addition, our exposure to allergens in the air might be increased.

But the timing of the relaxation of COVID restrictions is another factor. Whilst asthma is often thought of as a winter illness, hot weather can in fact be just as much of a risk.

The reasons for this are not entirely understood, but two possible explanations are:

  • higher levels of pollutants in the air, triggering allergic asthma attacks
  • when you breathe in hot air, it can cause the airways to contract

Book an asthma review

The hot weather and the removal of social distancing measures might be having an impact on your asthma. So above all, we recommend that you book an appointment to review your condition and medications.

Here at The Mayfair GP, we specialise in lifestyle medicine. Lifestyle medicine looks at small changes you can make to the way you live your daily life that will improve your overall health and wellbeing. Conditions like asthma can benefit hugely from some relatively minor lifestyle changes.

For more information, or to book an appointment to discuss your asthma, please contact us.

Most years, infection rates for common childhood illnesses, like colds and flu, follow a very predictable pattern. The first flurry begins in September, when schools go back after the summer break. Then as the temperature drops the numbers go up, reaching a peak in around January or February.

Normally, when the sun comes out and children are spending more time outdoors, rather than together in centrally-heated rooms, infection rates start to fall. So by the summer they’ve slowed down to a tiny trickle.

2021, however, is something of a special case. Across May and June, Accident and Emergency staff across the UK were reporting a dramatic rise in the number of children being brought in for treatment. So, what should you do if your child gets sick?

No cause for alarm

A total 23,661 children attended A&E in May – the highest number for years. But hospital reports state that more than 70% of those patients were able to wait to see a doctor. So their attendance at A&E was unnecessary.

The appearance of cold and flu-like symptoms in a child at this time of year can be worrying. And particularly in light of rising Covid infections. But experts say the best course of action in the first instance is to book an appointment with your GP, or call 111.

We can help when your child gets sick

Here at The Mayfair GP we offer comprehensive paediatric care as part of our private GP services.

We know that when it comes to your child’s health, you need help and reassurance as quickly as possible. With this in mind, we offer telephone consultations as well as home visits, to ensure that you don’t need to wait to be seen.

We are highly experienced in treating common childhood illnesses, as well as rarer and chronic conditions.

Lifestyle medicine

We can advise you and your child on small lifestyle changes that you can make to your everyday life to offer the best protection against illness. This can range from dietary changes to exercise, to making sure you are getting enough sleep, and everything in between.

The Mayfair GP is available 24/7 offering private GP appointments for children, from ages 0-18. Your child’s health is our priority and we will work with you as a family to ensure that we support you in every aspect of looking after your child’s wellbeing.

For more information or to book an appointment, please contact us.

Have you heard of sarcoma? Could you spot the symptoms? According to a YouGov poll conducted in April 2020, 75 per cent of people in the UK are unsure exactly what sarcoma is. And even amongst those who did know, less than half could identify the key symptoms.

The charity, Sarcoma UK, wants to change that and raise awareness of sarcoma in the UK.

What is sarcoma?

Sarcoma is a relatively uncommon form of cancer – about 15 people per day get diagnosed with sarcoma in the UK.

Sarcomas can affect either bone or soft tissue and can occur on any part of the body. They are most common on the arms, legs and trunk.

How to recognise a sarcoma

There are two main types of sarcoma, and the signs and symptoms are different for each:

Soft tissue sarcoma

These can appear in any soft tissue – fat, blood vessels, muscles, cartilage, tendons or ligaments.

Depending on how deep in the body the sarcoma is, a soft tissue sarcoma may not present with symptoms to begin with. The first sign is usually a swelling or lump in the affected area. This could be painless, or may have some pain associated with it.

Bone sarcoma

Unlike other cancers, which start elsewhere and spread to the bones at a later stage, bone sarcoma originates in the bone. Usually, the first sign is pain in the affected bone – often the longer bones of the arms or legs.

Diagnosing sarcoma

Early diagnosis is key to treating sarcoma. Once sarcoma has been diagnosed, referral to a specialist treatment team needs to happen as quickly as possible. The good news is that survival rates for sarcoma are improving in the UK. The reason for this is rapid diagnosis and specialist treatment.

Sarcoma can be difficult to diagnose, so a series of different tests is often needed to verify the diagnosis. These can include:

  • Clinical examination – assessing any external signs
  • Scans – to see what is happening inside the body
  • Biopsy – removing part of the suspected sarcoma for analysis
  • Bone scan – for bone sarcomas

It is vital if you have concerns about sarcoma that you see a doctor with the knowledge and capacity to diagnose you and provide referral to a specialist quickly.

Here at The Mayfair GP, we have access to state-of-the-art health screening equipment. We have links to some of the top specialists in the country, meaning we can get you the treatment you need, quickly.

For more information about sarcoma, visit the Sarcoma UK website.

If you are concerned that you have sarcoma, book a consultation with The Mayfair GP. Call 07568 369 455‬ or email info@themayfairgp.com.

July is ‘Good Care Month’, and after the year we’ve had, we thought it was time we give some consideration to the carers themselves.

For many people care is a career choice, but for thousands of others it is something that has been thrust upon them. When a loved one becomes ill or less able to look after themselves, we can find ourselves taking on more and more responsibility.

And while you may adapt to the situation happily and without complaint, it is important that you also take the time to look after yourself.

Physical fitness

According to a recent research project conducted by Carers UK, many carers report that they would like to do more physical activity but find it hard to fit it in.

At The Mayfair GP we are passionate about lifestyle medicine and the benefits it brings. Physical activity has a huge positive impact on both our physical and mental wellbeing.

Here are some ways that you can increase your fitness without neglecting your duties:

Walk more

If you have a tendency to drive to shops or doctors appointments, why not take the time to walk occasionally? It might not always be possible or convenient, but a walk can raise your heart rate and lift your spirits, and the fresh air will help too.

Even just a turn around the block will make a difference. If it’s possible to take the person you care for with you, then the change of scene will do you both some good.

Make fitness part of your routine

You don’t have to get up at 6am for a run to make exercise work for you. Even if you only get half an hour to yourself mid-morning, there are short Youtube fitness videos that you can do. And you can put your feet up for ten minutes.

Make the most of what you’ve got

Gym memberships can be expensive, and so can home exercise equipment. But you can get the same effect without the hefty price tag, just by being a bit resourceful.

Got a couple of cans of beans in the cupboard? Use them as weights for strength training. A dressing gown cord can make a great yoga band! It’s all about adding a bit of resistance so your muscles have something to work against.

Looking after yourself matters

When you’re caring for someone else it’s easy to forget about your own needs. You may push them so far down the list of priorities that you may as well have forgotten them. But remember: the stronger and fitter you are, the better carer you will be.

Increasing your strength and stamina through physical exercise now will only make things easier. Especially as the physical demands of caring become more challenging.

If you care for a family member, and you feel like you need support, call us to make an appointment on 07568 369 455‬ or email info@themayfairgp.com‬.

For more information on how you can improve your health and wellbeing through lifestyle choices, visit our lifestyle medicine page or get in touch!