June 21, 2024

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Top health concerns for women you should know

smiling pretty female patient feeling warmth when doctor concern her.

Reassess and reevaluate your health with professionals. (Photo: Getty Images)

by Dr. Julian Ng, DTAP Clinic

SINGAPORE – Plenty of diseases can occur over time, but there are a few female-specific conditions that are capable of significantly reducing a woman’s quality of life. The top five health concerns for women are:

  1. Obesity

  2. Chronic disease – Hypertension, High Cholesterol, Diabetes

  3. Fertility issues

  4. Osteoporosis

  5. Cancers – including breast cancer

What are the signs?

A lot of the conditions that affect women’s health lie silent, until the problem gets worse. These include having abnormal vaginal discharge or bleeding, frequent fractures after a fall or even the repercussions of chronic disease such as weight gain, early signs of heart disease or stroke such as chest pain, dizziness and fainting episodes.

Early detection of chronic disease with an essential health screening at DTAP Express, coupled with Nutritional screening and female cancer marker screening, can give a deeper insight into a woman’s state of health and any silent conditions which require early intervention.

What are the most common women problems seen at DTAP clinics?

Women often come into DTAP clinics to get long-term contraception like Nexplanon, Implanon, IUD (intra-uterine devices), Depo Provera Injections. These are customized for ladies who prefer longer-term contraception compared to daily pills, or for women who encounter side effects to the daily pills.

Another common concern we address is HPV treatment, prevention and testing. This is a complex series of care steps for the woman, with the ultimate goal of preventing cervical cancer. Procedures and treatments range from Gardasil 9 Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations, to regular PAP smears and HPV tests, to active HPV wart treatments. Some cases require further specialised tests, like Colposcopy, which is a visualisation of the cervix under telescopic magnification. These tests are carried out with other trusted healthcare partners, in coordination with our care.

Osteoporosis from nutritional deficiencies, menopause, aging and long-term contraceptive use is something that affects aging women. This is another important aspect of women’s health that starts with a Nutritional Health Screening Blood test at DTAP Express. This test may pick up deficiencies in vitamin D, calcium, B12 and folate. Further checks for osteoporosis at DTAP clinic will include a detailed clinical history and a bone mineral density scan which can analyze and monitor this in further detail. While there is no “cure” for osteoporosis, patients can still manage and arrest the condition from progression.

Is self-testing reliable? Will patients make mistakes?

Self-tests for women fall into two main categories: Blood tests done by our on-site phlebotomist, and vaginal self swabs, done mainly for sexual health screenings. With a clear set of instructions, women are able to collect their own self swabs easily.

To date, after more than 500 patients, there has been a 100 per cent success rate for these self-swabs. The swabs are interpreted using PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) technology for the most common STDs, like Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, where even the smallest speck of infection can be picked up. Accuracy for the self-swab test is greater than 97 per cent in previous studies done.

Are these tests faster and cheaper than when it is done by a doctor?

Traditionally, most clinics have a doctor who will attend to the blood taking. There is also a consultation prior to the testing, which tends to incur additional costs. DTAP Express offers the added convenience of allowing patients to do the tests they already know they want, before consulting our doctors.

Usually, people get their yearly health screens and are not keen to see their doctor if the results come back normal. Some reasons for this include a busy schedule, wanting to save money from the consultation, and even traveling distance.

Testing is made easier at DTAP Express as the results will be explained with a detailed compendium, and follow up can be done via teleconsult should patients decide against visiting the clinic.

For results which are more concerning, an in-person consult would be immediately scheduled and managed by our friendly concierge care team on standby.

Will results sent be confidential and discreet? Will it be sent to the wrong person?

Results are sent to only the contact details the patient provides. To add an additional layer of protection, these results are further encrypted so that only the intended recipient will have the password to unlock the results file.

We take data protection seriously and your personal health data is a top priority.

Can I bring the test kit home for myself or someone else to avoid exposure to infection during a pandemic?

Currently, the tests are done on-site at our central location in the heart of CBD. It is quick, discreet and fuss-free.

Like all venues, our service staff will routinely screen you for COVID risks with the latest prevailing guidelines and check on your vaccination status. This allows us to ensure that our clinic is safe for you, and for other patients.

In the near future, home testing kits will be developed in tandem with our teleconsult services to allow patients to perform their own tests at home and return the sample with a clinic arranged courier.