Ask the Pharmacist Women’s Health Week edition

Ask the Pharmacist Women’s Health Week edition

At National Pharmacies, your health is our priority. That’s why we provide a range of professional health services in-store to ensure your health and wellbeing is taken care of every day. At National Pharmacies, your health is our priority. That’s why we provide a range of professional health services in-store to ensure your health and wellbeing is taken care of every day. At National Pharmacies, your health is our priority. That’s why we provide a range of professional health services in-store to ensure your health and wellbeing is taken care of every day. At National Pharmacies, your health is our priority. That’s why we provide a range of professional health services in-store to ensure your health and wellbeing is taken care of every day. At National Pharmacies, your health is our priority. That’s why we provide a range of professional health services in-store to ensure your health and wellbeing is taken care of every day.

Q. How soon do the over the counter (OTC) pregnancy test display a positive reading and when should you use one?

A. The home or OTC pregnancy test is a urine test which detects the presence of a hormone; human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) This hormone is produced by the placenta shortly after the embryo attaches to the uterine lining and builds up rapidly in the body in the first few days of pregnancy.

Urine tests can be performed in two different ways; one involves collecting urine in a cup and dipping a stick into the urine or putting urine into a special container with an eyedropper. The other involves placing a stick into your urine stream and catching your urine in midstream. It is important to follow the instructions which may differ between tests.

It is recommended that you wait until you have missed a period to take a home test. The earliest you can take a test would be 14 days from possible conception.

Morning testing is usually recommended due to higher concentrations of hCG which may be diluted during the day as you drink fluids.

False negative results may be due to the following:

• The test kit is used too early meaning hCG levels are too low to be detected.

• The test is incorrectly timed. Use an accurate timekeeper, such as a kitchen timer.

• The test is used incorrectly as directions are not followed.

• The urine is too diluted with fluids so the hCG levels were not detectible.

It is always recommended to confirm positive tests with a blood test performed by your GP.

For more information contact your National Pharmacies pharmacist.

Q: I do lots of sport at school. Is it okay to exercise when I have my period or will this give me cramps?

A: Period pain or cramps usually start on the first day or two of you period. Cramps are caused by an excessive level of prostaglandins that make the uterus contract during menstruation. The pain probably results from contractions of the uterus and the resulting reduction in blood supply to the uterine lining (endometrium).

There is no need to stop exercising during your period as exercise may assist with reducing the pain caused by cramps, not make them worse. Exercise causes the release of endorphins (the feel good hormones), which can reduce the pain associated with cramps.

In general, exercise will not increase bleeding with the exception of women with heavy cycles. For these women, it is recommended to reduce strenuous exercise and consider lighter exercises, such as swimming or yoga during their heaviest days. There is no need to stop exercise completely due to a heavy flow. It is important to continue to be active during your period and there is no need to stop playing the sport you love.

Please contact your doctor if your period pain is so severe that it interferes with your daily life and stops you going to school or work.

For more information see Jean Hailes Foundation at https://jeanhailes.org. au/health-a-z/periods/period-pain or contact your National Pharmacies pharmacist.

Author

Robyn Johns, Senior Pharmacist, National Pharmacies

Q: I hear there is a new pap smear test. Can you explain the difference?

A: The new cervical screening test is known as Human Papillomavirus (HPV) test. HPV are small viruses that can cause abnormal changes to cervical cells and lead to cervix cancer. HPV infection is very common and in most cases, the HPV virus is cleared up by our immune system. Virtually all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV.

A pap smear test detects cell changes or abnormal cells that may potentially develop into cancerous cells if left untreated. The HPV test detects the infection that may lead to abnormal cell changes prior to the development of cervical cancer, not cell changes.

The procedure for collecting the sample for HPV testing is the same as the procedure for having a pap smear. Cells are lightly scraped or brushed off the cervix by a healthcare professional. The cell samples are then sent to pathology laboratory for examination.

As of 1st of December 2017, a 5 yearly human papillomavirus (HPV) test will be available for women aged 25 to 74 under the renewed National Cervical Screening Program. The HPV test will be replacing the current 2 yearly pap smear test.

Author

Sumin Cheng, Pharmacist, National Pharmacies Norwood

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