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Dr Gary Swift blog - Physical and Emotional Benefits of HRT

Physical and Emotional Benefits of HRT

8 July 2024

Menopause is a significant transition in a woman’s life, often accompanied by a range of symptoms due to declining estrogen levels.  Having been a gynaecologist for over 30 years, I’ve seen firsthand how these changes can impact a woman’s wellbeing. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) offers a viable solution to help alleviate these symptoms and enhance your quality of life. In this week’s blog I’ll explore how boosting your estrogen levels with HRT can benefit you both physically and emotionally.

Physical Benefits of HRT

Alleviating Menopausal Symptoms

Hot Flushes and Night Sweats: These common menopausal symptoms can be significantly reduced with HRT, helping you stay comfortable day and night.

Vaginal Dryness: Estrogen therapy can improve vaginal lubrication, reducing discomfort and enhancing sexual health.


Bone Health

Osteoporosis Prevention: Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining bone density. HRT helps protect against the accelerated bone loss that can occur during menopause, reducing the risk of fractures.


Skin Health

Increased Collagen Production: Estrogen boosts collagen levels in your skin, improving elasticity and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This can give your skin a more youthful and vibrant look.


Cardiovascular Health

Heart Protection: While the relationship between HRT and heart health can be complex, some evidence suggests that starting HRT around the time of menopause may provide cardiovascular benefits, including better cholesterol levels and improved blood vessel function.

 

Emotional Benefits of HRT

Mood Stability

Reducing Mood Swings: Menopause can bring about mood swings and irritability. HRT helps stabilise hormone levels, potentially leading to a more balanced mood.


Enhanced Sleep Quality

Improved Sleep: By reducing night sweats and hot flushes, HRT can contribute to better sleep quality, leaving you feeling more rested and rejuvenated.

 

Increased Energy Levels

Boosted Vitality: Many women report feeling more energetic and capable after starting HRT, which can enhance your overall sense of well-being and productivity.

 

Improved Cognitive Function

Sharper Mind: Some studies suggest that estrogen may play a role in cognitive function. While research is ongoing, many women feel that HRT helps them maintain mental clarity.

 

Making the Decision

Hormone Replacement Therapy can be a valuable tool in managing the physical and emotional challenges of menopause. By boosting your estrogen levels, HRT offers a range of benefits, from alleviating common symptoms to improving your overall quality of life. If you’re experiencing menopausal symptoms and wondering if HRT is right for you, don’t hesitate to reach out. Together, we can explore the best options for your health and wellbeing.  My clinic phone number is
(07) 5564 6017. 

 

#Menopause #HRT #BenefitsOfHRT #GoldCoastGynaecologist #MenopauseMatters

Endometriosis is Insidious

1 July 2024

Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, starts growing outside the uterus. Imagine this rogue tissue attaching itself to your organs, behaving like it’s still inside the uterus: thickening, breaking down, and bleeding with each menstrual cycle. But unlike the tissue in the uterus that exits your body during your period, this tissue has no way to escape. It’s trapped, leading to inflammation, scarring, and causing organs to stick together, which results in relentless pain.

 

Think about your ovaries. With endometriosis, cysts, known as endometriomas or “chocolate cysts,” can form on them. These cysts are filled with old, dark blood and can rupture, spilling their contents into the pelvis and causing excruciating pain and inflammation.

 

Endometrial tissue can also invade the fallopian tubes, leading to scarring and blockages. This can prevent eggs from traveling to the uterus, making it difficult to conceive and leading to infertility. It’s like your fallopian tubes become tangled, creating a physical barrier to conception.

 

Now, consider the pelvic lining and other organs like the bladder and bowels. The endometrial tissue spreads here too, and the body responds by creating scar tissue and adhesions—fibrous bands that cause organs to stick together and twist, leading to severe pain and functional problems. Imagine the daily agony and disruption this causes.

 

The presence of this tissue triggers a vicious cycle of inflammation. Your body tries to heal itself, but this leads to more scar tissue and adhesions. Over time, these adhesions cause organs to fuse, distorting their normal structure and function. It’s like your organs are glued together, causing constant pain and dysfunction.

 

If endometrial tissue is on your bladder or bowels, it can lead to painful urination, frequent urination, painful bowel movements, and even bowel obstruction in severe cases. Imagine the daily discomfort and disruption this causes in your life. Chronic inflammation and relentless pain also cause tension in the pelvic floor muscles, leading to pain during intercourse, urination, and bowel movements. This constant discomfort can significantly affect your quality of life.

 

Symptoms of endometriosis can include severe menstrual cramps, chronic pelvic pain, pain during or after sex, painful urination or bowel movements, heavy menstrual bleeding, fatigue, and infertility. Diagnosing endometriosis involves a combination of medical history, pelvic exams, and imaging tests like ultrasound or MRI. However, laparoscopy excision — a surgical procedure that allows specialised gynaecologists to see inside the pelvis and cut out the diseased endometrial tissue—is ultimately the best way to treat it.

 

While there’s no cure for endometriosis, various treatments can help manage symptoms. Pain relief can come from over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or stronger prescription medications. Hormonal therapies, such as birth control pills, hormonal IUDs, and other treatments, can reduce or stop menstruation, limiting the growth and bleeding of endometrial tissue. In some cases, laparoscopic excision surgery is necessary to remove endometrial tissue, adhesions, and cysts, providing significant pain relief and improving fertility, giving you the best outcome. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management can also help manage symptoms.

 

Endometriosis is a challenging condition that deeply affects a woman’s health and quality of life. One in nine, or 830,000 Australian women and girls suffer from this disease. Understanding how endometrial tissue behaves outside the uterus highlights the chronic pain and complications they face. If you suspect you have endometriosis, seek medical advice from a specialised gynaecologist you trust to find the best treatment plan for you.

 

#EndometriosisAwareness #GoldCoastWomensHealth #ChronicPain #EndoWarrior #HealthAdvocacy #GoldCoastEndometriosis

Dr Gary Swift blog - Period pain what's normal

Period pain – what’s normal?

24 June 2024

As a gynaecologist specialising in endometriosis and other pelvic conditions, I often encounter patients experiencing varying degrees of period pain. Understanding the causes, identifying what’s considered normal, and knowing when to seek medical advice is crucial for managing your health effectively.

Why Period Pain Occurs

Period pain, or dysmenorrhea, is a common issue that many women experience during their menstrual cycle. It typically manifests as cramps in the lower abdomen, but can also affect the lower back and thighs. The primary cause of period pain is the contraction of the uterus as it sheds its lining. These contractions are triggered by hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which are involved in pain and inflammation.

In some cases, period pain can be linked to underlying health conditions such as:

  1. Endometriosis: This condition occurs when the tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, leading to severe pain and other complications.
  2. Adenomyosis: This is when the uterine lining grows into the muscular wall of the uterus, causing intense cramps.
  3. Fibroids: Non-cancerous growths in the uterus that can cause heavy bleeding and pain.
  4. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): An infection of the reproductive organs that can cause pain during menstruation.

 

What is Considered Normal?

It’s important to recognise that some degree of discomfort is typical during menstruation. Normal period pain usually begins just before or at the start of menstruation and lasts for 48 to 72 hours. It is generally manageable with over-the-counter pain relief like ibuprofen or paracetamol, and does not significantly interfere with daily activities.

However, severe pain that prevents you from performing everyday tasks, lasts longer than a few days, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as heavy bleeding, irregular periods, or pain during intercourse, is not considered normal and warrants further investigation.

Managing Period Pain

For most women, period pain can be managed with simple home remedies and lifestyle changes:

  1. Heat Therapy: Applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to the lower abdomen can help relax the muscles and alleviate pain.
  2. Pain Relief Medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can reduce the production of prostaglandins and lessen pain.
  3. Regular Exercise: Physical activity can help improve blood flow and reduce pain.
  4. Dietary Adjustments: Reducing intake of caffeine, alcohol, and high-fat foods may help alleviate symptoms.
  5. Relaxation Techniques: Practices such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can help manage stress and reduce pain.

When to Seek Help

If your period pain is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it’s essential to seek medical advice. Conditions like endometriosis and adenomyosis can significantly impact your quality of life and require specialist care.

As a specialist in endometriosis and other pelvic conditions, I encourage you to book a consultation if you:

  • Experience severe pain that disrupts your daily life.
  • Notice changes in your menstrual cycle or flow.
  • Have pain that doesn’t improve with over-the-counter treatments.
  • Experience pain during intercourse or bowel movements.

Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms and improve your overall wellbeing. Seeking professional help can provide you with the necessary support and treatment options to manage your period pain effectively.

 

If you have concerns about your menstrual health, please feel free to reach out to my clinic to find a solution that brings you relief and enhances your quality of life.

___________________________________

 

Dr Gary Swift is a Gold Coast gynaecologist specialising in fertility, endometriosis and other pelvic conditions. With over thirty years of experience and a compassionate approach, Dr Swift is dedicated to helping patients manage their reproductive health and improve their quality of life.

 

#PeriodPain #GoldCoastWomensHealth #EndometriosisAwareness #MenstrualHealth #PelvicPain #PeriodPainSux

Endometriosis Formation

17 June 2024

Despite the prevalence of endometriosis, it remains a condition shrouded in mystery and often misdiagnosed. In my blog this week, we’ll delve into the science behind endometriosis, exploring how the cells involved form and function, the impact they have on the body, and what this means for women living with the condition.

 

The Cells Behind Endometriosis

Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus, known as the endometrium, starts to grow outside the uterus. These rogue cells can be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the outer surface of the uterus, and other organs within the pelvic cavity. In rare cases, they may even spread beyond the pelvic region.

 

Formation and Spread

The exact cause of endometriosis is not fully understood, but several theories exist:

 

Retrograde Menstruation: This is the most widely accepted theory. It suggests that during menstruation, some of the menstrual blood flows backward through the fallopian tubes into the pelvic cavity instead of leaving the body. This blood contains endometrial cells, which then stick to the pelvic walls and surfaces of pelvic organs, where they grow and continue to thicken and bleed over the course of each menstrual cycle.


Embryonic Cell Transformation: Hormones such as estrogen might transform embryonic cells into endometrial-like cell implants during puberty.

 

Surgical Scars: After surgeries like hysterectomy or C-section, endometrial cells might attach to the incision.

 

Immune System Disorders: Problems with the immune system might make the body unable to recognise and destroy endometrial-like tissue growing outside the uterus.

 

Genetics: Endometriosis tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic predisposition.

 

Impact on the Body

Once these endometrial-like cells attach themselves to organs outside the uterus, they behave just like the endometrial tissue found within the uterus. They thicken, break down, and bleed with each menstrual cycle. However, unlike the cells within the uterus, these displaced cells have no way to exit the body like they would during a period. This can cause several issues:

 

Inflammation and Pain: The trapped blood and tissue can cause irritation and inflammation of the surrounding tissue, leading to severe pain, especially during menstrual periods.

 

Scar Tissue and Adhesions: The ongoing inflammation can result in the formation of scar tissue and adhesions, where organs can stick to each other. This can lead to a range of complications, including chronic pain and gastrointestinal issues.

 

Ovarian Cysts: Endometriosis can also lead to the formation of cysts on the ovaries, known as endometriomas or “chocolate cysts,” which can rupture and cause severe pain and complications.

 

Fertility Issues: In severe cases, endometriosis can cause blockages in the fallopian tubes or damage the ovaries, leading to infertility. It is estimated that up to 30-50% of women with endometriosis may experience infertility.

 

Understanding the biology behind endometriosis helps in recognising its impact on the body and the importance of seeking appropriate medical care. With the right combination of medical treatment, lifestyle adjustments, and support, women with endometriosis can lead fulfilling lives. If you suspect you have endometriosis or are experiencing symptoms, please see your gynaecologist for a thorough evaluation and personalised treatment plan.  Consulting the right specialist can be lifechanging.Top of Form

 

If you’d like to make an appointment at my clinic you can call (07) 5564 6017 and my team will help you make arrangements.

 

#EndometriosisAwareness #GoldCoastWomensHealth #ChronicPain #FertilitySupport #EmpowerWomen

 

endometriosis excision blog

Why Excision Is My Preferred Treatment For Endometriosis

10 June 2024

Endometriosis is a chronic condition affecting approximately 1 in 9 Australian women by the age of 44, according to Endometriosis Australia. It involves the presence of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterus, leading to severe pain, infertility, and other debilitating symptoms. With various treatment options available, endometriosis excision surgery has emerged as the gold standard. Here, we’ll explore why excision is superior, what the procedure entails, and how it provides better outcomes for women suffering from this condition.

 

What is Endometriosis Excision Surgery?

Endometriosis excision surgery is a minimally invasive procedure performed laparoscopically. Unlike ablation, which only burns the surface of endometrial lesions, excision involves cutting out the diseased tissue from its roots. This method ensures the complete removal of endometrial implants, reducing the chances of recurrence and providing significant relief from symptoms.

 

Diagnosing and Treating in One Go

One of the significant advantages of excision surgery is its dual capability. During the procedure, a skilled surgeon can diagnose and treat endometriosis simultaneously. Here’s how it works:

 

  1. Visual Inspection – Through a laparoscope (a thin tube with a camera), the surgeon gets a magnified view of the pelvic organs. This allows for a detailed examination of the extent and location of endometrial lesions.

 

  1. Identifying Endometriosis – Endometriosis lesions can vary in appearance. They might be black, blue, white, or red. The surgeon looks for these characteristic signs and also assesses any adhesions or endometriomas (ovarian cysts filled with old blood). You need a surgeon who specialises in the disease to really seek out these lesions as they can hide behind tissue.

 

  1. Excision – Once identified, the lesions are carefully excised. This involves cutting out the abnormal tissue while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. This meticulous approach is crucial for alleviating pain and preventing recurrence.

 

Superior Outcomes with Excision Surgery

Research and clinical experience consistently show that excision surgery offers better outcomes compared to other methods like ablation or hormonal therapy. Here’s why:

 

Lower Recurrence Rates: Excision removes the entire lesion, reducing the likelihood of regrowth. According to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), excision has a lower recurrence rate compared to ablation.

 

Improved Pain Relief: By removing the root of the problem, excision provides more effective and long-lasting pain relief. Studies have shown that women who undergo excision surgery report significant improvements in pain and quality of life.

 

Enhanced Fertility: For women with infertility issues related to endometriosis, excision surgery can improve reproductive outcomes. Removing lesions restores the normal anatomy and function of the reproductive organs, increasing the chances of conception.

 

Comprehensive Treatment: Excision addresses not just the visible lesions but also deeper infiltrative endometriosis, which might be missed by other techniques.

 

What to Expect During and After Surgery

During Surgery**: The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia. Small incisions are made in the abdomen to insert the laparoscope and surgical instruments. The surgery typically lasts between 1 to 3 hours, depending on the extent of the disease.

 

After Surgery: Recovery varies from person to person, but most women can go home the next day. Full recovery may take a few weeks, during which patients might experience mild pain or discomfort. Postoperative care includes pain management, follow-up appointments, and possibly physical therapy.

 

Statistical Insights

According to data from Endometriosis Australia, about 730,000 Australian women are living with endometriosis. Excision surgery has proven to be a game-changer for many, with studies indicating a significant reduction in pain and improvement in quality of life post-surgery. The success rates, combined with the lower recurrence rates, make excision the preferred choice for both patients and healthcare providers.

 

Endometriosis excision surgery offers a comprehensive and effective solution for women struggling with this challenging condition. By diagnosing and treating the disease simultaneously, excision provides immediate relief and long-term benefits.

 

#Endometriosis #EndometriosisExcision #WomensHealth #ChronicPainRelief #BetterOutcomes #FertilityTreatment #RANZCOG #EndoAustralia #Laparoscopy #MinimallyInvasiveSurgery #PainFreeLife #GYNHealth #ReproductiveHealth #EndoWarrior

Endo Pain, Experiences and Effective Management

3 June 2024

Endometriosis is a condition that affects millions of women worldwide, yet each woman’s experience with it can be vastly different. This variability extends not only to the physical pain but also to the emotional toll and impact on daily life. Understanding these differences is crucial for managing the condition effectively and improving the quality of life for those affected.

 

The Nature of Endometriosis Pain

Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterine cavity, often leading to chronic pain. This pain can manifest in various forms:

 

Pelvic Pain: The most common symptom, often described as a severe, cramping sensation, similar to menstrual cramps but more intense.

 

Painful Periods: Many women experience heightened pain during their menstrual cycle, which can be debilitating.

 

Pain During Intercourse: Dyspareunia, or painful intercourse, is another frequent symptom, making intimacy challenging.

 

Pain with Bowel Movements or Urination: Depending on where the endometrial tissue is located, these everyday activities can become painful.

 

Different Stages, Different Experiences

Endometriosis is classified into four stages (I – minimal, II – mild, III – moderate, IV – severe) based on the extent of the endometrial tissue and the severity of adhesions and cysts. However, the stage of endometriosis does not always correlate with the level of pain. Some women with minimal endometriosis may experience severe pain, while others with advanced stages might have mild symptoms. This discrepancy is one of the reasons why endometriosis can be challenging to diagnose and manage.

 

Emotional Impact

The chronic pain and unpredictability of endometriosis can take a significant emotional toll. Many women report feelings of frustration, anxiety, and depression. The condition can affect relationships, self-esteem, and overall mental health. It’s not uncommon for women to feel isolated or misunderstood, especially if their pain is dismissed or underestimated by others.

 

Impact on Daily Activities

Living with endometriosis often means navigating a range of daily challenges:

Work and Education: Chronic pain can lead to frequent absences from work or school, affecting performance and opportunities.

 

Social Life: Pain and fatigue can make it difficult to engage in social activities, leading to feelings of isolation.

 

Physical Activity: Exercise can become painful or impossible, impacting overall health and well-being.

 

Why the Variability?

The reasons for the variability in endometriosis experiences are not entirely understood, but several factors may play a role:

 

Genetics: Family history can influence the severity and progression of endometriosis.

 

Immune System Response: Differences in immune system function may affect how the body responds to endometrial tissue outside the uterus.

 

Hormonal Factors: Hormonal imbalances can exacerbate symptoms and affect pain levels.

 

Nerve Involvement: Endometriosis lesions can involve nerves, leading to different pain sensations and intensities.

 

The Importance of a Proper Diagnosis

The best way to manage endometriosis is to get a proper diagnosis from a gynaecologist. A thorough evaluation often involves:

 

Medical History and Symptom Discussion: Detailed conversations about symptoms and their impact on daily life.

 

Pelvic Exam: A physical examination to check for abnormalities.

 

Imaging Tests: Ultrasound or MRI to identify cysts or endometriosis lesions.

 

Laparoscopy: A minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows for a definitive diagnosis and can also be used to remove endometrial tissue.

 

Once diagnosed, a gynaecologist can develop a personalised treatment plan, which may include:

 

Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, or nerve blocks.

 

Hormonal Therapies: Birth control pills, GnRH agonists, or other hormonal treatments to reduce or eliminate menstrual flow and alleviate symptoms.

 

Surgical Options: Laparoscopic surgery to remove as much endometrial tissue as possible.

 

Lifestyle Modifications: Dietary changes, physical therapy, and stress management techniques.

 

Endometriosis is a complex and multifaceted condition with a wide range of experiences and impacts. Understanding the diverse ways it affects women can foster empathy and improve support systems. A proper diagnosis from a gynaecologist is essential for developing an effective, individualised treatment plan. If you suspect you have endometriosis or are struggling with its symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. With the right care, managing endometriosis and improving quality of life is possible.

 

#Endometriosis ##EndoPain #GoldCoastEndometriosis #ManagingPelvicPain #GirlTalk #EndoSux #GoldCoastGynaecologist

Dr Gary Swift blog - Ovarian Reserve, Fertility and Egg Freezing

Ovarian Reserve, Fertility and Egg Freezing

27 May 2024

Women often hear their biological clock is ticking. But what exactly does that mean? Understanding your ovarian reserve—the number of eggs you have and their quality—is crucial, especially if you’re considering starting a family later in life. In this blog we’ll talk about this fascinating aspect of fertility and explore how you can take control of your reproductive health journey.

 

How Many Eggs Are You Born With?

Believe it or not, the number of eggs you have is determined before you’re even born. At around 20 weeks into gestation, you have about 6 to 7 million eggs! But don’t be alarmed; this number decreases significantly by the time you’re born, settling at around 1 to 2 million. By the time you hit puberty, this number drops to about 300,000 to 500,000.

 

The Decline

As women age, their ovarian reserve naturally declines. This decline accelerates as they approach their mid to late 30s and continues into their 40s. Not only does the quantity of eggs decrease, but their quality also diminishes, making conception more challenging and increasing the risk of genetic abnormalities.

 

How to Find Out Your Ovarian Reserve

If you’re curious about your ovarian reserve, there are several tests available that can provide valuable insights. The most common test is the anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) test, which measures the level of AMH in your blood—a hormone produced by cells in developing egg sacs (follicles). Another test is an antral follicle count (AFC) done via ultrasound, which counts the number of small follicles in your ovaries. These tests can give you an estimate of your remaining egg supply.

 

Preserving Your Fertility with Egg Freezing

For women who wish to delay starting a family for personal or professional reasons, egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, offers a viable option. This process involves stimulating your ovaries to produce multiple eggs, which are then retrieved, frozen, and stored for future use. When you’re ready to conceive, the eggs are thawed, fertilised with sperm, and implanted into your uterus.

 

Egg freezing not only provides peace of mind for those concerned about declining fertility but also empowers women to take control of their reproductive futures. It’s important to note that the success of egg freezing depends on various factors, including age, the number and quality of eggs retrieved, and the expertise of the fertility clinic.

 

Your ovarian reserve is a vital aspect of your reproductive health, and understanding it empowers you to make informed decisions about your future. Whether you’re considering starting a family now or in the future, knowing your options and taking proactive steps to preserve your fertility can alleviate concerns and provide hope for the future.

 

For more fertility information, visit www.drgaryswift.com.au/overview-2/For more information on egg freezing, visit www.qfg.com.au/tests-treatments/fertility-preservation/egg-freezing-costs-and-process

 

#eggfreezing #preservingfertility #eggreserves #tryingtoconceive #bossbabe #careergiri #fertilityclinic #ovarianreserve

Factors Affecting Sperm Quality and How to Improve It

20 May 2024

In the realm of fertility, much emphasis is often placed on women’s health and reproductive capabilities. However, male fertility plays an equally significant role in conception. Understanding male fertility, including sperm quality, motility, and related factors, is crucial for couples trying to conceive. In this week’s blog, I’ll talk to the intricacies of male fertility issues, discuss methods to enhance fertility health, and explore the tests involved in assessing male reproductive function.

 

Male Fertility: A Complex Equation

When it comes to fertility, men face their own set of challenges. Sperm quality and quantity, as well as their motility (ability to swim), are pivotal factors in male fertility. Several factors can affect these parameters:

 

  1. Lifestyle Factors – Habits such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, and sedentary lifestyle can all impact sperm health negatively. Also, exposure to environmental toxins and certain medications may also affect fertility.

 

  1. Age – While men can father children later in life compared to women, advanced paternal age can still influence sperm quality, potentially leading to decreased fertility and an increased risk of genetic abnormalities in offspring.

 

  1. Medical Conditions – Certain medical conditions, such as varicocele (enlarged veins in the scrotum), hormonal imbalances, infections, and chronic diseases like diabetes, can affect sperm production and quality.

 

  1. Genetic Factors – Genetic abnormalities, such as chromosomal disorders or mutations, can impact sperm production and function.

 

Maximizing Male Fertility Health

Despite these challenges, there are several proactive steps men can take to optimise their fertility health:

 

  1. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle – Adopting a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals can support sperm health. Regular exercise and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are also beneficial.

 

  1. Manage Stress – Chronic stress can impact hormonal balance and sperm production. Engaging in stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, or hobbies can be beneficial.

 

  1. Avoid Overheating – Prolonged exposure to high temperatures, such as in saunas or hot tubs, can negatively affect sperm production. Opt for cooler environments whenever possible.

 

  1. Practice Safe Sex – Limit exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by practicing safe sex. Some STIs can lead to infertility if left untreated.

 

  1. Seek Medical Advice – If you’re experiencing fertility concerns, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a fertility specialist. We can assess your individual situation and recommend appropriate interventions.

 

Tests for Assessing Male Fertility

To evaluate male fertility, specialist may conduct the following tests:

 

  1. Semen Analysis – This test assesses sperm count, motility, morphology (shape), and other parameters. It provides valuable insights into overall sperm health and reproductive function.

 

  1. Hormone Testing – Blood tests can evaluate hormone levels, including testosterone and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which play vital roles in sperm production.

 

  1. Genetic Testing – In cases of suspected genetic abnormalities or family history of hereditary conditions, genetic testing may be recommended to assess the risk of passing on genetic disorders to offspring.

 

  1. Physical Examination – A thorough physical examination, including examination of the genitals and assessment for conditions like varicocele, may be performed to identify any anatomical issues affecting fertility.

 

 

Male fertility is a multifaceted aspect of reproductive health, influenced by various factors ranging from lifestyle choices to genetic predispositions. By understanding these factors and taking proactive steps to optimise fertility health, men can enhance their chances of conceiving naturally. Regular consultations with fertility experts can provide personalised guidance and support on the journey to parenthood. Fertility is a shared responsibility, and addressing male fertility issues is an essential aspect of achieving the dream of parenthood.

 

If you have any concerns about your fertility or would like to explore your fertility health further, don’t hesitate to reach out to our clinic. We’re here to provide compassionate care and support every step of the way.

 

#MaleFertility #SpermHealth #SpermQuality #GoldCoastFertility

Dr Gary Swift blog - The Miracle of Conception

The Miracle of Conception

13 May 2024

As a fertility specialist, I often witness the profound awe that accompanies the journey of conception and childbirth. The process of bringing new life into the world is a wondrous symphony of biology, timing, and sheer serendipity, where numerous elements must align perfectly to achieve pregnancy.

 

The Complex Dance of Conception

Conception is a delicate balance of factors—each as crucial as the next. It starts with the healthy production of sperm and eggs, followed by the timely release of an egg during ovulation. The sperm must then traverse the complex environment of the female reproductive system to meet and fertilise the egg. This fertilised egg, or zygote, then travels down the fallopian tube, dividing and growing into a cluster of cells. The final stage of this miraculous journey is the implantation of the zygote into the uterus, where it develops into a fetus and, eventually, a baby.

 

Each of these steps is a marvel of nature, finely tuned by millions of years of evolution, yet fragile in its execution. A slight misalignment in this intricate process can disrupt conception, leading to challenges for couples eager to start or grow their families.

 

Embracing Options: The Role of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

For many couples facing hurdles in natural conception, the advancements in medical science offer hope. Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) encompasses several techniques designed to bypass some of the common barriers to conception, providing couples with renewed hope and potential pathways to parenthood.

 

  1. In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
    Perhaps the most well-known form of ART, IVF involves extracting eggs and retrieving sperm, which are then combined in a lab to create embryos. These embryos are monitored for growth and viability before being transferred to the uterus.

 

  1. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
    In this procedure, sperm are placed directly into the uterus around the time of ovulation, facilitating easier fertilisation by reducing the distance sperm must travel to meet the egg.

 

  1. Egg and Sperm Donation
    For those who might not be able to use their own eggs or sperm, donors can provide an invaluable gift, offering a path to parenthood that was otherwise blocked.

 

  1. Surrogacy
    Another profound option for couples who might not be able to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term, where a surrogate carries the pregnancy, offering a chance at parenthood to those who might not otherwise have one.

 

These technologies are the frontier of fertility, turning what might have once been a closed door into a gateway filled with the potential for life.

 

The Wonder of Science in the Service of Creation

Each day, I am moved by the incredible leaps in medical science that allow me to help couples achieve their dreams of parenthood. It’s a privilege to work in a field that combines cutting-edge technology with the deep human desire to create families. Witnessing the joy of parents who hold their newborn for the first time after believing they might never have the chance, underscores the transformative power of reproductive technology.

 

How I Can Help

If you are exploring the path to parenthood and find yourself faced with challenges, I am here to help. My approach combines a deep understanding of the complexities of fertility with a compassionate awareness of the emotional journey you are on. Together, we can explore all available options, using the latest advancements in medical science to support your journey towards bringing new life into your world.

 

While the path to parenthood can sometimes be complex, you are not alone. With the right support and the marvels of modern medicine, we can work towards making your dream a reality.

 

#FertilityJourney #MiracleOfLife #ParenthoodDreams #GoldCoastFertilityClinic #FamilyFirst #CoupleGoals #FertilitySupport

The Impact of Smoking and Vaping on Male Fertility

6 May 2024

In the realm of fertility, the health of both partners plays a crucial role in the journey towards conception. While the adverse effects of smoking and vaping on overall health are well-documented, their implications on male fertility are often overlooked. Today we’re going to unveil the facts and look into the intricate relationship between smoking, vaping, and male fertility, exploring both global insights and pertinent Australian statistics.

 

Understanding the Link

Smoking and vaping introduce a plethora of harmful chemicals into the body, including nicotine, tar, and various toxins. These substances wreak havoc on the delicate balance of hormones and physiological processes essential for optimal reproductive function in males.

 

Sperm Quality and Quantity

Research indicates a direct correlation between smoking/vaping and decreased sperm count, motility, and morphology. Nicotine, for instance, can constrict blood vessels, leading to reduced blood flow to the testicles and hampering sperm production. Additionally, toxins present in cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapor can damage sperm DNA, compromising its integrity and viability.

 

Impact on Erectile Function

Beyond sperm health, smoking and vaping also affect erectile function, a vital aspect of male fertility. Nicotine-induced constriction of blood vessels impairs penile blood flow, contributing to erectile dysfunction (ED) and diminishing the ability to achieve and sustain erections necessary for successful intercourse.

 

Australian Insights

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), smoking remains a prevalent issue among Australian males, with approximately 2.9 million adult men reported as current smokers in 2019. Moreover, a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia revealed that smoking adversely affects semen quality, highlighting a 17% reduction in sperm concentration among smokers compared to non-smokers.

 

Vaping Trends

While traditional smoking rates have declined in Australia, the emergence of vaping presents a new challenge. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported a rise in vaping among young adults, with 6.8% of Australians aged 18–24 and 4.5% of those aged 25–44 reporting recent use in 2019-2020. This trend shows the importance of addressing the impact of vaping on male fertility.

 

Seeking Solutions

Fortunately, quitting smoking and vaping can lead to significant improvements in male fertility. Studies have shown that cessation of smoking results in enhanced sperm parameters and may reverse some of the damage caused by tobacco toxins. Support programs, counselling, and pharmacological interventions are available to assist individuals in their journey towards a smoke-free life, thereby enhancing their chances of conception.

 

The detrimental effects of smoking and vaping on male fertility cannot be overstated. From compromised sperm quality to erectile dysfunction, these habits pose significant obstacles to achieving pregnancy. By raising awareness, providing support, and promoting smoking cessation initiatives, we can empower individuals to safeguard their reproductive health and embark on the path to parenthood with confidence.

 

Your fertility journey begins with choices – choose health, choose life.

 

References

– Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)
– Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
– Medical Journal of Australia
– National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

 

#MaleFertility #SpermCount #SpermQuality #CoupleGoals #TryingToConceive #GoldCoastFertilityClinic

Dr Gary Swift blog - Embracing Your Future Fertility

 

Embracing Your Future Fertility?

29 April 2024

In a world where life’s possibilities are as vast as they are varied, the journey to motherhood is no exception. At our clinic, we recognise that every woman’s path is unique, and we are dedicated to supporting your dreams of building a family when the time is right for you. Today, let’s explore the empowering choice of egg freezing, a decision that many women consider as a way to extend their fertility and keep their future options open.

Why Consider Egg Freezing?
The reasons for considering egg freezing are as diverse as the women who choose this path. For many, it’s about not feeling quite ready to start a family, whether due to career commitments, the absence of a partner, or other personal reasons. Others are motivated by health conditions that might affect fertility down the line, such as endometriosis or family histories of early menopause. Whatever the reason may be, egg freezing offers a form of insurance against the biological clock, providing peace of mind that you’re preserving your ability to conceive in the future.

The Egg Freezing Process
The process of egg freezing is both a scientific endeavour and a deeply personal journey. It starts with a thorough consultation where we discuss your health history, motivations, and any concerns you may have. This conversation is crucial—it’s where we ensure that you feel heard, supported, and confident in your decision.

Following the initial consultation, the actual process begins with hormone treatments to stimulate your ovaries, encouraging them to produce multiple eggs. This phase is monitored closely by our compassionate team, ensuring your comfort and health every step of the way.

The next step is the retrieval of eggs, a procedure performed under anaesthesia to ensure you’re comfortable and pain-free. The retrieved eggs are then frozen using a technique called vitrification, which rapidly cools the eggs to prevent ice crystal formation and improves their chances of viability when you’re ready to use them.

Our Caring Environment
At our clinic, we understand that the decision to freeze your eggs can be accompanied by a mixture of hope, anxiety, and curiosity, so we strive to provide a caring environment. Our team is here to offer not just medical expertise but emotional support, guiding you through each step with the understanding that this journey is a significant part of your life story.

Embarking on Your Journey with Us
Choosing to freeze your eggs is an act of self-care and future planning. It’s about making an informed choice to give yourself more control over your reproductive timeline.

Wherever you are in your journey to motherhood, our doors are open, and our hearts are too. We are here to support your dreams of having a family, providing a blend of top-notch medical care and heartfelt understanding. Let us be a part of your journey, today and every day that follows, as you take this brave step toward securing your future. At our clinic, your dreams are nurtured until the day they bloom into reality.


#FutureFamilyPlanning #EggFreezingJourney #EmpowerYourFertility #PreserveYourOptions #DreamingOfMotherhood #GoldCoastEggFreezing

The Problem with Pelvic Pain

22 April 2024

Pelvic pain affects numerous individuals across various stages of life, presenting as a complex and often distressing symptom. Given its diverse origins, understanding pelvic pain requires a nuanced approach. This blog aims to demystify pelvic pain, emphasising the importance of professional consultation and outlining potential diagnostic procedures to determine the exact cause.

The Complexity of Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain is not a condition in itself but a symptom that can be indicative of several underlying health issues. It may be acute, manifesting suddenly and intensely, or chronic, where the discomfort lingers for months, subtly disrupting daily activities. Commonly associated conditions range from menstrual cramps and endometriosis to more severe ailments like ovarian cysts or gastrointestinal disorders. The varied nature of pelvic pain means that each individual’s experience and underlying cause can differ significantly.

 

Why Consult a Gynaecologist?

Seeking advice from an experienced gynaecologist is crucial. We possess a deep understanding of the female reproductive system and are adept at identifying the subtleties of symptoms that might be overlooked elsewhere. Consulting a gynaecologist ensures that you receive a focused evaluation tailored to your personal health history and symptoms.

 

Diagnostic Tests for Pelvic Pain

Identifying the exact cause of pelvic pain often involves several steps. Here’s what you might expect when you visit your gynaecologist:

 

Detailed Medical History: This initial discussion helps to pinpoint the type, duration, and triggers of your pain, which are vital clues.

 

Physical Examination: A thorough examination can help rule out or identify physical causes of pain.

 

Ultrasound: This non-invasive test uses sound waves to create images of the pelvic organs and is pivotal in diagnosing conditions like fibroids or ovarian cysts.

 

Laparoscopy: For diagnostic clarity, a gynaecologist might recommend a laparoscopy, a minor surgical procedure involving a small incision and a camera to look inside the abdomen and pelvis.

 

Additional Tests: Depending on your symptoms, further assessments like MRI scans, blood tests, or urine tests might be required to explore other potential causes like urinary tract infections or gastrointestinal issues.

 

The Importance of Personalised Care

Every individual’s body is different, making personalised medical care essential. A skilled gynaecologist will not only consider the physical aspects of pelvic pain but also the psychological and social elements that could influence your well-being. Our approach is holistic, striving not just to treat the symptom but to enhance your overall quality of life.

 

While pelvic pain can be daunting due to its potential complexity, early intervention and expert care can lead to effective management and diagnosis of the underlying causes. Enduring pain in silence is unnecessary and unadvisable. Seeking help is a proactive step towards recovery and regaining control over your health.

 

So, if you’re experiencing pelvic pain, don’t wait for it to worsen. Contact my clinic today to schedule a consultation. I can help you take the first step towards understanding and managing your symptoms effectively.

 

Dr Gary Swift

MBBS (QLD) FRANZCOG, Masters Reproductive Medicine (UNSW)

Benowa, Queensland

(07) 5564 6017

 

#PelvicPainAwareness #GoldCoastGynaecology #WomensHealthGC #ChronicPelvicPainSupportGC #EndometriosisGoldCoast #FibroidTreatment

woman holding stomach with pelvic pain
Dr Gary Swift blog - Is Excision Surgery Really the Gold Standard

Is Excision Surgery Really the Gold Standard?

15 April 2024

There is substantial evidence and consensus within the medical community that excision surgery is considered the gold standard for the treatment of endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus, called endometrium, grows outside the uterus, causing pain and potentially leading to infertility among other symptoms.

Excision surgery involves the careful, meticulous removal of endometriosis lesions by cutting them out from the surrounding tissues. The effectiveness of this approach lies in its thoroughness; by excising the lesions entirely, rather than just superficially treating them, there’s a lower likelihood of recurrence and, for many patients, a significant reduction in pain and improvement in quality of life.

Key Points Supporting Excision Surgery as the Gold Standard

Effectiveness in Symptom Relief

Numerous studies have shown that patients undergoing excision surgery report significant improvements in pain relief and quality of life compared to those undergoing other treatments, like hormonal therapy or ablation surgery (where the endometriosis tissue is burned off rather than cut out).

Lower Recurrence Rates
Excision surgery has been associated with lower rates of endometriosis recurrence. While recurrence can still happen, excising the tissue entirely reduces the chances compared to methods that only treat the surface of the lesions.

Improved Fertility Outcomes
For women facing infertility issues related to endometriosis, excision surgery has been shown to improve fertility in some cases. By removing the lesions and scar tissue, the anatomy can often be restored to its normal state, improving the chances of natural conception or the success rates of fertility treatments.

Diagnostic Accuracy
Excision allows for the removed tissue to be sent to pathology for examination, confirming the diagnosis of endometriosis and ruling out or identifying any other potential issues.

However, it’s important to acknowledge that excision surgery is not without its risks and may not be suitable for everyone. The procedure’s success often depends on the extent of the disease and the skill of the surgeon, particularly for deep infiltrating endometriosis, which requires a high level of expertise to treat effectively.

Choosing the best treatment for endometriosis depends on various factors, including the severity of the symptoms, the individual’s desire for fertility, and the presence of other health conditions. It’s essential for patients to discuss all available treatment options with a gynaecologist who specialises in endometriosis to make an informed decision that aligns with their health goals and lifestyle.

For anyone considering their options, it’s encouraging to remember that advancements in medical research continue to improve the understanding and treatment of endometriosis, offering hope and help to those affected by this condition.

 

#GoldStandard #ExcisionSurgeryForEndo #EndometriosisExcision #FertilitIssues #GoldCoastWomensHealth #ChoosingAEndometriosisDoctor #GoldCoastGynaecologists

 

Navigating the journey to parenthood

8 April 2024

Embarking on the journey to expand your family is an experience filled with hope, dreams, and anticipation. However, for many couples, this path can unfold differently than expected, presenting challenges that are as emotional as they are physical. The realisation that conceiving may not be straightforward can evoke a myriad of emotions, from confusion and frustration to profound sadness. In these moments, it’s important to remember that you are not alone, and there is a compassionate and supportive pathway forward.

Understanding the Emotional Landscape
Fertility challenges can impact every aspect of a couple’s life, creating emotional waves that touch the shores of their relationship, self-esteem, and outlook on the future. It’s normal to feel a complex mix of emotions during this time. You might experience periods of hopefulness followed by disappointment, a sense of isolation even when surrounded by loved ones, or a nagging pressure from societal expectations.

It’s crucial to give yourself permission to feel these emotions and to communicate openly with your partner. Remember, your feelings are valid, and acknowledging them is a healthy step toward coping. Seeking support from friends, family, or a professional can also provide comfort and a sense of community. This journey, though challenging, can also be a time of growth and deepening relationships.

 

Stepping Forward with a Fertility Specialist

Deciding to see a fertility specialist is a significant and positive step on your journey. It’s a move filled with courage and an affirmation of your hope and dreams. Fertility specialists are not just medical professionals; they are compassionate guides who understand the emotional nuances of your journey and are dedicated to supporting you through it.

For my patients I begin with a comprehensive evaluation to understand your unique situation. This includes a detailed medical history, physical examinations, and various tests for both partners. These might involve blood tests to check hormone levels, ultrasounds to examine reproductive organs, and semen analysis among others. The aim is to uncover any underlying issues that could be affecting your ability to conceive.

 

Personalised Care for Your Unique Journey

Based on the findings, I craft a tailored treatment plan that aligns with your specific needs and desires. Treatment options can range from medication to assist with ovulation, lifestyle changes to enhance fertility, to more advanced techniques like in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI). The focus is always on what’s best for you as an individual and as a couple.

It’s important to remember that every couple’s journey is unique, and success comes in many forms. Fertility treatments have come a long way, offering hope and solutions that were not possible in the past. Your specialist will be there to walk with you every step of the way, providing not just medical expertise but also emotional support.

 

Nurturing Hope and Building Your Future

While the road to parenthood can sometimes be winding and unexpected, it’s a journey filled with potential for growth, love, and ultimately, joy. Allow yourself to hope, to dream, and to take each step forward with the knowledge that you are moving towards your future, supported by a team that cares deeply about your wellbeing.

If you and your partner are facing fertility challenges, remember, it’s okay to ask for help. Reaching out to a fertility specialist is a step filled with hope. It’s a decision to actively pursue your dreams of building a family, armed with the best of medical science and a team that’s with you every step of the way.

 

#fertilityjourney #goldcoastfertilityclinic #tryingtoconceive #emotionsoffertility #couplegoals #plannedparenthood #assistedreproductivetechnology #ivfjourney

couple looking out of window
young woman sitting on bed holding her stomach in pain

Endometriosis is No Laughing Matter

1 April 2024

It might be April Fool’s Day, but endometriosis is no laughing matter. While we usually reserve this day for light-hearted pranks and chuckles, it’s also an opportunity to shed light on a condition that affects 1 in 10 women worldwide: endometriosis. This chronic and often debilitating condition is anything but a joke, bringing with it a slew of challenges that many women navigate on a daily basis. Today, let’s replace pranks with awareness and understanding, diving into what endometriosis is and what women experience.

 

What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a medical condition where tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus, known as the endometrium, starts growing outside the uterine cavity. These growths can appear on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the outer surface of the uterus, and other organs within the pelvis. Unlike the cells inside the uterus that are shed during menstruation, these cells have no way to exit the body. The result? A range of symptoms that can affect women’s physical health, fertility, and overall quality of life.

 

The Silent Struggle
The experiences of women with endometriosis are as diverse as they are themselves, but there’s a common thread of resilience that ties their stories together. Pain, often severe and debilitating, is one of the hallmark symptoms of endometriosis. This isn’t just the typical discomfort some might feel during their period; it’s pain that can interfere with daily activities, work, and relationships.

But it’s not just the physical symptoms. The emotional toll of dealing with a chronic condition can be just as challenging. Many women with endometriosis find themselves on an emotional rollercoaster, grappling with feelings of frustration, isolation, and even depression as they seek diagnosis and manage their symptoms.

 

The Journey to Diagnosis
One of the cruel ironies of endometriosis is that despite its prevalence, it’s notoriously difficult to diagnose. On average, it can take up to 7 years for a woman to get an accurate diagnosis. Why the delay? Symptoms can vary widely and often mimic other conditions, leading to misdiagnosis and misunderstanding.

 

Fostering Hope and Healing
Despite the challenges, there’s a growing awareness and understanding of endometriosis, leading to better treatments and support for those affected. Advances in medical research are continually improving the options for pain management, hormone therapy, and surgery. Moreover, a surge in community support, advocacy, and education is empowering women to advocate for their health and connect with others who understand their journey.

 

A Call to Awareness
Endometriosis is no joke, but with increased awareness and support, we can help those affected by it find reasons to smile. If you or a loved one have symptoms that could be endometriosis, go get yourself a good gynaecologist who works daily with this disease.  They will be your best chance of quick diagnosis, treatment and best possible outcome.

 

#endometriosisisnolaughingmatter #endometriosisawareness #goldcoastendometriosis #endometriosismatters #endopain #endometriosisdiagnosis #treatmentforendo

Navigating menopause with grace

25 March 2024

Your body undergoes numerous changes throughout your life, with menopause marking a significant transition. This period can bring a myriad of symptoms, ranging from hot flushes to mood swings, which can affect your quality of life. Thankfully many women can find relief with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Let’s explore how HRT can help alleviate your symptoms, ensuring you navigate menopause with grace and comfort.

Understanding Menopause
Menopause is a natural biological process, typically occurring in women in their late 40s to early 50s. It’s defined as the time when menstrual cycles cease for 12 consecutive months. Symptoms vary widely; some women experience mild effects, while others face more severe discomforts. Common symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, mood changes, sleep disturbances, and a decrease in bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis.

The Role of HRT in Easing Menopause Symptoms
HRT works by replenishing the body with estrogen and, in some cases, progesterone, which naturally decrease during menopause. This therapy can significantly reduce many of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with this transition. Here’s how HRT can be a game-changer:

Hot Flushes and Night Sweats: HRT is highly effective in reducing the frequency and severity of hot flushes and night sweats, helping you stay comfortable and sleep better.

Mood Swings and Sleep Issues: By stabilising hormone levels, HRT can improve mood, reduce irritability, and promote better sleep patterns.

Bone Health: Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining bone density. HRT can help prevent the rapid bone loss that occurs after menopause, protecting against osteoporosis.

Vaginal Health: Menopause can lead to vaginal dryness and discomfort. HRT helps maintain vaginal health, alleviating discomfort and improving quality of life.

What to Expect
Starting HRT can feel like a relief, but it’s important to have an open, honest conversation with your GP or gynaecologist about your symptoms, health history, and any concerns. They can guide you on the right type and dosage of HRT, tailored to your needs.

HRT isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The benefits and risks can vary based on individual health profiles and the timing of therapy initiation. For many women, the benefits of symptom relief and improved quality of life significantly outweigh the risks.

Embracing the Journey
Menopause is a natural phase, signalling a new chapter in a woman’s life. With the right support and treatments like HRT, it’s possible to navigate this transition smoothly and with grace.  Just make sure you seek support, and discuss your options with your healthcare provider. With the right approach, you can manage menopause symptoms and continue to live a vibrant, fulfilling life.

My aim with this blog is to provide comfort and reassurance, emphasising the positive impact HRT can have on menopause symptom relief. Through understanding and empathy, my team and I help women feel more empowered and informed about their health choices.

#Menopause #ReliefFromMenopauseSymptoms #HRT #HowHRTHelps #HotFlushes #MoodSwings #WomenOver50 #MenopauseGoldCoast

two women drinking coffee, smiling, sitting on couch
woman with period pain sitting on bed, doubled over.

Heavy, Painful Periods: A Sign to Seek Help

18 March 2024

Experiencing heavy, painful periods can feel like an unspoken rite of passage for many women. Society often brushes off these symptoms as just another aspect of being a woman, but the reality is far from this dismissive attitude. If your periods are consistently heavy, painful, and impacting your daily life, it’s not something you should simply endure. This could be a sign of underlying health issues that need professional attention. Understanding why these symptoms are not normal and recognising the importance of seeing a gynaecologist can pave the way for better health and wellbeing.

 

It’s More Than Just Discomfort

For many, the monthly cycle brings about discomfort that’s easily managed. However, when the pain becomes debilitating and the flow excessively heavy, it can signal conditions that require medical intervention. Conditions like endometriosis, fibroids, adenomyosis, or hormonal imbalances are not uncommon and can severely impact your quality of life. These are not mere inconveniences; they are medical issues that can affect your fertility, mental health, and overall physical wellbeing.

 

Why Early Diagnosis Matters

Identifying the cause of your heavy, painful periods early can significantly improve your prognosis and open up a range of treatment options. Early intervention can help prevent complications, including the preservation of fertility and the prevention of more severe conditions like anaemia, which can result from significant blood loss.

 

Potential Causes

Endometriosis: A condition where tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus grows outside of it, causing severe pain and heavy periods.

 

Uterine Fibroids: Noncancerous growths in the uterus that can lead to heavier than normal menstruation.

 

Adenomyosis: When the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus, making periods particularly painful and heavy.

 

Hormonal Imbalances: Issues with hormonal balance can cause irregular, heavy bleeding and menstrual pain.

 

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): A hormonal disorder that can cause prolonged or heavy menstrual periods.

 

Gynaecological Cancers: Although less common, heavy and painful periods can be a symptom of gynaecological cancers.

 

Treatment and Management

The treatment for heavy, painful periods depends largely on the underlying cause. Medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve pain, while hormonal therapies such as birth control pills can help regulate periods. In more severe cases, surgical options may be considered. However, the first step towards treatment is always a thorough examination and diagnosis by your gynaecologist.

 

Taking Action

If you’re experiencing heavy, painful periods, it’s crucial to listen to your body. Such symptoms are your body’s way of signalling that something isn’t right. Consulting with a gynaecologist can provide you with the insights and treatment options you need. Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a step towards taking control of your health and wellbeing.

 

Heavy, painful periods are not a burden you should have to carry in silence. They could be indicative of underlying health issues that, when addressed early, can be managed effectively. I encourage you to normalise seeking help for menstrual issues and advocating for your health. Your wellbeing is worth it, and early diagnosis can indeed give you the best outcome for a healthier, more comfortable life.

 

#periodpain  #periodpainsux #heavyperiods #girltalk #femaleproblems #endometriosissymptoms #goldcoastgynaecologist #painpaingoaway #womenshealth #whatcausesperiodpain

Planning for the Future: Fertility Preservation Options

11 March 2024

In the journey of life, the conversation around starting a family is a deeply personal one, filled with dreams, aspirations, and sometimes, uncertainties. Whether you’re currently focused on your career, education, travel, or simply not ready to start a family just yet, it’s important to acknowledge and consider your future options. Today, I want to guide you through understanding your fertility preservation options in a warm, compassionate, and professional manner.

 

Why Think About Family Planning Now?

The truth is, fertility can be a bit of a ticking clock, not just because of societal pressure or family expectations, but due to biological realities. However, with advancements in medical science, there are now more options than ever to support you in planning for the family you might want in the future. It’s about giving yourself the freedom to choose, on your terms, without feeling rushed by the biological clock.

 

So What Are Your Options?

Fertility preservation is something to consider for many women who, for various reasons, choose to delay motherhood. Here are some options available:

 

Egg Freezing (Oocyte Cryopreservation)

This procedure involves stimulating the ovaries with hormones to produce multiple eggs, which are then retrieved and frozen for future use. It’s an empowering option for those who wish to preserve their younger, potentially more viable, eggs until they’re ready for pregnancy.

 

Embryo Freezing

Similar to egg freezing, this process involves fertilising the retrieved eggs before freezing. It’s an option considered by couples or individuals who are ready to use their eggs but wish to delay pregnancy.

 

Making an Informed Decision

Choosing to preserve your fertility is a significant decision and one that shouldn’t be made lightly. It involves understanding the procedures, the risks, the success rates, and, importantly, the costs involved. It’s crucial to consult with a fertility specialist who can provide personalised advice based on your health, age, and future plans.

 

The Role of Compassionate Care

At our clinic, we understand that discussions around fertility and family planning can be emotional and sometimes challenging. Our goal is to provide you with a supportive, understanding, and non-judgmental space where you can explore your options. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to family planning.

 

Looking Ahead with Hope

We believe in empowering women with the knowledge and options to make the best decisions for their future. Whether you’re considering fertility preservation or simply want to learn more about your fertility health, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

 

As you navigate the path ahead, remember that it’s okay to have questions, to seek advice, and to take time to make the best decisions for your life and your future family. Your dreams and aspirations are valid, and with the right support and information, you can plan for the future with confidence and hope.

 

 

#fertilityoptions #eggfreezing #planningforafuturebaby #goldcoastfertilityclinic #needhelpgettingpregnant #couplegoals #fertilityissues #whyshouldifreezemyeggs

frozen slide showing egg freezing for fertility preservation
woman holding her stomach from period pain

What Causes Period Pain?

3 March 2024

Menstruation is a natural part of a woman’s life, but it can also bring discomfort and pain. Period pain, also known as dysmenorrhea, varies widely in intensity from mild to severe, which can affect daily activities and overall well-being for some. We’re going to have a look why period pain can be so intense for some and explore effective ways to manage it, along with guidance on when to consult your gynaecologist.

The Root of the Pain

Period pain primarily stems from the uterus contracting to help shed its lining. For some, these contractions can be particularly intense, leading to severe pain. Factors contributing to more severe menstrual cramps include a buildup of prostaglandins (chemicals that cause the uterus to contract), underlying health conditions like endometriosis or uterine fibroids, and a family history of painful periods.

Managing the Discomfort

For mild to moderate period pain, there are several strategies you can try at home:

Heat Therapy: Applying a warm heating pad to your lower abdomen can help relax the uterine muscles and alleviate pain.

Exercise: Regular physical activity, especially low-impact exercises like yoga or walking, can reduce the severity of cramps.

Over-the-Counter Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, are effective in reducing inflammation and pain.

Diet and Hydration: Maintaining a balanced diet and staying hydrated can help minimise bloating and discomfort during your period.

When to See a Gynaecologist

While occasional mild period pain is usually not a cause for concern, there are certain situations where consulting a gynaecologist is advisable:

Persistent Severe Pain: If your period pain is severe and affects your daily life, it’s important to seek medical advice.

Change in Symptoms: A significant change in your menstrual cycle or the intensity of your pain warrants a visit to your gynaecologist.

Suspected Underlying Conditions: Symptoms like excessively heavy bleeding, pain during intercourse, or severe pelvic pain at times other than your period could indicate conditions like endometriosis or fibroids.

You know your body best. If your period pain feels abnormal or is accompanied by other worrying symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out to your GP or gynaecologist. We can offer personalised advice, pain management strategies, and treatment options if necessary, ensuring you receive the care and support you need.

Period pain is a common experience, but it doesn’t have to be a debilitating one. By understanding the causes, employing effective management strategies, and knowing when to seek medical advice, you can navigate menstrual discomfort with confidence and comfort.

 

#periodpain #dysmenorrhea #periodpainsux #heavyperiods #girltalk #femaleproblems #endometriosissymptoms #goldcoastgynaecologist #painpaingoaway #womenshealth #whatcausesperiodpain

Why You Should Choose Us for Your Fertility Journey

26 February 2024

Embarking on a fertility journey is a deeply personal and, at times, challenging endeavour. As someone who has guided countless individuals and couples through this journey, I understand the importance of choosing the right team to support you. At our clinic, my team and I are committed to providing inclusive, patient-centred care, utilising state-of-the-art technologies, and crafting personalised treatment plans tailored to meet your unique needs. Here’s why I believe we’re the best choice for your fertility journey.

Inclusive, Patient-Cantered Care

I’ve always believed that every journey to parenthood is unique, and it’s essential to honour these differences with a deeply inclusive approach. My clinic is a place where individuals and couples from all backgrounds are welcomed and celebrated for their diversity. More than just your fertility specialist, I see myself as an advocate for your overall well-being, tailoring our care to suit your physical, emotional, and psychological needs.

Our approach is empathetic and understanding. We ensure you feel heard, understood, and supported at every step. I take the time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and ensure you’re fully informed and comfortable with your treatment plan. My goal is to make your journey as smooth and stress-free as possible, creating a positive environment where you feel valued and cared for.

State-of-the-Art Technologies

Offering you the best possible chance of success on your fertility journey is not just a commitment; it’s a mission that drives us every day. That’s why our clinic proudly partners with Queensland Fertility Group (QFG), a leading name in fertility treatment known for its access to the best minds in fertility care and the latest scientific advances in assisted reproductive technology.

This partnership allows us to provide a comprehensive range of fertility treatments, from simpler methods like Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and Ovulation Induction (OI), to more advanced and specialised treatments such as In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), and Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing (PGT). By collaborating with QFG, we ensure that our patients have access to the forefront of fertility science and the most effective treatment options available today.

Our collaboration with Queensland Fertility Group means that when you choose us for your fertility journey, you’re not just accessing my expertise and that of my team; you’re also tapping into a wide network of some of the most respected fertility specialists and innovative technologies in the field. We’d all dedicated to providing you with the highest standard of care, leveraging cutting-edge technology to enhance your fertility outcomes.

We are committed to continuous learning and advancement, ensuring that our treatments incorporate the latest research and technological innovations. Our alliance with QFG ensures that you receive the most efficient, effective, and safe treatments tailored to your unique situation, enhancing your chances of success.

Personalised Treatment Plans

I recognise that each patient’s fertility journey is their own, which is why personalised care is at the heart of what we do. We take a comprehensive approach to your fertility assessment, considering not just your medical history and physical health, but also your lifestyle, preferences, and emotional well-being.

We develop customised treatment plans that are specifically designed for you. Whether it’s selecting the most suitable fertility treatment, adjusting protocols to suit your body’s response, or providing supportive therapies to enhance your well-being, every aspect of your care is personalised. Our tailored approach ensures that you not only receive the highest standard of medical care but also feel empowered and confident throughout your journey.

Choosing my team and I for your fertility journey means opting for a path marked by compassion, innovation, and personalised care. We are dedicated to making your dream of parenthood a reality, offering a supportive, inclusive environment alongside the best of medical science and technology. Our commitment to patient-centred care, combined with our expertise and the use of state-of-the-art technologies, ensures that we provide you with the highest chances of success.

Your journey to parenthood is a partnership, and I am honoured to be part of your story. Let us guide you with expertise, care, and compassion. Reach out to learn more about how we can support you on your fertility journey.

 

 

#goldcoastfertilityclinic #fertilitygoldcoast #qfg #fertilitytreatment #tryingtoconceive #goldcoastbestfertilityclinic #couplegoals #journeytoparenthood #IVF #assistedreproductivetechnology

 

Dr Gary Swift, in blue scrubs, crossed arms,
Dr Gary Swift blog - Menopause and Perimenopause (1)

The Pauses: Menopause and Perimenopause

19 February 2024

Menopause and perimenopause are significant milestones in a woman’s life, marking the end of her reproductive years. While these terms are often mentioned together, they refer to different stages in the process leading up to and including the cessation of menstruation. Understanding the nuances between menopause and perimenopause can empower women to navigate this transition with confidence and ease.

 

Entering Perimenopause

Perimenopause is essentially the runway to menopause. It’s a transitional phase that can begin in a woman’s 40s (sometimes as early as her late 30s), serving as a precursor to menopause. During perimenopause, the body undergoes significant hormonal fluctuations, leading to changes in menstrual cycles, which may become irregular, longer, shorter, heavier, or lighter. These fluctuations are the body’s way of gradually adjusting to decreased reproductive capabilities.

Symptoms experienced during perimenopause can vary widely in type and intensity. Common signs include hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, mood swings, and changes in sexual function. It’s important to remember that perimenopause is a normal biological process and not a disorder. However, the symptoms can be challenging and affect a woman’s quality of life.

 

Crossing the Threshold into Menopause

Menopause is defined retrospectively, marking the point in time 12 months after a woman’s last period. This milestone signifies the end of menstrual cycles and the official exit from the reproductive years. By this point, the ovaries have significantly reduced their production of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones crucial for regulating menstruation and ovulation.

 

The average age for menopause is around 51, although it can vary due to genetics, lifestyle, and health factors. Unlike perimenopause, which is characterised by fluctuating hormone levels, menopause brings about a new hormonal baseline. While the intense fluctuations of hormones settle down, some women may continue to experience symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness post-menopause.

 

Embracing Change

The journey through perimenopause to menopause is unique for every woman, but there are strategies to manage symptoms and maintain health during this transition:

  • Lifestyle Adjustments: A balanced diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep can alleviate some perimenopausal symptoms. Avoiding triggers like caffeine and alcohol may also reduce hot flashes.
  • Stress Management: Techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep-breathing exercises can help manage mood swings and anxiety.
  • Medical Support: For those who experience severe symptoms, it’s crucial to seek medical advice. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and other medications can provide relief for many symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.
  • Community and Support: Sharing experiences and solutions with friends or in support groups can provide comfort and practical advice.

 

The transition from perimenopause to menopause is a natural stage of life, yet it can feel daunting due to the physical and emotional changes it brings. Understanding the differences between these phases and the wide range of experiences women can have helps demystify the process and encourages a more proactive approach to managing health during this time. By acknowledging the challenges and embracing the changes, women can navigate this transition with grace and positivity, looking forward to the next chapter of their lives with optimism and strength.

 

If you need help through this change of life, please call my room to make an appointment to discuss HRT options.  They can be lifechanging for many women.

#menopause #whatsperimenopause #changeoflife #goldcoastwomenshealth #menopausehealth #hormonereplacementtherapy #hrt

Blocked Fallopian Tubes & Fertility

12 February 2024

Embarking on the journey to parenthood, many women encounter various challenges, with blocked fallopian tubes being a notable one that can impact fertility significantly. In this blog, we’ll explore the intricacies of blocked fallopian tubes—what they are, how they affect fertility, and the treatment options available. My aim is to provide you with understanding, hope, and guidance as you navigate this aspect of your reproductive health.


Understanding Blocked Fallopian Tubes

The fallopian tubes are delicate structures that play a crucial role in conception. They are the pathways through which an egg travels from the ovary to the uterus, and where fertilisation by sperm usually occurs. Blocked fallopian tubes, also known as tubal occlusion, can occur in one or both tubes. This condition prevents sperm and egg from meeting, making natural conception challenging.


How Blocked Fallopian Tubes Affect Fertility

Blocked fallopian tubes are a common cause of infertility, accounting for a significant number of cases. The impact on fertility depends on the location and extent of the blockage. Partial blockages may still allow for conception, albeit with reduced efficiency. Complete blockages in one or both tubes can significantly decrease the chances of natural conception, as the obstruction acts as a barrier to fertilisation.


Symptoms and Diagnosis

Many women with blocked fallopian tubes experience no symptoms, making the condition difficult to detect without medical intervention. When symptoms do occur, they may include pelvic pain, especially during menstruation, or unusual vaginal discharge. Diagnosis typically involves imaging tests, such as a hysterosalpingogram (HSG), which uses a dye to highlight the fallopian tubes in X-ray images, or laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgery that allows direct visualisation of the tubes.


Clearing the Path to Fertility

Treatment for blocked fallopian tubes varies based on the cause and severity of the blockage. Here are the main approaches:


Surgical Intervention:
For certain types of blockages, surgery can be an effective treatment. Tubal surgery aims to open or remove the blockage, restoring the pathway for eggs and sperm. The success of surgery depends on the location and extent of the blockage, as well as the presence of other fertility factors.

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART): In cases where tubal blockage cannot be effectively treated with surgery, or when surgery is not the preferred option, ART, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), becomes a leading choice. IVF bypasses the fallopian tubes entirely by fertilising eggs outside the body and then implanting the embryo directly into the uterus.

Alternative Therapies: While the efficacy of alternative therapies is less documented, some women explore options like acupuncture or herbal treatments in conjunction with medical treatments to enhance fertility. Always discuss these approaches with your healthcare provider to ensure they complement your overall treatment plan safely.


Embracing Hope and Support

Facing blocked fallopian tubes can be a daunting part of your fertility journey, but advances in medical treatments and technologies offer hope and solutions for many women in this situation. By understanding your options and working closely with your gynaecologist or fertility specialist, you can make informed decisions that align with your personal and reproductive health goals.

#blockedfallopiantubes #fertilityissues #whatcausesinfertility #tryingtoconceive #gynaecologicalcare #femalehealth #reproductivehealth #goldcoastgynaecologist

woman's torso outline. text pelvic inflammatory disease explained

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Explained: How It Affects Fertility and Why a Good Gyno Matters

5 February 2024

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a term that might seem daunting at first glance, but it’s a condition that, with the right knowledge and care, can be navigated and managed effectively. PID is an infection of the female reproductive organs, including the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. It’s often caused by sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia and gonorrhoea, which, if left untreated, can escalate into PID. So in today’s blog, let’s dive into what PID is, its potential effects on fertility, treatment options, and why I recommend building a relationship with a gynaecologist you trust.

 

What is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

PID is an infection that can occur when bacteria from the vagina and cervix spread to the upper parts of the reproductive system. It’s crucial to note that not all cases of PID are the result of STIs; other sources of bacteria can also lead to PID. Symptoms might include pelvic pain, fever, unusual discharge, pain or bleeding during intercourse, and irregular menstrual bleeding. However, some women may experience no symptoms at all, making regular gynaecological check-ups vital.

 

The Link Between PID and Fertility

One of the most significant concerns surrounding PID is its impact on fertility. The infection can cause inflammation and scar tissue to form on the fallopian tubes, leading to blockages that prevent sperm from reaching an egg. In severe cases, PID can cause ectopic pregnancy (where a fertilised egg implants outside the uterus), chronic pelvic pain, and can significantly affect the ability to conceive naturally. Early detection and treatment of PID are crucial in preserving fertility and preventing long-term reproductive health issues.

 

Treatment Options for PID

The good news is that PID is treatable, especially when caught early. Treatment typically involves antibiotics to eradicate the infection, with the regimen depending on the severity of the condition and the bacteria causing the infection. It’s essential for sexual partners to be tested and treated as well to prevent reinfection. In some cases, hospitalisation may be required if the infection is severe. Beyond medical treatment, rest, and avoiding sexual intercourse until treatment is completed are advised to ensure a full recovery.

 

The Benefits of a Trusted Gynaecologist

Navigating PID and its implications on fertility can be challenging, but it’s a journey you don’t have to undertake alone. Building a relationship with a gynaecologist you’re comfortable with is invaluable. A trusted gynaecologist can provide:

 

Early Detection and Preventative Care: Regular check-ups can catch PID and other reproductive health issues early, significantly improving treatment outcomes.

Personalised Treatment Plans: Every woman’s body and health history are unique. A gynaecologist who knows your medical background can tailor treatment and advice to suit your specific needs.

Emotional Support and Guidance: Facing PID and fertility concerns can be emotionally taxing. A compassionate gynaecologist can offer the emotional support and reassurance needed during these times.

Educational Resources: Understanding your health condition is empowering. A good gynaecologist will provide you with the information and resources you need to make informed decisions about your health.

Fertility Specialist: If you’re looking to have children in the future, consider choosing a gynaecologist who specialises in fertility. They can provide support down the track should the need arise from your PID.

 

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is a serious condition that can have profound effects on a woman’s fertility and overall reproductive health. However, with early detection, appropriate treatment, and the support of a trusted gyno, many women can recover from PID without long-term effects on their fertility. We encourage all women to prioritise their reproductive health by scheduling regular check-ups and building a relationship with a gynaecologist they feel comfortable with. Your health is your wealth, and taking proactive steps today can ensure a healthier tomorrow.

 

 

#PID #pelvicinflammatorydisease #womenshealthspecialist  #goldcoastgynaecologist #sexualhealth #safesex 

Exploring the Promise of Intrauterine Insemination

29 January 2024

This week, we’re focusing on a specific fertility treatment that has brought hope to many: Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). This journey is not just about the technicalities but about understanding the emotional and physical landscape it traverses.

What is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)?
Intrauterine Insemination, or IUI, is a form of assisted reproductive technology that’s often a first step in fertility treatments. It’s less invasive than IVF and successful for many couples facing fertility challenges. In simple terms, it involves placing sperm directly into a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilisation.

Who Can Benefit from IUI?
IUI is particularly beneficial for couples with unexplained infertility, mild male factor infertility, or women with cervical mucus problems. It’s also a viable option for single women and same-sex couples wishing to conceive.

IUI Step-by-Step – 

Ovulation Monitoring: The process starts with monitoring your cycle to predict ovulation. This can be done through blood tests and ultrasound scans.

Sperm Preparation: On the day of IUI, a semen sample is prepared to concentrate the healthiest sperm.

The Insemination: During this quick and usually painless procedure, the sperm is inserted directly into your uterus. This is timed to coincide with ovulation to maximise the chances of conception.

After the Procedure: Post-IUI, you can usually return to normal activities with a hopeful heart.

Success Rates and Factors to Consider
The success of IUI depends on various factors, including age, underlying fertility issues, and the use of fertility drugs. On “average”, the success rate ranges from 10-20% per cycle, but when you come to see me I can be more specific about your personal prediction.

Emotional Considerations and Support
Embarking on a fertility treatment like IUI can be emotional. It’s good to have a strong support system and access to emotional and psychological resources.

IUI offers a gateway to parenthood for many who dream of holding their little one in their arms. It’s a journey filled with hope, patience, and resilience. We’re here to walk this path with you, offering our expertise, support, and a listening ear.

If you have questions about your fertility journey, reach out to us to make an appointment. We can  talk about how I can support your path to parenthood with empathy, professionalism, and care.

#fertiltyclinicgoldcoast  #couplegoals #intrauterineinsemination #IUI #fertilitymatters #samesexfertility 

Dr Gary Swift blog - The Wonders of Womanhood -A Guide to the Reproductive Life Cycle

A Guide to the Reproductive Life Cycle

22 January 2024

I’ve had the privilege of guiding many women through the various stages of their reproductive lives. It’s a journey that’s as complex as it is fascinating, filled with changes, challenges, and triumphs. Let’s walk through this journey together, understanding each phase from a medical and personal perspective.

 

The Early Years: Foundations Are Laid

It’s an astonishing fact, but did you know that a newborn girl already carries all the eggs she’ll ever have? These eggs, numbering around 1 to 2 million, will decrease in quantity but not in potential. During these early years, her reproductive system is quietly laying the groundwork for future possibilities.

 

Adolescence: The Start of Menstrual Cycles

Puberty is a significant chapter in a woman’s life. This is when the body gears up for menstruation, and her ovaries begin their monthly routine of releasing eggs. Usually starting between 11 and 14 years of age, this phase is marked by physical and emotional changes, setting the stage for adulthood.

 

The Reproductive Years: A Period of Fertility

The reproductive years, spanning from the first period to menopause, are a time of fertility and, sometimes, fluctuating hormonal levels. Monthly ovulation signifies the body’s readiness for potential pregnancy. It’s also a time when women may face various menstrual and reproductive health issues, highlighting the importance of regular check-ups and open discussions with their OBGYN.

 

Pregnancy: The Creation of Life

Pregnancy is a miraculous time when the body undergoes tremendous changes. The uterus, for instance, expands significantly to accommodate the growing baby – a remarkable feat of the human body. This period is one of constant change and adaptation, as the body prepares to bring a new life into the world.

 

Menopause: A New Phase Begins

Around the age of 51, most women enter menopause, marking the end of their reproductive years. This phase isn’t just about the cessation of menstrual cycles; it’s a time of significant hormonal changes. Interestingly, many women find a new sense of freedom and creativity during this period, as they transition into a different phase of life.

 

Post-Menopause: Embracing Change

After menopause, women’s bodies continue to evolve. Although there are new health considerations, like an increased risk of osteoporosis and heart issues, this time can be empowering. And there us help for this in the form of HRT.  It’s an opportunity to focus on wellness, self-care, and enjoying the richness of life’s experiences.

 

In my practice, I’ve seen how every woman’s journey through these stages is unique. It’s important to listen to your body, communicate openly with your OBGYN, and celebrate your body’s capabilities at every stage. The journey through womanhood is not just a series of biological events; it’s a powerful narrative of resilience, strength, and beauty. My team and I are here to support and empower you through every chapter of this incredible journey.

 

#reproductivehealth #reproductivelifecycle #womensreproductivehealth #GoldCoastOBGYN #periods #menopause #pregnancy #fertility

Men’s Fertility Matters

15 January 2024


When it comes to fertility, the focus often lands squarely on women. However, it’s vital to recognise that men’s fertility plays an equally important role in the journey towards parenthood. I understand that fertility is a shared journey, and men’s reproductive health is a crucial part of this equation. In this week’s blog, we delve into the often-overlooked realm of men’s fertility, emphasising sperm health, lifestyle impacts, and supportive measures.

 

Understanding Sperm Health

Sperm health is not just about quantity but also quality and mobility. Factors such as sperm count, shape (morphology), and movement (motility) are critical indicators of male fertility. A common misconception is that fertility issues are predominantly a woman’s concern. However, male factors can be responsible for about 30-50% of all fertility issues. A visit to your fertility specialist for a few easy tests can provide valuable insights into sperm health. Advanced medical tests, such as semen analysis, can evaluate these key sperm parameters, offering a clear picture of male fertility potential.

 

Lifestyle Effects on Fertility

Lifestyle choices play a significant role in influencing men’s reproductive health. Factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, and even stress can adversely affect sperm quality. Obesity has also been linked to lower sperm count and motility. The good news is that lifestyle changes can have a positive impact.

Simple yet effective strategies include:

– Maintaining a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, which can improve sperm health.

– Regular exercise to enhance fertility, though moderation is key as excessive physical training can have the opposite effect.

– Reducing stress through mindfulness practices like yoga or meditation, as stress can impact hormonal balance and sperm production.

  •  


Supportive Measures for Men’s Fertility

Supporting men’s fertility involves both medical interventions and emotional support. For those facing challenges, treatments such as hormone therapy, surgery for varicoceles, or assisted reproductive techniques like IVF or ICSI can be life-changing.

Equally important is the emotional and psychological support. Fertility journeys can be emotionally taxing.  That’s why we foster a nurturing and empathetic environment at my rooms and our associated clinic. Our specialists are not only medical experts but also compassionate advisors, guiding and supporting couples through every step of their fertility journey.

 

If you would like more info, you can check out my website pages dedicated to Men’s fertility – www.drgaryswift.com.au/men.

 

#fertiltyclinicgoldcoast #mensfertilitymatters #malefertility #howtoimproveyourfertility #spermhealth #couplegoals

Dr Gary Swift blog - severe period pain

Managing severe period pain

8 January 2024

Period pain is a common experience for many assigned female at birth, but when does discomfort turn into a cause for concern?

 

Normal vs. Severe Menstrual Pain

Most women experience some degree of discomfort during their menstrual cycle. Normal period pain, medically known as dysmenorrhea, typically includes cramping in the lower abdomen, which may spread to the lower back and thighs, even the bottom. However, when pain becomes severe, disrupting daily activities and significantly impacting your quality of life, it’s crucial to pay closer attention.

 

Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes

Before rushing to medication, consider these gentler approaches:

  1. Heat Therapy: A warm bath or a heating pad can relax the muscles and alleviate cramps.
  2. Exercise: Gentle activities like yoga or walking can release endorphins, natural painkillers.
  3. Hydration and Diet: Stay hydrated and opt for anti-inflammatory foods like leafy greens, nuts, and fatty fish.
  4. Stress Management: Techniques such as meditation and deep breathing can help in managing pain.

 

Over-the-Counter Relief

For many, over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or naproxen can provide effective relief. Remember to follow the recommended dosage and consult with a pharmacist if you have any concerns.

 

When to See a Doctor

Consult a GP or gynaecologist if you experience:

  • Pain that persists even after taking medication
  • Severe pain that suddenly appears or significantly worsens
  • Symptoms like heavy bleeding, fever, or unusual discharge
  • Pain accompanied by digestive issues or difficulty urinating

 

These symptoms could be indicative of conditions like endometriosis, fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease, which require professional diagnosis and treatment.

 

For personalised advice and compassionate care, reach out to our team – (07) 5564 6017.

#severeperiodpain #dysmenorrhea #periodpainsux #periodpain #dontputupwithperiodpain #goldcoastgynaecologist #womenshealthprofessional

Oral Contraception Choices: Finding Your Perfect Fit

1 January 2024

Happy New Year to all our wonderful followers! As we step into 2024, it’s a time of new beginnings and personal resolutions. While many of my patients see me trying to start a family, not every woman is looking to embark on the journey of motherhood this year. In this week’s blog let’s explore the various types of oral contraception, the drugs they contain, and how they function to cater to your unique health needs and life plans.

 

Oral contraceptives, commonly known as birth control pills, have been a cornerstone of women’s healthcare for decades. They offer not only pregnancy prevention but also various health benefits. However, with numerous options available, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. Let’s break down the types and their mechanisms.

 

Combined Oral Contraceptives (COCs)

These pills contain two types of hormones: estrogen and progestin, a synthetic version of progesterone. They work in three primary ways:

– Preventing ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovaries).

– Thickening the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus.

– Altering the uterine lining to prevent implantation of a fertilised egg.

Examples include Levonorgestrel and Ethinylestradiol (found in Alesse, Aviane), and Norgestimate with Ethinylestradiol (in Ortho-Cyclen, Sprintec).

 

Progestin-Only Pills (POPs) or Mini-pills

Ideal for women who cannot take estrogen, POPs contain only progestin. They primarily work by thickening cervical mucus and thinning the uterine lining. Some also suppress ovulation. Examples are Norethindrone (Micronor, Nora-BE) and Drospirenone (Slynd).

 

Extended-Cycle and Continuous-Cycle Pills

These are variations of COCs designed to lengthen the menstrual cycle. Extended-cycle pills (e.g., Seasonique, Seasonale) typically lead to four menstrual periods a year, while continuous-cycle pills (e.g., Amethyst) can eliminate periods altogether. They provide the same benefits and risks as standard COCs.

 

Understanding Your Body and Choice

The choice of an oral contraceptive depends on several factors, including your health history, lifestyle, and personal preferences. For instance, if you’re prone to migraines, a lower dose of estrogen or a progestin-only option might be recommended. Similarly, if you have difficulty remembering daily pills, an extended-cycle option could be more suitable.

 

Risks and Considerations

While oral contraceptives are generally safe, they are not without risks. They are not recommended for women who are over 35 and smoke, or who have a history of blood clots, certain cancers, or uncontrolled high blood pressure. It’s also important to remember that they do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

 

Empowering Your Health Journey

I believe in empowering your journey and nurturing your health, and am dedicated to providing personalised advice to help you make informed decisions about oral contraception. Whether you’re looking for birth control options or managing other gynaecological health aspects, I’m here to support you with compassion and expertise.

 

Remember, the right contraceptive choice is a personal one and should be made in consultation with your GP or Gyno.

 

#thepill #oralcontraceptionoptions #choosingwhichpill #womenshealthchoices #therighttochoose #preventingpregnancy #whichpillisrightforme #goldcoastwomenshealth

Dr Gary Swift blog - Understanding HRT

Understanding Hormone Replacement Therapy

18 December 2023

As a gynaecologist, I’m acutely aware of the challenges faced by women during the menopausal and perimenopausal phases. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a widely used treatment to manage symptoms of menopause and improve overall health. Today, let’s explore the different types of HRT available and how they can help you on your journey through menopause.

Estrogen-Only HRT

Estrogen-only HRT is typically recommended for women who have had a hysterectomy. Since the uterus is no longer present, progesterone isn’t needed to protect against uterine cancer. This therapy helps alleviate common menopausal symptoms like hot flushes, mood swings, and vaginal dryness.

Combined Estrogen and Progesterone HRT

For women who still have their uterus, combined HRT (estrogen and progesterone) is often the preferred choice. The addition of progesterone helps reduce the risk of endometrial cancer, which can be increased by estrogen alone. This therapy is effective in managing a broad spectrum of menopausal symptoms.

Testosterone Therapy

Testosterone therapy is less commonly discussed but can be a vital part of HRT, especially for women experiencing low sex drive or reduced energy levels. While primarily known as a male hormone, testosterone plays a significant role in women’s health too. It’s usually used in combination with other hormones and under strict medical guidance.

Other Combinations

There are other formulations and combinations available, including tibolone, a synthetic steroid with estrogenic, progestogenic, and androgenic properties, and bioidentical hormones. These alternatives aim to closely mimic the hormones naturally produced by your body and can be tailored to your specific needs.

Making the Right Choice

Your gyno will be able to recommend the right HRT for you. Factors like your age, health history, menopausal symptoms, and personal preferences play a crucial role. It’s essential to have an open and honest discussion with your specialist about the benefits and risks associated with each type of HRT.

Monitoring and Adjusting Treatment

Regular check-ups are crucial while on HRT. These visits allow us to monitor your response to the treatment, make necessary adjustments, and ensure that the therapy continues to align with your health needs and lifestyle.

 

Menopause is a natural phase of life, and managing its symptoms is about improving your quality of life. With the right approach and support, HRT can be a powerful tool in your journey. I’m dedicated to empowering your journey and nurturing your health through every stage of life.

 

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment

 

#hrt #hrtoptions #explanationofhrt #womenshealth #menopausalhealth #menopausesymptoms #menopauesux #whathelpshotflushes #vaginaldryness #lowlibidoinmenopause #goldcoastgynaecologist #goldcoastmenopausespecialist

Oral Contraception Choices: Finding Your Perfect Fit.

1 January 2024

Happy New Year to all our wonderful followers! As we step into 2024, it’s a time of new beginnings and personal resolutions. While many of my patients see me trying to start a family, not every woman is looking to embark on the journey of motherhood this year. Understanding and respecting this choice is crucial, and I’m here to empower you with knowledge and options. Today, let’s explore the various types of oral contraception, the drugs they contain, and how they function to cater to your unique health needs and life plans.

Oral contraceptives, commonly known as birth control pills, have been a cornerstone of women’s healthcare for decades. They offer not only pregnancy prevention but also various health benefits. However, with numerous options available, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. Let’s break down the types and their mechanisms.

Combined Oral Contraceptives (COCs)

These pills contain two types of hormones: estrogen and progestin, a synthetic version of progesterone. They work in three primary ways:

– Preventing ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovaries).

– Thickening the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus.

– Altering the uterine lining to prevent implantation of a fertilised egg.

Examples include Levonorgestrel and Ethinylestradiol (found in Alesse, Aviane), and Norgestimate with Ethinylestradiol (in Ortho-Cyclen, Sprintec).

Progestin-Only Pills (POPs) or Mini-pills

Ideal for women who cannot take estrogen, POPs contain only progestin. They primarily work by thickening cervical mucus and thinning the uterine lining. Some also suppress ovulation. Examples are Norethindrone (Micronor, Nora-BE) and Drospirenone (Slynd).

Extended-Cycle and Continuous-Cycle Pills

These are variations of COCs designed to lengthen the menstrual cycle. Extended-cycle pills (e.g., Seasonique, Seasonale) typically lead to four menstrual periods a year, while continuous-cycle pills (e.g., Amethyst) can eliminate periods altogether. They provide the same benefits and risks as standard COCs.

Understanding Your Body and Choice

The choice of an oral contraceptive depends on several factors, including your health history, lifestyle, and personal preferences. For instance, if you’re prone to migraines, a lower dose of estrogen or a progestin-only option might be recommended. Similarly, if you have difficulty remembering daily pills, an extended-cycle option could be more suitable.

Risks and Considerations

While oral contraceptives are generally safe, they are not without risks. They are not recommended for women who are over 35 and smoke, or who have a history of blood clots, certain cancers, or uncontrolled high blood pressure. It’s also important to remember that they do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Empowering Your Health Journey

I believe in empowering your journey and nurturing your health, and am dedicated to providing personalised advice to help you make informed decisions about oral contraception. Whether you’re looking for birth control options or managing other gynaecological health aspects, I’m here to support you with compassion and expertise.

 

Remember, the right contraceptive choice is a personal one and should be made in consultation with your GP or Gyno.

 

#thepill #oralcontraceptionoptions #choosingwhichpill #womenshealthchoices #therighttochoose #preventingpregnancy #whichpillisrightforme #goldcoastwomenshealth

painful heavy periods caused by adenomyosis. woman with hot water bottle.
Dr Gary Swift blog - Challenges falling pregnant as you age

The challenges in falling pregnant as you age

4 December 2023

As you journey through life, your body undergoes numerous changes, and this is particularly true when it comes to your fertility. The decision to start a family comes at various stages of life. However, it’s important to understand that natural pregnancy can become more challenging as you age. Let’s explore why this happens and how modern medicine offers hope for those wanting to become parents later in life.

Firstly, it’s crucial to acknowledge that every woman’s body is unique, and so is her journey to motherhood. However, there are some common physiological factors that play a role in the increased difficulty of conceiving naturally as you get older.

One of the primary reasons is the decrease in the quantity and quality of eggs. Women are born with a finite number of eggs, and this number decreases as you age. By the time you reach your mid-30s, the quality of your eggs also starts to decline. This decline in both quantity and quality can lead to reduced fertility.

Another factor is the increased likelihood of chronic health conditions with age, such as hypertension or diabetes, which can indirectly affect fertility.

Additionally, older women have a higher risk of experiencing complications during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, which can impact both the mother’s and the baby’s health.

As you age you may experience changes in your menstrual cycle, making it harder to predict ovulation and thus, the optimal time for conception.

The risk of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, such as Down syndrome, also increases with maternal age.

Despite these challenges, it’s heartening to know that modern medicine has made significant strides in assisting those who wish to conceive later in life. Assisted reproductive technology (ART) encompasses various treatments, the most well-known being in vitro fertilisation (IVF). IVF involves fertilising an egg outside the body and then implanting it in the uterus, offering hope to many who face difficulties with natural conception.

Other ART methods include intrauterine insemination (IUI), where sperm is directly placed in the uterus, and egg or embryo donation, which can be particularly beneficial for older women.

These methods have opened doors for many to experience the joy of parenthood, even when natural conception proves challenging.

It’s also worth noting that lifestyle factors such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol can positively impact fertility. It’s essential to have open and honest conversations with your fertility specialist to understand the options and what might work best for your individual circumstances.

While natural pregnancy may become more challenging as you age due to various physiological factors, it’s important to remember that we live in an era where medical advancements offer hope and possibilities. Whether through natural conception or assisted methods, the dream of parenthood remains within reach. As you consider your journey, do so with the knowledge that support, understanding, and options are available to guide you every step of the way.

#ageandfertility #fertilityissues #whatcauesinfertility #art #ivf #modernmedicine #fertilitytechnology #makingbabies #tryingtoconceive

Navigating the festive season with chronic gynaecological conditions

27 November 2023

The festive season with its unique blend of sun-soaked days and balmy nights, brings a whirl of activities and indulgences. However, for women grappling with chronic gynaecological issues, this time can be challenging. Balancing self-care with the desire to partake in the season’s joys requires a thoughtful approach. Here’s a guide to help you navigate these festive times while managing your health.

Understanding Your Limits
First and foremost, know your boundaries. Chronic gynaecological conditions like endometriosis, PCOS, or fibroids can flare up due to stress or fatigue. It’s crucial to listen to your body and recognise when to step back. Don’t feel pressured to attend every gathering or event. Prioritising your health isn’t selfish; it’s necessary. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a breather. A quiet evening at home can be just as festive as a big gathering.

Sensible Eating Habits
The festive season is synonymous with an abundance of food, often rich and varied. While it’s okay to indulge, keeping your eating habits in check is essential, especially when certain foods can aggravate gynaecological conditions. For instance, women with PCOS are often sensitive to sugary and high-carb foods. Opt for balanced meals with plenty of veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains. Stay hydrated, especially in the Aussie heat, but maybe swap out sugary drinks for water or herbal teas. Remember, it’s about balance, not deprivation.

Staying Active
While it’s tempting to lounge around during the holidays, maintaining an active lifestyle is beneficial, especially for those with chronic conditions. Gentle exercises like walking, yoga, or swimming can help manage symptoms and boost your mood. Plus, it’s a great way to enjoy the beautiful Australian summer weather. Remember, the goal isn’t high-intensity training; it’s about staying moving and enjoying the activity.

Mindful Indulgence
Yes, the festive season is a time for enjoyment, and that includes the pleasures of food and drink. But being mindful about your choices can make a big difference. Enjoy your favourite treats in moderation. If alcohol is a trigger for your symptoms, consider festive non-alcoholic alternatives. There’s a growing range of delicious mocktails and non-alcoholic wines that can make you feel part of the celebrations without compromising your health.

Stress Management
Stress can exacerbate gynaecological conditions, and the holiday season can be surprisingly stressful. Find ways to manage this stress. This might mean setting aside time for relaxation and activities you enjoy. Mindfulness, meditation, or simply reading a book can help calm your mind. Don’t underestimate the power of a good laugh with friends or a relaxing day at the beach.

Seek Support
Remember, you’re not alone. Many women are navigating the same challenges. Reach out to support groups or online communities where you can share experiences and tips. Sometimes, just talking about your struggles with someone who understands can be incredibly relieving.

Medical Management
Stay on top of your medical management. This means continuing with any prescribed medications and keeping in touch with your gynaecologist. If you’re travelling, ensure you have enough medication and know where to find medical assistance if needed.

Enjoying the Season
Finally, amidst managing your condition, don’t forget to enjoy the season. Cherish the time with family and friends, revel in the summer day, and partake in the festivities in a way that feels right for you. Whether it’s a quiet night in, a day at the beach, or a festive gathering, find joy in the moments.


Remember, your well-being is the greatest gift you can give yourself this holiday season.

#chronichealthissues #endometriosis #pcos #gynaecologicalhealth #goldcoastwomenshealth #selfcareoverchristmas #prioritiseyourhealth #goodhealthisagift #loveyourself #alliwantforchristmasistobehealthy #endometriosissupport #pcostribe #goldcoastgynaecologist

coupe sitting thinking about their fertility options

Key factors affecting fertility in men and women

20 November 2023

Fertility issues can be a sensitive and complex topic for many couples. Understanding the common factors that influence fertility in both men and women is crucial for those trying to conceive. As a fertility specialist and gynaecologist, I encounter various factors that can impact reproductive health. Here, we’ll explore the three most common factors affecting female fertility and their counterparts in male fertility.

Female fertility factors

Age: Age is a significant factor in female fertility. Women are born with a finite number of eggs, and this number decreases as they age. The quality of these eggs also diminishes over time, particularly after the mid-30s. This decline means that the chances of conceiving naturally decrease, and the risk of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities in the baby increases.

Ovulatory issues: Regular ovulation is crucial for fertility. Conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can disrupt this process. PCOS is a hormonal disorder causing enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges. Symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, which can lead to difficulties in predicting ovulation and conceiving.

Uterine or fallopian tube conditions: The health of the uterus and fallopian tubes is vital for conception and a successful pregnancy. Conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, and pelvic inflammatory disease can affect the uterus or fallopian tubes, hindering the journey of the egg and sperm, or implantation of the embryo.


Male fertility factors

Sperm quality and quantity: A key factor in male fertility is the health of the sperm. This includes the number of sperm (sperm count), their shape (morphology), and their movement (motility). Factors such as genetics, lifestyle choices, and health conditions can impact these aspects. A low sperm count or issues with sperm quality can significantly reduce the likelihood of fertilising an egg.

Lifestyle factors: Lifestyle choices play a substantial role in male fertility. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, and obesity can negatively affect sperm count and quality. Additionally, excessive heat exposure to the testicles, often related to certain types of clothing or frequent use of saunas and hot tubs, can also impact sperm production.

Medical conditions and treatments: Certain medical conditions, such as varicocele (enlargement of veins within the scrotum), infections, and hormonal imbalances, can affect male fertility. Treatments for other health issues, like cancer treatments involving chemotherapy and radiation, can also have a temporary or permanent impact on sperm production and quality.

 

Understanding these common factors is the first step in addressing fertility challenges. For women, managing conditions like PCOS, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and being mindful of the age-related decline in fertility are crucial. For men, focusing on lifestyle choices that promote healthy sperm production and seeking treatment for medical conditions affecting fertility is essential.

Every couple’s fertility journey is unique, and it’s important to consult with a fertility specialist to understand individual circumstances and explore appropriate treatments or interventions. With the right support and information, many couples can overcome these challenges and move closer to achieving their dream of parenthood.

 

#fertiltiyissues #fertilityfactors #spermcount #endometriosisandfertility #femalefertility #womensover35 #tryingtoconceive #fertilitydoctor #goldcoastfertility

 

Understanding Ovulation

13 November 2023

Embarking on the journey to parenthood is an exciting time, filled with hope and anticipation. Understanding your body’s natural processes, particularly ovulation, is a crucial step in this journey. I’m here to guide you through understanding ovulation, its role in your fertility, and how tracking it can enhance your chances of conceiving. We’ll also touch on why a preconception visit is a wise step.


What is Ovulation?

Ovulation is a part of your menstrual cycle. It occurs when hormonal changes trigger your ovaries to release an egg. This usually happens once a menstrual cycle, about halfway through, although the timing can vary from person to person and cycle to cycle.


How Does Ovulation Affect Fertility?

Understanding ovulation is key to understanding fertility. The released egg provides the opportunity for sperm to fertilise it, which can lead to pregnancy. This egg is viable for about 12 to 24 hours after it’s released. However, sperm can survive in the female reproductive tract for up to five days. This means the fertile window – the time when you can conceive – spans from five days before ovulation to about one day after.


Knowing When to Try

There are several methods to track ovulation, which can help you identify your fertile window:

1 – Calendar Method: Track your menstrual cycle on a calendar. Ovulation typically occurs around day 14 of a 28-day cycle, but this can vary.

2 – Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Tracking: Your body temperature slightly increases after ovulation. By measuring and recording your BBT each morning, you can detect this rise and estimate ovulation.

3 – Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs): These over-the-counter kits test your urine for a surge in luteinising hormone (LH), which occurs 24-36 hours before ovulation.

4 – Cervical Mucus Changes: Around ovulation, your cervical mucus becomes clear and stretchy, like raw egg whites. Monitoring these changes can help predict ovulation.

5 – Symptom Tracking: Some women experience mild pain or discomfort in their lower abdomen, known as mittelschmerz, during ovulation.

6 – Ovulation App: There are quite a few out there.  Do a search or check which ones your friends like using. Queensland Fertility Group also have a tracker – https://www.qfg.com.au/trying-to-conceive/plan-your-pregnancy/ovulation-calculator


The Role of Your Gynaecologist

Before you start trying to conceive, it’s a good idea to have a preconception check-up with your gynaecologist. This visit is an opportunity to discuss your health, lifestyle, and any concerns you may have. Your gynaecologist can offer advice on optimising your health for pregnancy and may conduct necessary health screenings. This proactive approach can help address any potential issues early on, setting the stage for a healthier pregnancy.


Understanding and tracking ovulation is a powerful tool in your journey towards conception. It empowers you with knowledge about your body and optimises your chances of becoming pregnant. Remember, every woman’s body is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. If you have concerns or questions about your fertility or ovulation, don’t hesitate to reach out to your fertility specialist or you can make an appointment with me by calling (07) 5564 6017. We’re here to support you with professional, compassionate care every step of the way.


Embarking on the path to parenthood is a journey of love and hope. Understanding your body’s natural rhythms through ovulation is a key part of this journey. We wish you all the best on this exciting and beautiful path to creating new life.

 

#ovulation #tryingtoconceive #planningpregnancy #wewanttogetpregnant #fertilitytalk #goldcoastfertility #qfg #fertilitydoctor

 

how to track ovulation when you're trying to get pregnant
Dr Gary Swift blog - Navigating Relationships and Social Expectations during fertility journey

Navigating relationships and social expectations during your fertility journey

6 November 2023

The journey towards parenthood is a chapter in life where the support of a partner, the understanding of family, and the broader acceptance of society play significant roles.


Strengthening your partnership

Fertility challenges can be a crucible for relationships. Open communication is your compass through this storm; it is both an act of courage and an embrace of vulnerability. Whether it’s expressing concerns or celebrating small victories, each conversation can reinforce your bond. Consider seeking professional counselling, a space where both of you can lay bare your worries and wishes, learning to navigate the road ahead together. In this shared space of understanding, remember that love is not just found in grand gestures but in the daily commitment to each other’s well-being. You’re not alone in this; each step is a stride taken together.

 

Facing social pressures

Navigating social expectations is akin to walking a labyrinth, but it’s important to remember that the path you take is yours to choose. Societal norms and timelines need not dictate your journey. When confronted with probing questions or unsolicited advice, know that it’s okay to set boundaries. You can share as much or as little as you feel comfortable with, and it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for respect and space.

 

Managing family dynamics

Family members often have their hopes intertwined with your fertility journey. While they may wish to chart the course alongside you, it’s crucial to communicate your needs clearly. Transparency, where appropriate, matched with firm boundaries, can help foster a supportive environment. Invite them to be part of your support system in ways that feel constructive and compassionate.  For those without a partner, the presence of a reliable friend or a family ally can be a bastion of support. Choose a confidant who offers strength and comfort, someone who can stand with you as you navigate the unpredictability of this path.

 

An inclusive approach to Parenthood

At my clinic we provide an environment that welcomes every individual or couple with warmth and understanding. Our team is dedicated not just to clinical excellence, but to recognising and celebrating the uniqueness of every family-building story. Whether you’re a single parent by choice, in a same-sex relationship, or part of a heterosexual couple seeking assistance, we’re here to support your dream of bringing new life into your world.  As you navigate this passage, we’re here to provide not only expert care but also understanding and unwavering support.

 

#fertilityjourney #boundaries #fertilitytalk #goldcoastfertility 

Stop the menopause itch!

30 October 2023

It’s not uncommon for women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s to notice changes in their skin. Perhaps you’ve noticed that your skin feels drier, less supple, or not as elastic as it once was. This can often be a frustrating and confusing time as you navigate these changes, but you’re not alone. Many women experience dry, itchy skin as a symptom of peri-menopause and menopause, and understanding why this happens can be the first step towards finding relief.

 

During peri-menopause and menopause, the levels of estrogen in the body begin to decline. Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining the skin’s moisture levels, elasticity, and thickness. It does this by promoting the production of collagen and oils, which help to keep the skin hydrated and plump. When estrogen levels drop, so does the skin’s ability to retain moisture, leading to dryness, itchiness, and a decrease in elasticity.

 

For some women, the itchiness can be particularly maddening. It can feel like no matter how much you moisturise or try to hydrate, the itchiness just won’t go away. This can be incredibly frustrating and can even disrupt sleep and daily activities.

 

So, what can be done to treat these symptoms? The good news is that there are several options available to help alleviate dry skin during menopause. One effective method is to use a good quality moisturiser. Look for products that contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which can help to lock in moisture and improve the skin’s overall appearance. Drinking plenty of water and maintaining a healthy diet can also play a role in keeping your skin hydrated from the inside out.

 

For some women, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be an option to consider. HRT works by replacing some of the estrogen that is lost during menopause, which can help to alleviate various symptoms, including dry skin. However, HRT is not suitable for everyone, and it’s important to discuss this option with your gynaecologist to determine if it’s the right choice for you.

 

It’s essential to be kind to yourself during this time and give your body the support it needs. Take the time to pamper your skin with a nourishing moisturiser, stay hydrated, and talk to your healthcare provider about the options available to you. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey, and there are ways to manage the changes your body is going through. With the right support and treatment, you can navigate menopause with confidence and grace.

#menopausesymptoms #menopauseskin #dryitchyskin #stoptheitch #benefitsofhrt #goldcoastgynaecologist #hrtdoctor #menopausespecialist #goldcoastwomenshealth #healthymenopause #howtogetthroughmenopause

_Dr Gary Swift blog - Myth Busting Endo and PCOS (1)

Myth Busting Endo and PCOS

23 October 2023

When it comes to gynaecological health, there are countless myths and misconceptions that can make it difficult for individuals to understand their condition and find the right treatment. Two conditions that are often misunderstood are endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In this blog post, we’ll debunk some of the most common myths about these two conditions.

 

Myth 1: Endometriosis and PCOS are the same thing.

Fact: While both conditions affect the reproductive system, they are different. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, causing pain and sometimes infertility. PCOS, on the other hand, is a hormonal disorder that can cause irregular periods, acne, and excess hair growth.

 

Myth 2: Endometriosis is just bad period pain.

Fact: While painful periods are a common symptom of endometriosis, the condition can cause a range of other symptoms, including chronic pelvic pain, pain during or after sex, and infertility. The pain caused by endometriosis is often more severe than normal period pain.

 

Myth 3: If you have PCOS, you can’t get pregnant.

Fact: While PCOS can make it more difficult to conceive, many women with the condition can and do get pregnant. Treatments such as lifestyle changes, medications, and fertility treatments can help improve fertility in women with PCOS.

 

Myth 4: Endometriosis only affects women in their 30s and 40s.

Fact: Endometriosis can affect women of all ages, including teenagers. In fact, many women with endometriosis start experiencing symptoms in their teens or 20s.

 

Myth 5: PCOS is caused by obesity.

Fact: While obesity can exacerbate the symptoms of PCOS and make the condition more difficult to manage, it is not the cause of PCOS. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but it is believed to be related to hormonal imbalances and genetics.

 

Myth 6: Hysterectomy is the only treatment for endometriosis.

Fact: While hysterectomy can be a treatment option for endometriosis, it is not the only option. Other treatment options include medication, hormone therapy, and surgery to remove endometrial tissue.

 

Myth 7: Losing weight will cure PCOS.

Fact: While losing weight can help manage the symptoms of PCOS and improve fertility, it is not a cure for the condition. PCOS is a lifelong condition that requires ongoing management.

 

Myth 8: Endometriosis can be diagnosed with a simple test.

Fact: Diagnosing endometriosis can be difficult and often requires a combination of medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests. The only definitive way to diagnose endometriosis is through laparoscopy, a surgical procedure that allows the doctor to see inside the abdomen.

 

Myth 9: Birth control pills cause PCOS.

Fact: Birth control pills are actually a common treatment for PCOS, as they can help regulate periods and reduce symptoms such as acne and excess hair growth.

 

Myth 10: Endometriosis is caused by lifestyle choices.

Fact: The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown, but it is believed to be related to a combination of genetic, hormonal, and immune factors. Lifestyle choices are not a cause of endometriosis.

 

If you have endometriosis or PCOS, it’s important to work with your gynaecologist to find the right treatment for you. And, as always, make sure to do your own research and consult reliable sources when seeking information about your condition.

#endometriosis #PCOS #endomyths #mythbusting #goldcoastwomenshealth #womenshealthmatters

Menopausal Weight Gain

16 October 2023

The journey through menopause is a significant phase in a woman’s life, marked by profound hormonal changes that can impact various aspects of her health and well-being. One of the most common concerns women face during menopause is weight gain. The frustration and confusion that often accompany this weight gain can be overwhelming. My goal today is to provide you with a clear understanding of why menopausal weight gain occurs and what you can do about it, including Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and its role in managing weight.

Understanding menopausal weight gain

Before delving into solutions, it’s essential to grasp why menopausal weight gain occurs. Several factors contribute to this phenomenon:

  1. 1.  Hormonal Changes: During menopause, a woman’s estrogen levels decline significantly. This hormonal shift can lead to changes in metabolism and fat distribution, making it easier to gain weight, especially around the abdomen.

  2. 2.  Muscle Loss: As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass. A decrease in muscle tissue can slow down metabolism, making it harder to maintain a healthy weight.

  3. 3.  Lifestyle Factors: Menopause often coincides with other life changes, such as increased stress, less physical activity, and alterations in dietary habits, which can collectively contribute to weight gain.

  4. 4.  Genetics: Genetics plays a role in how our bodies store and distribute fat. Some women may be genetically predisposed to gain weight more easily during menopause.

What you can do about it

Now that we’ve explored why menopausal weight gain occurs, let’s discuss proactive steps you can take to manage it effectively:

  1. 1.  Healthy Eating Habits: Focus on a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Limit your intake of processed foods, sugar, and saturated fats. Portion control is key.

  2. 2.  Regular Exercise: Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, including strength training to help preserve muscle mass.

  3. 3.  Stress Management: Menopause often brings increased stress. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to help manage cortisol levels, which can contribute to weight gain.

  4. 4.  Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): HRT involves taking medications that replace the hormones your body no longer produces in sufficient quantities, primarily estrogen and progesterone. While HRT can help manage various menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes and mood swings, it can also have a positive impact on weight management.

HRT and weight management

HRT can be a valuable tool in your journey to combat menopausal weight gain. Here’s how it works:

  1. 1.  Metabolism Regulation: Estrogen plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism. HRT helps to restore estrogen levels in the body, which can lead to a more efficient metabolism.

  2. 2.  Fat Distribution: Estrogen also affects where your body stores fat. Lower estrogen levels during menopause can lead to more fat being stored in the abdominal area. HRT can help redistribute fat to other areas of the body.

  3. 3.  Muscle Maintenance: Estrogen helps maintain muscle mass. By restoring estrogen levels, HRT can help preserve muscle tissue, which, in turn, supports a higher metabolism.

  4. 4.  Appetite Control: Some women find that HRT helps control their appetite, reducing cravings for unhealthy foods and emotional eating.

It’s important to note that HRT should be discussed with your gynaecologist. The decision to pursue HRT should only be made after a thorough evaluation of your individual health history and risks, and your ongoing health should be managed with regular check-ups.

Menopausal weight gain can be challenging, but it is not insurmountable. By embracing a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management, and, in some cases, Hormone Replacement Therapy, you can regain control over your weight and overall well-being. My primary concern is your health and happiness during this transformative phase of life. Remember, you have the power to enjoy life to the fullest, and I am here to support you every step of the way.


#menopausesymptoms #menopauseweightgain #controllingweight #benefitsofhrt #goldcoastgynaecologist #hrtdoctor #menopausespecialist #goldcoastwomenshealth #healthymenopause #lifeaftermenopause

Dr Gary Swift blog - The Menstrual Cycle Explained

The Menstrual Cycle Explained

9 October 2023

Understanding the menstrual cycle is essential for anyone with a uterus, as it plays a significant role in their reproductive health. Let’s have a look at the different phases of the menstrual cycle and what happens during each stage.

 

Menstrual Phase (Days 1-5)

What Happens: This phase begins on the first day of menstruation (when you get your period). The lining of the uterus (endometrium) that was built up in the previous cycle is shed because no fertilised egg implanted into it. This shedding is what we commonly refer to as the menstrual period.

Physical Symptoms: Bleeding, which can range from light to heavy. Some might also experience cramping, fatigue, and mood changes.

 

Follicular Phase (Days 1-13)

What Happens: This phase overlaps with the menstrual phase for the first few days. The primary event in the follicular phase is the maturation of a few ovarian follicles. One of these follicles will become dominant and mature fully, preparing to release an egg. This phase is under the control of the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), which is released by the pituitary gland.

Physical Symptoms: As estrogen levels start to rise towards the end of this phase, you might notice an increase in libido and more cervical mucus which becomes clear and stretchy.

 

Ovulation Phase (Day 14, typically)

What Happens: Triggered by a surge in Luteinising Hormone (LH), the mature follicle releases its egg in this phase. This egg travels down the fallopian tube, where it waits to be fertilised by a sperm.

Physical Symptoms: Some might feel a slight pain or twinge (known as mittelschmerz) on one side of the lower abdomen. There’s also an increase in cervical mucus, which becomes slippery and stretchy, resembling raw egg white. This mucus aids the movement of sperm through the cervix.

 

Luteal Phase (Days 15-28)

What Happens: After ovulation, the ruptured follicle transforms into a structure called the corpus luteum, which releases progesterone. This hormone helps thicken and maintain the uterine lining for a fertilised egg to implant. If the egg is not fertilised, the corpus luteum will degenerate, leading to a drop in progesterone and eventually the shedding of the uterine lining, marking the beginning of a new menstrual phase.

Physical Symptoms: Due to rising progesterone, some might experience breast tenderness, mood swings, fatigue, or bloating. Many premenstrual symptoms (PMS) occur during this phase.

 

The menstrual cycle is a beautifully complex system that prepares the body for potential pregnancy every month. By understanding each phase, you can better tune into your body, predict symptoms, and make informed decisions about your reproductive health.

 

Remember, while the above provides a general framework of “an average 28 day cycle”, every individual is unique. Cycles can vary in length, and symptoms can differ from person to person. If you have concerns or ongoing irregularities in your menstrual cycle, you should see your private gynaecologist or speak to your GP about public options.

 

#goldcoastgynaecologist #knowyourcycle #understandingperiods #periods101 #menstrualcycleexplained #understaningfertility #periods #goldcoastwomenshealth #ihaveauterus #thattimeofthemonth #ovulationtips

Understanding the Impact of Age and Fertility

2 October 2023

Pregnancy is a miraculous journey, but it’s also deeply rooted in biology. Over the years, many couples have shifted towards starting their families later in life, often due to personal or career aspirations. However, it’s essential to understand how age, especially for women, affects natural conception and what steps can be taken to preserve fertility.

The Biology of Age and Fertility
A woman is born with a fixed number of eggs in her ovaries, and this reserve diminishes as she ages. Unlike men, who continually produce new sperm, women do not produce new eggs. By the time a girl reaches puberty, the number of eggs has already decreased significantly from what she had at birth.

When a woman is in her 20s and early 30s, her eggs are generally of high quality, and the chances of conceiving naturally each month are relatively high, about 20-25%. However, as she advances through her 30s, particularly after 35, both the quality and quantity of her eggs decline. This reduction not only makes it more challenging to conceive but also increases the risk of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down Syndrome.

After 35: A Closer Look
The age of 35 is often highlighted in fertility discussions, not as an arbitrary cutoff but as an age where noticeable changes begin to occur. By age 35:

A woman’s chance of conceiving naturally drops to about 15-20% per month.

The risk of miscarriage rises, largely due to egg quality.

There’s a more significant likelihood of twins, particularly if fertility treatments are involved, as the body might release more than one egg during ovulation.

The possibility of conditions like endometriosis or fibroids, which can interfere with conception and pregnancy, becomes more common.

Preserving Fertility: What Can You Do?
While age-related decline in fertility is inevitable, several steps can help preserve and optimise fertility:

Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, and a healthy weight can positively impact fertility. Avoiding excessive alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and recreational drugs is also crucial.

Regular Check-ups: Regular gynaecological exams can help detect and treat conditions that may impact fertility. Early detection often leads to better outcomes.

Understanding Ovulation: Knowing your menstrual cycle and understanding when you ovulate can maximise your chances of conceiving. Ovulation prediction kits or fertility monitors can assist with this.

Limit Exposure to Toxins: Exposure to certain chemicals, including some pesticides and plastics, may affect fertility. Being mindful of what you’re exposed to in daily life can be beneficial.

Egg Freezing: One of the most definitive ways to preserve fertility is through egg freezing. Women can choose to have their eggs harvested and frozen for future use. This process is especially useful for women who may be undergoing treatments like chemotherapy, which can impact fertility.

Stay Informed: Research is continually evolving. Stay updated on the latest findings and guidelines about fertility, especially if you’re considering starting a family later in life.

Seek Expertise Early: If you’re over 35 and have been trying to conceive for six months without success, or if you’re younger and have been trying for a year, consider seeking the expertise of a fertility specialist. They can provide valuable insights and recommend treatments if necessary.

While age does play a significant role in fertility, it’s not the only factor. A combination of knowledge, healthy lifestyle choices, and timely interventions can make the journey to parenthood smoother, even for older couples. Remember, each individual’s journey is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Consulting with a gynaecologist or fertility specialist can provide personalised guidance tailored to your specific needs.

#fertility #ageandfertility #fertilitypreservation #infertility #goldcoastfertilityclinic #fertilityspecialist

 

Dr Gary Swift blog - Miscarriage During Fertility Treatment

Miscarriage During Fertility Treatment

25 September 2023

When embarking on the journey of fertility treatment, couples are filled with hope and aspirations. The possibility of conceiving is a beacon of light for many. But, it’s essential to understand that not all fertility treatments lead to a successful pregnancy right away. One of the unfortunate outcomes many face is miscarriage.

Statistics show that one in four pregnancies result in miscarriage, making them an all too frequent occurrence. This reality is heartbreaking for many couples, and it’s natural to seek reasons and wonder if there are ways to mitigate the risk in future attempts.  Thankfully, the majority of patients who undergo a miscarriage subsequently build a healthy family. However, a minority of couples face the challenge of multiple miscarriages in succession. Specifically, about 0.5% of women attempting to conceive grapple with three or more consecutive miscarriages, termed ‘recurrent’ miscarriages.

What is the cause of miscarriage?
While the causes of miscarriage during fertility treatments are multifaceted, some factors play a pivotal role:

-Genetic variations
-Hormone imbalances
-Uterine or Cervical variations
-Immune causes
-Chromosome imbalance
-Lifestyle factors
-Age
-Blood clotting disorders
-Other medical conditions

Management and Moving Forward
It’s important to consult your fertility specialist immediately if you think you’re experiencing miscarriage. They will offer guidance on the medical management, which may include monitoring hormone levels and possibly procedures to ensure no residual tissue remains in the uterus. Following their advice will be crucial for your physical recovery and for the success of future fertility treatments.

Experiencing a miscarriage can be a profound emotional journey filled with ups and downs. Here are some gentle ways to navigate through this delicate time:Top of Form

Allow Grieving: Understand that it’s okay to grieve. Every person’s grieving process is unique. Give yourself the time and space to heal emotionally.

Seek Support: Engage with support groups or therapists who specialise in fertility-related issues. Sharing your feelings and experiences can be therapeutic.

Maintain Open Communication: Talk openly with your partner. Remember, they too are going through the same pain and loss. It’s a shared journey.

Focus on Physical Well-being: Engage in light exercises, maintain a balanced diet, and avoid excessive caffeine or alcohol. A healthy body often aids a healthier mind.

Consider a Break: If needed, take a short break from treatments. It provides an opportunity to reconnect with your partner and can offer a fresh perspective when you decide to try again.

Miscarriage can be a heart-wrenching experience but try to remember that it doesn’t define your journey. With the right support and care, many couples move forward, armed with even more resilience and hope for the future.

#miscarriage #miscarriageduringfertilitytreatment #fertilitytreatment #fertiliydoctor #goldcoastfertilityclinic #assistedreproductivetechnology #ivf #fertilitysupport

 

Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)

18 September 2023

When couples or individuals embark on the journey of assisted reproductive techniques (ART), the world of fertility treatments can seem overwhelming. Among the plethora of terminologies, “Frozen Embryo Transfer” or FET stands out as a crucial procedure. Let’s delve into what FET entails and how it can serve as a beacon of hope for many aspiring parents.

What is Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)?
FET is a procedure where a previously frozen embryo, created through an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle, is thawed and transferred into a woman’s uterus with the hope of achieving a pregnancy. The freezing process, known as cryopreservation, allows these embryos to be stored for extended periods, ensuring they remain viable until the time is right for transfer.

Why Opt for FET?
There are several reasons why couples and their fertility specialist might decide to go the FET route:

Spare Embryos: Often, during an IVF cycle, multiple healthy embryos are created. Instead of discarding the surplus, these embryos can be frozen for future use, providing couples with another chance at pregnancy without undergoing another full IVF cycle.

Hormonal Syncing: After an IVF cycle, the woman’s body may have higher hormone levels due to stimulation, which might not be ideal for implantation. With FET, the transfer can be scheduled when the uterus’s lining is naturally more receptive.

Failed Fresh Cycle: In cases where a fresh embryo transfer does not result in pregnancy, frozen embryos can be used in subsequent attempts.

Planning Family Growth: For couples who wish to space out their pregnancies or plan for future siblings, FET provides an opportunity without the need for additional ovarian stimulation or egg retrieval.

Medical Reasons: Sometimes, medical conditions or treatment (like chemotherapy) might impact a woman’s fertility. In these situations, embryos can be frozen and used later when conditions are more favourable.

The FET Process

Preparation of the Uterine Lining: The woman’s natural cycle is closely monitored using blood tests and ultrasounds. In some cases, medications might be administered to prepare the uterus for implantation.

Thawing the Embryo: On the day of the transfer, the embryologist carefully thaws the frozen embryo, ensuring its viability.

Transferring the Embryo: The thawed embryo is then delicately transferred into the uterus using a thin catheter. This process is generally painless, though some women might experience mild discomfort.

Two-Week Wait: After the transfer, a period of waiting ensues, typically around two weeks, after which a pregnancy test determines the procedure’s success.

Success Rates of FET
It’s essential to understand that while FET has exhibited promising results, success isn’t guaranteed. Various factors can influence the outcome, including the age at which the eggs were retrieved, embryo quality, uterine conditions, and overall health. However, with advancements in cryopreservation techniques, the success rates of FET are now comparable to, or even surpassing, those of fresh embryo transfers. The difference, in many cases, is marginal.

Consultation with me or your chosen fertility specialist will provide a clearer picture tailored to your specific circumstances.

 

#frozenembryotransfer #fertilitytreatmentoptions #qfg #fertilityscience #embryology #fertilitydoctors #fertilityissues #treatinginfertility #goldcoastfertilityclinic 

 

Copy of Dr Gary Swift blog - The Power of Precision Excision

“I have pain low down in my tummy, along my bikini line…what is it from and should I worry?”

11 September 2023

I encounter these questions regularly. Pelvic pain can be bewildering, but fear not! Today, we’re delving into some common culprits behind this discomfort. Whether you’re an active 18-year-old or gracefully navigating your 50s, this is relevant to all.

Muscle Magic: Our pelvic region is a hub of muscles, like the hip flexors and adductors. Just as you might strain a muscle in your arm or leg, these muscles can also experience strain or overuse. The pain often feels like a pull or twinge. Activities like intense workouts, dancing, or even sudden movements can be the culprit. Remember to stretch and listen to your body.

The Mysterious Hernia: A hernia may sound daunting, but it simply means a weak spot in the abdominal wall allows internal tissues to protrude. The inguinal hernia, for instance, pops up in the groin area. The pain can be sharp, especially when coughing or lifting. It’s more common than you think.

Ovarian Whispers: While most cysts are harmless and go unnoticed, some might cause a dull or sharp pain. Regular check-ups with the help of ultrasounds can monitor these.

Endometriosis: It can be a sneaky cause of chronic pelvic pain, often linked with menstrual cycles. If your periods are particularly painful, it’s worth a discussion with your gynaecologist.

Bladder Blues: Ever heard of interstitial cystitis? It’s a chronic bladder condition, leading to recurring pelvic pain. It’s not just about frequent bathroom trips; the discomfort can be a telltale sign.

Gastrointestinal Tales: Conditions like IBS can present as lower abdominal or pelvic pain. While it’s primarily a digestive issue, the symptoms can sometimes be misleading.

Pregnancy Ponderings: For our expecting or trying-to-conceive ladies, pelvic pain can come from round ligament discomfort, potential miscarriages, or even ectopic pregnancies. Always prioritise any unusual pain during pregnancy.

Time to see your gyno:  Pelvic pain is typically classified as “chronic” when it persists for six months or longer, regardless of whether it’s continuous or intermittent. If a woman experiences pelvic pain that doesn’t resolve or keeps recurring over this period, it’s considered chronic and warrants further investigation and management. However, any persistent or recurrent pelvic pain, even if it hasn’t been six months, should be evaluated by your GP in the first instance. It’s essential not to wait if the pain is severe or associated with other concerning symptoms.

The key takeaway? While not every discomfort spells disaster, it’s always wise to keep informed and consult with your GP and gynaecologist as needed.  Pelvic pain, while common, can be addressed, managed, and often resolved. Together, let’s make women’s health a dialogue, not a whisper.

 

#womenshealthmatters #goldcoastgynaecologist #pelvicpain #ovariancysts #endometriosis #tummyissues #bladderissues #pregnancy #gastrointestinalproblems  #goldcoastwomenshealth

 

The Power of Precision Excision

4 September 2023

Endometriosis is a complex and often painful condition that affects millions of women worldwide. Fortunately, advances in medical science have provided several treatment options. One of the most crucial decisions a woman facing endometriosis must make is choosing the right specialist for her care. In this blog, we will explore why excision surgery is a superior choice over ablation in treating endometriosis and why finding an experienced specialist is essential for effective treatment.

The Difference: Excision vs. Ablation
Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the womb, causing pain, fertility issues, and other symptoms. While both excision and ablation are surgical techniques used to remove endometrial lesions, they differ significantly in their approach and effectiveness.

Excision surgery involves meticulously cutting out the endometrial tissue, ensuring complete removal. This technique addresses the root of the problem, providing longer-lasting relief and improving fertility outcomes. On the other hand, ablation uses heat or energy to destroy the tissue’s surface, often leaving behind hidden lesions that can regrow, leading to recurrent symptoms.

The Need for Specialised Expertise
Not all gynaecologists are experts in excision surgery. It is a highly specialised skill that requires extensive training and experience. When seeking treatment for endometriosis, it is crucial to find a gynaecologist who specialises in excision and has a proven track record of successful surgeries.

Obtaining a Second Opinion
Seeking a second opinion is not only acceptable but often advisable when dealing with endometriosis. It’s essential to feel comfortable with your doctor and confident in their expertise. A second opinion can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision about your treatment plan.

Compassionate and Professional Care
A compassionate and professional gynaecologist understands the physical and emotional toll that endometriosis can take on a woman’s life. They should be willing to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and work collaboratively with you to create a personalised treatment plan that meets your needs.

#endometriosis #excisionvsablation #excisionsforendometriosis #goldcoastgynaecologist #endometriosisdoctor #specialisinginendometriosis #endowarriors #endometriosisblog #endoupdates

Dr Gary Swift blog - Celebrity Endo Warriors

Celebrities Sharing Their Endometriosis Experience

28 August 2023

Endometriosis has been gaining more visibility thanks to courageous celebrities who are speaking out about their experiences. These famous figures are shedding light on the challenges of living with endometriosis, offering insights into their coping mechanisms, and providing valuable advice for other women facing similar battles. One such inspiring voice is Bindi Irwin, along with several other influential women who are using their platform to raise awareness and support.

A Voice of Resilience
Bindi Irwin, known for her conservation efforts and star presence on reality TV, has been vocal about her struggles with endometriosis. In a candid statement, she revealed, “Some days you feel like you’re strong enough to battle the world, and other days the world is too much.” Bindi’s honesty in describing the fluctuating nature of her condition resonates with many who face the same challenges. Despite the pain, she remains resilient, sharing her journey to remind others that they are not alone.

Sharing the Pain and Coping Strategies
Other celebrities, too, have opened up about their endometriosis experiences, fostering a sense of community among those who share this condition. Award-winning singer Halsey has been candid about her fertility struggles due to endometriosis, expressing, “I’m in pain every day. It’s not an easy thing to live with.” By vocalising her experiences, Halsey is helping to break down the stigma surrounding the condition.

Coping with endometriosis is an ongoing battle, and these celebrities have found various ways to manage their pain and maintain their mental well-being. Model and actress Lena Dunham shared, “I now have a strong boundary with myself. I want to do things that make me feel good physically.” This emphasis on self-care and setting personal boundaries is a valuable reminder for others facing the same challenges.

Advice for the Endo Community
In their journey, these celebrities have accumulated wisdom and insights that they eagerly share with fellow endometriosis warriors. Actress and singer Julianne Hough offered heartfelt advice, saying, “Listen to your body and advocate for yourself. You’re not alone, and you deserve to be heard and taken seriously.” This advice underlines the importance of self-advocacy and the power of seeking medical attention that respects one’s experiences and pain.

The courage of all women who have spoken out about their endometriosis experiences is both inspiring and empowering. By shedding light on their struggles, sharing their coping strategies, and offering advice, they are providing a sense of solidarity and hope for the countless women who navigate the challenges of this condition every day. As awareness continues to grow, it is evident that these voices are making a positive impact, fostering a more compassionate and understanding world for those with endometriosis.

#endometriosiswarriors  #diagnosingendometriosis  #pelvicpaindisorders #endostories #goldcoastendometriosisdoctor #celebritieswithendometriosis #endocourage #resiliantwomen #inspiringsisters

 

Understanding Natural Killer Cells in Pregnancy

21 August 2023

Our body’s immune system, designed to ward off threats, can sometimes misfire and target our own tissues, triggering inflammation and disease. This holds particularly true for autoimmune conditions like Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, often impacting pregnancy by causing inflammation in the uterus and placenta, leading to implantation issues and recurrent miscarriages.

Pregnancy presents an intricate interplay between the immune system and the developing fetus. At the heart of this interaction are Natural Killer Cells (NK Cells), specialised immune cells that dominate the uterine environment. They peak during embryo implantation, primed to identify and eliminate non-“self” cells. However, if they misidentify placental and fetal cells as threats, complications like miscarriages can arise.

Research is actively exploring the correlation between NK Cell activity and reproductive success. Although the link is being investigated, it’s vital to note that a direct cause-and-effect relationship hasn’t been confirmed yet. While preliminary evidence suggests a connection between elevated NK Cell activity and reproductive challenges, more research is imperative to establish a conclusive link.

NK Cell activity can be assessed through a simple blood test, offering an alternative to traditional endometrial biopsies. If high NK Cell activity is detected, potential treatments including hormones and medications might be recommended, though these are still in the experimental phase. Ongoing research strives to unravel the complexities of our immune system in pregnancy, bringing renewed hope to those aspiring to start a family.

#fertility #goldcoastfertilityspecialist #naturalkillercells #pregnancyissues #aotoimmuneconditions #immunesystemandpregnancy #reproductivehealth 

Dr Gary Swift blog - Advancements in Endometriosis

Advancements in Endometriosis

14 August 2023

In recent years, positive strides have been made in the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis, a chronic condition that affects millions of women worldwide. As a gynaecologist, staying updated on these advancements is crucial for providing the best possible care to my patients. One approach that has emerged as the gold standard for achieving long-term results is the surgical excision of endometriosis. In this blog, I’d like to explore how the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis are improving over time, with a focus on the enduring effectiveness of surgical excision.

Historically, endometriosis has been notorious for its delayed diagnosis, leaving many women to suffer in silence for years. However, improved awareness among both patients and healthcare providers has led to earlier detection and intervention. Advanced imaging techniques, such as transvaginal ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), now offer clearer visualisation of endometriotic lesions, aiding in accurate diagnosis. Furthermore, the implementation of laparoscopy as a diagnostic tool allows gynaecologists to directly visualise and confirm the presence of endometriosis during minimally invasive procedures.

The landscape of endometriosis treatment has evolved beyond mere symptom management. Today, a multidisciplinary approach involving gynaecologists, pain specialists, and reproductive endocrinologists is emphasised to address the multifaceted nature of the condition. Hormonal therapies, like oral contraceptives and GnRH agonists, continue to be valuable options for managing pain and slowing disease progression. However, a significant breakthrough lies in the emphasis on surgical excision.

While hormonal therapies provide temporary relief, surgical excision has emerged as the gold standard for achieving long-term results in endometriosis management. This approach involves skilfully removing endometriotic lesions and affected tissue through minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures. Unlike ablation techniques, which burn or vaporise the superficial tissue, excision removes lesions at their roots, significantly reducing the chances of recurrence.

The benefits of surgical excision extend beyond symptom relief. Research indicates that excision surgery improves fertility outcomes for women struggling with infertility due to endometriosis. Moreover, excision offers a more comprehensive solution by addressing not only pain but also potential organ damage caused by the disease. With advancements in surgical techniques patients experience quicker recovery times and reduced postoperative discomfort.

By embracing these advancements and offering personalised care, I’m able to empower my patients to live their lives to the fullest despite the challenges posed by endometriosis.

#advancementsinendometriosis #endometriosistreament #diagnosingendometriosis #excisionforendometriosis #pelvicpaindisorders #chronispelvicpain #goldcoastendometriosisdoctor

Navigating the Maze of Endometriosis

7 August 2023

Navigating the journey of endometriosis can often feel like venturing through a complex maze. Today I’m writing to shed light on the perplexing diversity of symptoms that women with this condition experience, and the challenges it poses for diagnosis.

Endometriosis is a unique and enigmatic condition that affects women in various ways. Some may experience excruciating pelvic pain, while others might face infertility struggles, digestive issues, or even pain during intercourse. This range of symptoms can be confusing, leaving both patients and healthcare providers puzzled.

The reason behind these diverse symptoms lies in the nature of endometriosis itself. This condition occurs when tissue resembling the uterine lining grows outside the uterus, causing inflammation, scarring, and pain. Depending on where these growths (or lesions) occur and the extent of their spread, they can interact with different organs and nerves, leading to a wide array of symptoms.

Diagnosing endometriosis can be a complex puzzle due to these varying symptoms. Many of these manifestations, such as pelvic pain and irregular periods, can overlap with other conditions, leading to misdiagnoses or delayed diagnoses. This is why I emphasise the importance of open and honest communication with your gynaecologist. Sharing your complete medical history and describing your symptoms in detail can help us form a clearer picture and reach an accurate diagnosis sooner.

It’s also crucial to acknowledge that every woman’s journey with endometriosis is unique. I am committed to providing personalised care, understanding that each patient’s needs and experiences are different. Through compassionate listening, thorough examination, and the latest diagnostic tools, we can work together to unravel the complexities of endometriosis and pave the way for effective management and relief.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey. If you suspect you might have endometriosis or are struggling with its challenges, I’m here to offer support, understanding, and expert care every step of the way.

 

#endometriosis #diagnosingendometriosis #treatingendopain #endometriosisawareness #womenshealthadvocate #goldcoastendometriosis

Dr Gary Swift blog - Enhancing Patient Safety in IVF Laboratories

Enhancing Patient Safety in IVF Laboratories

31 July 2023


As advancements in technology continue to revolutionise the field of artificial reproductive technology, one particular area that has witnessed remarkable improvements is traceability and patient safety. At the forefront of this progress is the implementation of Electronic ID Tracking systems, such as the groundbreaking “Witness” system by the Queensland Fertility Group (QFG), which is transforming the landscape of IVF laboratories.

Electronic ID Tracking, also known as RFID tracking, has become a game-changer by ensuring meticulous allocation of patient identities to their respective samples and digitally tracking every vessel containing eggs, embryos, and sperm. With this sophisticated technology, the risk of errors in handling human samples is significantly minimised, providing a comprehensive system for monitoring and tracking patient samples throughout the IVF process.

The Witness system utilises smart tags affixed to dishes or tubes containing patient samples, securely storing electronically encoded patient information. At each workstation, these tags are automatically identified and tracked by antennae, ensuring swift and precise sample identification.

If a sample belonging to patient A was inadvertently placed together with a sample belonging to patient B, an audible alarm would promptly alert the scientist, effectively preventing any mix-ups.

However, the advantages of the Witness system do not end there. It goes beyond simply tracking sample movement. The system meticulously records the time of each technique and all items within the antennae’s range. This brilliant feature guarantees that only one patient’s samples are handled at any given time, significantly enhancing accuracy while greatly reducing the risk of cross-contamination.

The integration of Electronic ID tracking has eliminated the daunting risks associated with identity errors during laboratory procedures, granting both patients and staff unparalleled peace of mind. Additionally, the system’s ability to record all witnessed procedures allows for seamless auditing and verification of correct handling practices, further reinforcing the commitment to patient safety.

With technology playing an integral role in advancing the safety and efficiency of artificial reproductive technology over the past decade, the future holds exciting prospects for further evolution. As we eagerly anticipate the next ten years, it is undeniable that innovative solutions like the Witness system will continue to drive progress and elevate the standards of care in IVF laboratories, ultimately transforming the lives of countless hopeful parents.

#artificialreproductivetechnology #advancesinfertility #electronicidtracking #queenslandfertilitygroup #qfgtechnology  #goldcoastfertilityclinic #fertilitygynaecologist #creatingfamilies #ivfgoldcoast #fertilitysolutions 

Understanding Chronic Period Pain

24 July 2023

As a women’s health advocate, I find it essential to address a common concern among women – chronic, debilitating period pain. While some discomfort during menstruation is normal, experiencing severe and consistent pain is not. It’s crucial for women to recognise when period pain goes beyond the usual and requires medical attention. Let’s explore why chronic period pain is not normal, ways to manage pain, and when it’s time to come and see me.

The Importance of Recognising Abnormal Pain
Many women tend to dismiss period pain as an inevitable part of being a woman. However, chronic, intense pain can indicate an underlying medical condition that requires attention. Conditions like endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease may cause severe menstrual pain and can negatively impact a woman’s quality of life.

Managing Period Pain
While mild discomfort can be managed with self-care measures, chronic pain calls for more proactive management strategies. Here are some tips to help alleviate menstrual pain:

Heat therapy: Applying a heating pad or taking a warm bath can help soothe cramps and relax tense muscles.

Over-the-counter pain relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.

Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity can improve blood flow and reduce cramping.

Dietary adjustments: Reducing caffeine, salt, and processed foods while increasing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may alleviate symptoms.

When to Come and See Me
If the pain persists despite trying self-care measures, it’s essential to seek professional medical advice. During our consultations I will perform a thorough evaluation and, if necessary, conduct imaging tests or laparoscopy to diagnose potential underlying conditions. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve your quality of life and prevent potential complications in the future.

While some discomfort during menstruation is normal, chronic, severe period pain is not. Women should be aware of their bodies and recognise when pain exceeds the expected level. Practicing self-care measures can often help manage milder pain, but if the pain persists or worsens, it’s crucial to consult a gynaecologist.

#periodpain #periodpainisnotnormal #chronicperiodpain #treatingperiodpain #selfcare #menstrualissues #womenshealthadvocate

Dr Gary Swift blog - Advancements in Artificial Reproductive Technology

Transforming Fertility Solutions in Australia

17 July 2023

Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) has revolutionised the field of fertility treatment, offering new hope to countless individuals and couples struggling with infertility. Since its inception in Australia, ART has experienced remarkable advancements, leading to improved success rates, enhanced safety, and expanded treatment options. In this blog post, I will explore how ART has evolved over time, highlighting the key breakthroughs and their impact on reproductive medicine.

Introduction of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF): IVF, introduced in Australia in the late 1970s, marked the beginning of ART. It involved fertilising eggs with sperm outside the body and transferring the resulting embryos into the woman’s uterus. Over the years, IVF techniques have undergone significant refinements, optimising success rates and reducing complications.

Gamete and Embryo Freezing: The development of cryopreservation techniques has revolutionised ART. Sperm, eggs, and embryos can now be frozen and stored for future use, increasing the flexibility and success rates of fertility treatments. Vitrification, a newer rapid-freezing method, has further improved the survival rates of frozen embryos and gametes.

Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT): PGT allows the screening of embryos for genetic abnormalities before transfer. PGT-A (aneuploidy screening) and PGT-M (monogenic disorders) have become routine procedures, reducing the risk of implanting embryos with chromosomal abnormalities and genetic diseases. This advancement has significantly improved the chances of successful pregnancies and healthy babies.

Assisted Hatching and Blastocyst Transfer: Assisted hatching involves creating a small opening in the embryo’s outer shell, facilitating its implantation. Blastocyst transfer, where embryos are cultured for longer in the laboratory, allows for better selection of viable embryos. These techniques have increased the likelihood of successful implantation and reduced the risk of multiple pregnancies.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): ICSI revolutionised the treatment of male infertility by enabling the direct injection of a single sperm into an egg. This technique is beneficial for couples with severe male factor infertility and has significantly improved fertilisation rates and pregnancy outcomes.

Advances in Laboratory Techniques: ART laboratories have witnessed remarkable advancements, including improved culture media, time-lapse imaging systems, and advanced embryo selection technologies. These developments have enhanced embryo quality assessment and selection, resulting in higher success rates and reduced multiple pregnancy rates.

Artificial Reproductive Technology has come a long way since its inception in Australia. Advancements in the above techniques have transformed fertility solutions, offering renewed hope for individuals and couples struggling with infertility. These breakthroughs have increased the chances of successful pregnancies, minimised risks, and expanded the possibilities for building families. As a fertility specialist, I stay updated with these advancements to provide the best possible care and support to patients seeking ART treatments. With ongoing research and technological innovation, the future of ART looks promising, holding the potential to further improve fertility outcomes and bring joy to countless families across Australia.

#artificialreproductivetechnology #advancesinfertility #goldcoastfertilityclinic #fertilitygynaecologist #creatingfamilies #ivfgoldcoast #fertilitysolutions 

Menopause Sweat

10 July 2023

Menopause can bring about various changes in your body. One common concern is the difference in the odour of sweat during this time. During menopause, hormonal fluctuations can lead to increased sweating, and this can affect the way your sweat smells. The change in odour is primarily due to shifts in hormone levels, particularly estrogen. Estrogen plays a role in regulating sweat gland activity and its absence or reduction during menopause can alter the composition of sweat. This change in sweat composition can result in a different smell. It’s important to remember that this is a normal part of the menopausal journey and not something to be overly concerned about.

When it comes to managing changes in sweat odour during menopause, there are a few strategies you can consider. Here are some suggestions:

Maintain good hygiene:
Regularly showering and practicing proper hygiene can help manage sweat odour. Use mild soaps and antibacterial washes to keep your skin clean and fresh.

Wear breathable clothing: Opt for natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, or bamboo, as they allow your skin to breathe and minimise sweat retention.

Use antiperspirants or deodorants: These products can help control sweat and neutralise odour.

Stay hydrated: Drinking an adequate amount of water helps regulate body temperature and can potentially reduce excessive sweating.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), can also be an effective option for managing various menopausal symptoms, including changes in sweat patterns. HRT involves taking hormones, such as estrogen and sometimes progesterone, to supplement your body’s declining hormone levels. By restoring hormonal balance, HRT may help regulate sweat production and potentially alleviate changes in sweat odour.

However, HRT is not suitable for everyone.  If you come to see me we will discuss the potential benefits and risks, taking into consideration your medical history, to help you make an informed decision about whether HRT is a suitable option for you.

Remember, each person’s experience with menopause is unique, so it’s essential to work closely with your gynaecologist to find the most appropriate management strategies for your specific needs.

 

#menopausesymptoms #hormonereplacementtherapy #managingmenopause #goldcoastgynaecologist

Dr Gary Swift blog - Endometriosis & Diet (1)

Endometriosis & Diet

3 July 2023

Everyone’s diet for endometriosis is different, so unfortunately there’s no “one-size-fits-all endo diet.” Endometriosis affects people in various ways. It can show up in different parts of the body and cause different symptoms of different intensities. Choosing the right foods to best support endometriosis symptoms is just as variable.  Some people with endometriosis decide to consult with a dietician who specialises in the disease, and this can be helpful. If you want to try adjusting your diet first, here are a few things to consider that may help:

Your likes and dislikes matter.
When you’re deciding what dietary changes to make, it’s important to consider what you actually want. Of course, evidence and experience from doctors are important, but your own preferences count too. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to ask if there’s a different option or a way to make it more suitable for you.

Don’t forget the basics.
Most of the time, a good endometriosis diet means eating REGULARLY and eating ENOUGH. When you’re well-nourished, your body functions better, especially your gut and nervous system. Usually, that means having three meals and a couple of snacks every 2-4 hours, but you can adjust that to what works for you.

Take it easy.
It’s common to feel the need to heal quickly, but trying to do too much at once can overwhelm your body and mind. Plus, if you make a lot of changes or take many supplements all together, you won’t know which one is actually helping. It’s better to get some guidance and focus on 1-3 changes first, and then go from there.

Be patient while getting used to changes.
Making dietary changes can take practice and adjustment. But if it continues to be hard or adds more stress in the long run, it might not be worth it.

Bodies change over time with support.
Unless you have an allergy or a condition like celiac disease that requires you to avoid certain foods completely, you probably won’t have to cut out foods forever. You might find that your body’s response to food changes over time. Keep an open mind and listen to how your body feels. Pay attention to how your symptoms are affected by the world around you. Eventually, you might let go of old eating habits or try something new.

You can change your mind.
Once you make a dietary change, it’s okay to change your mind later or go back to how things were. It’s not a failure, it’s just part of the process.

Endometriosis is a tricky disease, so make sure you’re being cared for by an experienced gynaecologist who can put you in touch with the right professionals to support you. There are also great resources to be found on www.qendo.org.au and www.endometriosisaustralia.org.

 

#endometriosisdiet #endometriosis #eatingwithendo #endometriosisgoldcoast #dietandendometriosis 

Global Decline in Sperm Counts

26 June 2023

A groundbreaking meta-analysis conducted by an international team of researchers led by Professor Hagai Levine and Professor Shanna Swan has revealed a concerning global decline in sperm counts. The study confirms previous findings of declining sperm counts in North America, Europe, and Australia and extends the analysis to encompass South and Central America, Asia, and Africa.

The research, which examined data from 53 countries spanning 46 years, demonstrates a significant decline of over 50% in total sperm counts (TSC) and sperm concentration (SC) worldwide. Disturbingly, the decline has accelerated in recent years, raising serious concerns for fertility and men’s health.

This decline in sperm counts is not solely an issue of fertility but also a reflection of men’s overall health. Low sperm counts have been associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases, testicular cancer, and reduced lifespan. These findings underscore the urgent need for global action to address the environmental and lifestyle factors contributing to this crisis.

Although the specific causes of declining sperm counts were not explored in this study, emerging research suggests that disruptions during fetal reproductive tract development, influenced by environmental chemicals and lifestyle choices, play a significant role.

Fertility specialists stress the importance of prioritising reproductive health and advocating for healthier environments that minimise exposure to harmful factors. The declining sperm counts are part of a broader concern known as testicular dysgenesis syndrome, a collection of adverse trends in men’s reproductive health, including declining sperm counts, testicular cancer, hormonal disruption, and genital birth defects.

This research serves as a wake-up call for individuals, communities, and policymakers to take proactive steps towards preserving fertility and ensuring the well-being of future generations. By addressing the factors contributing to declining sperm counts, we can work towards a healthier and more fertile future. Consulting with a fertility specialist, such as myself, can provide personalised guidance and assistance for those facing challenges in their fertility journey.

Reference: Levine H, Jørgensen N, Martino-Andrade A, Mendiola J, Weksler-Derri D, Jolles M, Pinotti R, Swan SH. Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis of samples collected globally in the 20th and 21st centuries. Hum Reprod Update. 2023 Mar 1;29(2):157-176. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmac035. PMID: 36377604.

 

#spermcountstudy #declineinspermcount #fertilityresearch #spermandenvironmentalfactors #healthysperm #fertilityissues #malefertility #goldcoastfertilityclinic #fertilitydoctor

 

Dr Gary Swift blog - How would I know if I had endo

How do I know if I have endometriosis 

June 2023

Endometriosis is a condition that affects 190 million women around the globe. It’s when the tissue lining your uterus decides to venture outside and cause a ruckus. This can lead to pain, inflammation, and even fertility problems. But how do you know if you’ve got it? And what should you do to get a proper diagnosis? Let’s dive into these questions.

Endometriosis symptoms typically rear their heads during your reproductive years, usually between 25 and 35. However, keep in mind that everyone’s different, so it could happen earlier or later. Watch out for these common signs:

Pelvic Pain: Ongoing discomfort, especially during periods, intercourse, or when nature calls.

Killer Cramps: The kind of menstrual cramps that make you want to curl up and cry.

Unpredictable Flow: Heavy bleeding or periods that show up whenever they feel like it.

Fertility Hurdles: Trouble getting pregnant or dealing with repeated miscarriages.

If you suspect endometriosis is wreaking havoc on your body, it’s time to pay a visit to your gynaecologist. If you come to see me, here’s how the process usually goes:

Talk It Out:  We’ll chat about your symptoms and medical history, and I’ll likely perform a pelvic exam to check for any red flags.

Picture Perfect: I might send you for an ultrasound or MRI scan to get a better look at what’s happening inside.

We’ll start treating conservatively: To start with we’ll see if over-the-counter pain relievers or hormone-based medications ease the pain and inflammation.  Birth control pills, progestins, or GnRH agonists can sometimes help regulate hormones, slow down endometrial growth, and manage symptoms.

A Closer Look: If I feel you have endometriosis that requires intervention or further investigation (or another pelvic issue) I’ll recommend a laparoscopy to directly observe your pelvic organs and confirm the presence of endometriosis.  This is the only definitive way to diagnose the disease. The great thing about laparoscopy is that I will remove the lesions during the same procedure. So it’s not just exploratory, it’s also the treatment.

Recognising the signs of endometriosis is crucial for a timely diagnosis and effective management. If you suspect you might have it, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or your own gynaecologist. Remember, each woman’s experience with endometriosis is unique, so finding the right treatment plan tailored to your needs is key. By taking action, you can alleviate symptoms, enhance your quality of life, and preserve your fertility.

#livingwithendometriosis #endometriosis #dailylifewithendo #endometriosisgoldcoast #howdoiknowifihaveendometriosis #symptomsofendometriosis #fertiltityconcerns

The Evolution of Cervical Screening

12 June 2023

Welcome back to my blog where I discuss important topics related to women’s health. Today, we are diving into the significant changes that have occurred in cervical screening over the past decade, leading to the introduction of the cervical screening test (CST) in Australia. Let’s explore how these advancements benefit women and contribute to the prevention of cervical cancer.

In December 2017, Australia implemented a shift from traditional pap smears to the more advanced cervical screening test. This change aimed to enhance the accuracy of cervical cancer detection and prevention. Unlike pap smears, the CST not only examines cervical cells but also detects the presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause of cervical cancer.

One of the notable advantages of the CST is its improved accuracy in detecting cervical abnormalities, including precancerous changes, at an earlier stage. By identifying these changes earlier, women can receive timely treatment, reducing the risk of developing invasive cervical cancer. Additionally, the CST enables healthcare providers to assess the risk of cervical cancer more accurately, allowing for appropriate follow-up care.

The transition to the CST has also extended the recommended testing interval from every two years to every five years for women with normal results. This longer interval reduces the number of screening visits, making it more convenient for women while maintaining the effectiveness of the screening process.

Since the implementation of the CST, it is estimated that up to 30% more cervical cancers will be prevented compared to the old pap smear program. This significant reduction in cancer incidence is attributed to the increased sensitivity of the CST in detecting abnormalities and HPV infections. The introduction of this advanced screening method aligns with the ultimate goal of reducing the rates of cervical cancer and improving women’s health in Australia.

While the CST offers longer testing intervals, it’s crucial for women to maintain routine gynaecological examinations with their healthcare providers. These regular check-ups play a vital role in overall reproductive health and allow for personalised discussions about individual circumstances, helping determine the most appropriate screening schedule. Open communication with your gynaecologist ensures comprehensive care and maximises the benefits of the cervical screening process.

The evolution from pap smears to the cervical screening test represents a significant leap in cervical cancer prevention and detection. With its enhanced accuracy, inclusion of HPV testing, and extended testing intervals, the CST empowers women to take charge of their health and significantly reduces the incidence of cervical cancer. Regular check-ups and discussions with your gynaecologist are key to maintaining optimal reproductive health and ensuring the effectiveness of cervical screening.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure, and by staying informed and proactive, we can continue to make strides towards a healthier future for women everywhere.

#goldcoastwomenshealth #advancesingynaecology #reproductivehealth #cervicalcancerprevention #cervicalscreening #papsmears

Dr Gary Swift Blog - Living with Endometriosis

Living with endometriosis

5 June 2023

Women who have endometriosis often describe how it affects their day-to-day life in various ways. Here are some common ways women may express the impact of endometriosis:

  1. Chronic pain: Endometriosis can cause intense pelvic pain that may vary in intensity, but is chronic. Women may experience pain during menstruation, ovulation, sexual intercourse, or even during regular daily activities. The pain can be debilitating, affecting their ability to work, study, or engage in social activities.

  2. Fatigue and low energy: Endometriosis can cause extreme fatigue and low energy levels. Women may feel drained and exhausted, even after getting sufficient rest. Fatigue can make it challenging to perform daily tasks, leading to reduced productivity and difficulty in maintaining an active lifestyle.

  3. Menstrual irregularities: Women with endometriosis may experience irregular menstrual cycles, which can include heavy or prolonged periods, spotting between periods, or irregular bleeding. This can be physically uncomfortable and emotionally distressing, affecting their ability to plan activities or events around their menstrual cycle.

  4. Fertility issues: Endometriosis is a known cause of infertility or difficulty in conceiving. Women with endometriosis may face challenges in starting or expanding their families, which can be emotionally distressing and impact their overall quality of life.

  5. Emotional and psychological impact: Dealing with chronic pain, fatigue, and the uncertainty of fertility can take a toll on a woman’s emotional well-being. Women with endometriosis may experience anxiety, depression, mood swings, and feelings of frustration or hopelessness. The emotional impact can affect relationships, work, and overall enjoyment of life.

  6. Impact on relationships and social life: The unpredictable nature of endometriosis symptoms can make it difficult for women to commit to social engagements or maintain regular plans with friends and family. They may have to cancel or reschedule activities due to pain or fatigue, leading to feelings of isolation or guilt.

  7. Work and career impact: The symptoms of endometriosis can interfere with work productivity and attendance. Frequent pain episodes, fatigue, and the need for medical treatments or surgeries may result in missed workdays, reduced work hours, or difficulty in pursuing career advancement opportunities.

It is important to note that the severity and impact of endometriosis can vary greatly among individuals. Each person’s experience with endometriosis is unique, and the effects on their day-to-day life can be influenced by factors such as the stage of the disease, individual pain tolerance, access to specialised healthcare, and support systems available to them.

Seeing a gynaecologist who specialises in endometriosis is the best first step towards returning to your normal activities and lifestyle.  You really need to see a specialist who has extensive experience in treating endo, with good outcomes.

#livingwithendometriosis #endowarrior #dailylifewithendo #endometriosisgoldcoast

You are pregnant! 

29 May 2023

Today, I want to take a moment to reflect on the incredible joy that comes with the work I do as fertility specialist. Every day, I embark on a journey filled with hope, compassion, and unwavering dedication to help people achieve their dream of parenthood.

There is nothing quite like the indescribable feeling that washes over me when I get to share the life-changing news with a couple or woman that they are expecting. It’s a moment that encapsulates years of struggle, tears shed, and the resilience shown by my amazing patients.

In my pursuit of bringing forth miracles, I witness the strength of the human spirit firsthand. I hold hands, lend a listening ear, and walk beside my patients every step of the way. I empathise with their fears and frustrations, and together, we navigate through the ups and downs of this challenging journey.

But when the day arrives, and I finally get to tell them those three magical words— “You are pregnant!”—the world momentarily stands still. It’s an awe-inspiring moment filled with pure happiness, tears of joy, and dreams realised.

Each positive pregnancy test result symbolises a testament to the perseverance and unwavering determination of my incredible patients. It reminds me why I chose this path, why I committed my life to the pursuit of creating families, and why I consider it an absolute privilege to be a part of their stories.

I witness the bonds forged during the fertility process, the unwavering support of partners, and the strength gained through a network of friends and family. My patients teach me about resilience, hope, and the profound love that knows no boundaries.

Today, as I celebrate these remarkable victories, let me also acknowledge the countless unsung heroes—the amazing team of nurses, embryologists, psychologists, and support staff. Their unwavering dedication and expertise play an integral role in creating miracles, providing compassionate care, and nurturing the dreams patients.

To all the couples who have graced my clinic with their trust, I am forever grateful for allowing me to be a part of your extraordinary journey. Your courage, resilience, and love inspire me every single day.

Let us continue to spread hope and support one another in this beautiful community. Together, we can create a brighter future and fulfill countless dreams of parenthood.

With heartfelt gratitude and joy,
Gary

#goldcoastfertilitydoctor #fertilityspecialist  #reproductivehealth #qfg #fertilityjoy #yourepregnant #couplegoals

Freezing Eggs blogs 21 May 2023

Freezing Eggs for the Future

21 May 2023

In today’s modern society, women are embracing their independence and pursuing various personal and professional aspirations. As part of this journey, many are exploring the option of freezing their eggs. This ground-breaking reproductive technology allows women to take control of their fertility and preserve the opportunity to start a family at a time that aligns with their life goals. In this blog, we will delve into the reasons why single women may consider egg freezing, the process involved, and the potential benefits it offers.

Reasons to Consider Egg Freezing:

Pursuing Career Goals: Many ambitious women in Australia dedicate their prime years to establishing a successful career. By choosing to freeze their eggs, they can prioritise professional growth without compromising their chances of having biological children later in life. Egg freezing allows women to delay motherhood while investing in their careers, providing them with a sense of empowerment and flexibility.

Personal and Emotional Growth: Single Australian women may want to focus on personal development and explore new experiences before settling down. By freezing their eggs, they can enjoy the freedom to travel, pursue hobbies, and build meaningful relationships without the pressure of an imminent biological clock. Egg freezing provides the opportunity to take charge of their reproductive choices, leading to greater emotional well-being and self-fulfilment.

Medical Reasons: Certain medical conditions, such as cancer or autoimmune disorders, may require treatments that can potentially harm fertility. Egg freezing offers a proactive solution, enabling women to preserve their eggs before undergoing these treatments. By safeguarding their reproductive options, women can enhance their chances of conceiving later in life, even if medical interventions impact their fertility.

The technology behind egg freezing has evolved significantly in recent years. With advances in freezing techniques and thawing protocols, the chances of successful pregnancies from frozen eggs have significantly increased. By freezing their eggs at a younger age, women can potentially increase their chances of conception when they are ready to start a family.

Egg freezing offers women an invaluable opportunity to preserve their fertility and align parenthood with their personal aspirations. By freezing eggs at an optimal age, women can gain emotional peace of mind and the flexibility to pursue their dreams without compromising on family-building possibilities.

 

#eggfreezing #fertilitypreservation #fertility #reproductivetechnology #lifegoals #allthesingleladies

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Supporting your daughter 

15 May 2023

As a father to a daughter, I understand that talking about periods, pelvic pain, and birth control with your teenage daughter can be challenging. However, it’s important to remember that as a parent, you have a vital role to play in helping your daughter navigate these important aspects of her reproductive health.

Firstly, let’s talk about periods. For many young girls, starting their period can be a confusing and sometimes scary experience, but you can help your daughter feel more comfortable by providing her with information and guidance. Encourage her to ask questions and talk openly with you about her period, so she can learn how to manage it comfortably. You can help her prepare by stocking up on period supplies and talking to her about menstrual hygiene. Encourage her to track her cycle using a period app or calendar, so she can learn more about her body and be better prepared.

Pelvic pain can also be a common issue for teenage girls. If your daughter is experiencing chronic pelvic pain, she should see a gynaecologist to identify any underlying causes and receive appropriate treatment. You can support your daughter through this by providing comfort and reassurance. Remind her that she is not alone and that you are there to support her.

When it comes to birth control, many parents may feel hesitant to discuss this topic with their daughters. However, it’s important to talk about contraception and its role in preventing unwanted pregnancies. Encourage your daughter to talk to her gynaecologist or GP about her options and help her understand the pros and cons of each method. It’s also important to emphasise the importance of safe sex practices using condoms, and how they can help protect against sexually transmitted infections.  It’s important she understand she should still use a condom even if on the pill.

When I see a teenage girl or young woman as a patient, her mum often attends with her as moral support.  This is helpful for the patient (a second pair of ears is always good when taking in medical information) and it’s a good way for the mother to understand how she can best assist her daughter through the issue.

#gynaecologicalhealth #womenshealth #goldcoastgynaecologist #gynaecologyforteenagers #gynaecologicaleducation #reproductivehealth #goldcoastteenagers #youngwomenofthegoldcoast

Healthy Sperm

Having healthy sperm

2 May 2023

Sperm health plays a crucial role in a couple’s ability to conceive, so it’s important to fully understand what sperm health entails or how it affects your chances of getting pregnant. In this blog, we will explore what sperm health is and why it is essential for male fertility.

What is Sperm Health?
Sperm health refers to the quality and quantity of sperm in a man’s semen. The health of a man’s sperm can impact his ability to fertilise a woman’s egg and achieve a successful pregnancy. Sperm health can be evaluated by measuring several factors, including sperm count, motility, and morphology.

Sperm Count
Sperm count is the number of sperm present in a man’s semen. A healthy sperm count ranges from 15 million to more than 200 million sperm per millilitre of semen. Low sperm count, also known as oligospermia, can make it challenging to conceive naturally. In cases of severe oligospermia, assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), may be necessary.

Sperm Motility
Sperm motility refers to the ability of sperm to swim forward and reach the egg. Healthy sperm have a progressive motility rate of at least 32%. Low sperm motility, also known as asthenospermia, can reduce the chances of fertilisation as the sperm may not be able to reach the egg.

Sperm Morphology
Sperm morphology refers to the size and shape of the sperm. A healthy sperm has a regular oval head and a long, straight tail. Abnormalities in sperm morphology, also known as teratospermia, can affect sperm function and reduce fertility.

Factors that Affect Sperm Health
Several factors can impact a man’s sperm health, including:

1.  Age: As men age, their sperm quality decreases, and the risk of genetic abnormalities in the sperm increases.

2.  Lifestyle: Unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and drug use, can harm sperm quality.

3.  Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as varicocele (enlargement of the veins within the scrotum), hormonal imbalances and infections can impact sperm production and quality.

4.  Environmental factors: Exposure to environmental toxins, such as pesticides, lead, and radiation can affect sperm health.

Improving Sperm Health
Fortunately, several lifestyle changes and medical treatments can improve sperm health. Some tips to improve sperm health include:

1.  Quit smoking and limit alcohol and drug use.

2.  Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.

3.  Manage stress through meditation, yoga, or other relaxation techniques.

4.  Get enough sleep and avoid overheating the testicles, such as by wearing tight-fitting clothing or taking hot baths.

5.  Take multivitamins and supplements that contain antioxidants and other nutrients that promote healthy sperm.

So as you can see, sperm health plays a crucial role in male fertility, and there are several factors can affect it. But by making healthy lifestyle choices and taking steps to improve sperm health, couples can increase their chances of achieving a successful pregnancy and fulfilling their dreams of parenthood.

This may sound complex and overwhelming, but please know that I break it down into simple terms for each fertility couple I see. My treatment plan for you will be unique to your circumstances, well explained and realistic. Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to be contorting yourself into yoga poses to reduce stress if that’s not your thing 😊

#spermhealth #malefertility #tryingtoconceive #assistedreproductivetechnology #healthylifestyle #goldcoastfertilityspecialist #goldcoastfertilityclinic #drgaryswiftblog #fertilityblog #couplegoals #wewanttohaveababy

 



 

Why I love what I do 

24 April 2023

I find it an incredible honour and privilege to work in women’s health. Every day I have the opportunity to help women of all ages and backgrounds navigate some of the most important and intimate aspects of their lives.

One of the things I appreciate most about my job is the deep trust that my patients place in me. From routine exams and screenings to complex surgeries and treatments, women come to me for guidance and support during some of their most vulnerable moments. Being able to offer compassionate, personalised care that meets each woman’s unique needs is incredibly rewarding.

At the same time, I am constantly learning and growing as a professional. Women’s gynaecological health is an evolving field, with new research and treatments emerging regularly. Keeping up with the latest developments and technologies helps me to provide the best possible care to my patients, and I am grateful for the opportunities I have to stay on the cutting edge of my field.

Working in women’s health on the Gold Coast is also a unique privilege. This beautiful area is home to a diverse and vibrant community, and I feel fortunate to be able to serve women from all walks of life. Whether they are women just starting to explore their reproductive options, or others facing complex health challenges, I am always inspired by their strength and resilience.

Overall, there are few things more rewarding than helping women achieve their health goals and live their best lives


#gynaecologicalhealth #womenshealth #goldcoastgynaecologist #whyilovebeingagynaecologist

My approach to fertility treatment

My Approach to Fertility Treatment

11 April 2023

I understand that attending your first appointment to discuss fertility can be a daunting experience. However, I want to assure you that my approach is one of kindness, empathy, and understanding.

When you attend your first appointment with me, I take the time to get to know you both. I understand that every couple’s journey to parenthood is unique, and I want to hear your story. I listen carefully to your concerns, desires, and previous experiences. I also ask about your medical history, lifestyle, and any factors that may be impacting your fertility.

Once I have a thorough understanding of your situation, we’ll run relevant tests and then develop a personalised treatment plan based on the results and your unique needs. I believe that every couple deserves an individualised approach to fertility treatment, and I take pride in my ability to create a plan that addresses each couple’s unique situation.

I also understand that achieving a successful outcome is the ultimate goal. My approach to fertility treatment is one that is grounded in science and technology, but also one that embraces the human element. I believe that by combining cutting-edge treatments with a compassionate and personalised approach, we can help many couples achieve their dream of starting a family.

Throughout your treatment, my teams and I will be there to provide support, guidance, and care. I understand that the journey to parenthood can be challenging, but it is my goal to make it as smooth and stress-free as possible. 

#fertilitygoldcoast #goldcoastfertilityclinic #ivfgoldcoast #infertilitytreatment #reproductivehealthgoldcoast #fertilityspecialist #goldcoastgynaecologistblog #fertilityblog

Excision for Endometriosis 

3 April 2023

As a gynaecologist who specialises in this field, I see many patients with endometriosis, a condition where the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of it. Endometriosis can be a painful and debilitating condition, affecting a woman’s quality of life in many ways. While there are a number of treatment options for endometriosis, I strongly believe that excision surgery is the gold standard for endometriosis removal, as it offers many benefits to patients.

Excision surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that involves removing the endometriosis tissue from the affected areas. This is done through tiny incisions in the abdomen, using a laparoscope to guide the surgeon’s instruments. Unlike other surgical procedures for endometriosis, such as ablation, excision surgery completely removes the affected tissue, rather than just burning or destroying it. This is important because it reduces the chances of the endometriosis tissue growing back, which can be a problem with other treatments.

One of the main benefits of excision surgery is that it can significantly reduce pain and other symptoms associated with endometriosis. Because the surgery removes the affected tissue, it can provide long-term relief from the pain, cramping, and discomfort that endometriosis can cause. This can be especially important for women who have tried other treatments, such as hormonal therapy, without success.

Another benefit of excision surgery is that it can improve fertility in women with endometriosis. Endometriosis can cause scarring and adhesions in the pelvic area, which can make it difficult or even impossible for a woman to conceive. Excision surgery can remove these adhesions and improve the chances of successful conception.

Overall, I believe that excision surgery is the best option for women with endometriosis who are looking for long-term relief from their symptoms. While it is a surgical procedure, it is minimally invasive and has a high success rate. If you are struggling with endometriosis, I encourage you to speak with your gynaecologist about the benefits of excision surgery and whether it might be the right choice for you.

#endometriosissurgery #endometriosisawareness #goldcoastgynecology #gynecologistgoldcoast #endometriosisexcision #goldcoasthealth #endowarrior #pelvicpain #goldcoastwomenshealth #endometriosisspecialist #endometriosistreatment #goldcoastmedical #healthcaregoldcoast

Understanding Endo blog

Understanding Endo 

13 March 2023

Endometriosis is an often misunderstood and underestimated health condition that affects an estimated 1 in 10 women. Despite the reported prevalence, many women find themselves struggling to even get a diagnosis from their doctor. Women have to become their own advocates in order to get the best and most timely treatment possible, as well as to manage their condition and look after their mental health.

Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that lines the uterus, the endometrium, grows outside the uterus, most commonly on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining the pelvis. It is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors and can cause a variety of symptoms, including painful menstrual cramps, heavy periods, pelvic pain and pain during intercourse. Because the symptoms vary greatly and because they often mimic other reproductive health conditions such as fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and ovarian cysts, endometriosis is often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.

Often, women with endometriosis have to go from doctor to doctor until they find one that is willing to listen to them and take them seriously. It is incredibly important for women to ensure that they have a reliable doctor that is willing to investigate any symptoms that they may have. Women should never be embarrassed to ask for a second opinion, demand a diagnosis, or ask for a referral to a specialist if needed. It can also be beneficial to keep a diary of symptoms to help a doctor better understand the condition.

Though endometriosis is a chronic condition, there are many effective treatments available. These can range from hormone therapy to surgery. It is important for women to find the right treatment plan for them, one that manages the condition while also helping to alleviate symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Women with endometriosis should be aware of their right to advocate for themselves and not give up until they get the diagnosis and treatment they need. It is important to remember that it’s okay to ask questions and demand more help, and that they are not alone in their journey. With the right treatment, women with endometriosis can still lead a happy, healthy, and productive life.