Why Women’s Health Matters More Than Ever
The importance of accuracy in the age of information.
Dr Rosie Shire
Dr Rosie Shire is the Women’s Health Lead at Pando. With a diploma of reproductive and sexual health (DFRSH) and certificate in menopause care from the British Menopause Society, she is lending her expertise to open up more access to Women’s Health information.
I’m a GP with a special interest in women’s health and, in particular, menopause. As a big part of my GP work, I regularly see women and young people for advice about their periods, contraception, getting pregnant and menopause. I enjoy consultations about contraception and HRT because I like to help empower women to make their own decisions about what they think will work best for them and their lifestyle. I want people to become aware that there’s more to menopause than hot sweats and your period stopping. It actually has much more of an impact on you as a whole.
Joining Pando gives me the opportunity to give women better access to accurate and correct information. The better access to information, the better patients are making decisions about their health.
The biggest challenges in Femtech today
Previously, Women’s Health issues weren’t discussed as openly as they are now. Now, anyone can go online and look up a condition or illness without knowing the validity of the source. I think the biggest challenge at the moment is making sure that women have access to the correct information. Whether it’s pregnancy prevention or helping their chances of fertility, it’s important that this knowledge is easily accessible. The menopause previously hasn’t been discussed much at all. Women thought they should get on with it. However, the real consequences of the menopause on cardiovascular, bones, memory, mood, weren’t discussed as a factor at all.
Osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) increases and women’s mental health can also deteriorate when the oestrogen level drops. It’s great to see menopause, fertility and contraception being discussed more openly in the media and on social media. However, amongst all the myths out there, I think it can be really hard to discern what’s true.
Is going digital the answer?
I think it’s really important for women to understand their choices when it comes to treatments or ways of managing conditions. So many women think that it is necessary to have a period every month for example. But if you ask women if they want to have a period every month, many of them would be quite happy not to have the inconvenience or to have periods that are lighter or less painful.
Access to this information would enable women to understand their bodies fully. Information needs to be more widely available in different languages and formats. No matter the digital forum, we need to make sure that it’s accurate, correct information that women read and not the latest fad which may not be based on science. Digital is the best way to access, but it still needs to be exact.
What is Pando doing differently?
Pando is providing simple and instant access to advice for women. And that advice is from qualified doctors with an interest in women’s health, so you know it’s going to be correct, up-to-date and accurate. So rather than searching websites and potentially reading misinformation, women can get the correct information straight away and then make the decision best for them. Pando isn’t just helping alleviate the concerns, but easing the burden on our health service, particularly at the moment when GPs are under such great pressure for appointments and with the pandemic.
Accuracy is key
There’s a saying the information is Power, particularly in this day and age. But equally, power does not mean accuracy. Someone hugely influential with tens of thousands of followers on social media doesn’t mean what they are saying is correct. Accuracy is evidence based. At this time, we just need to take a step back and look at who is giving us that information to make sure that it’s correct and that we aren’t going to do any harm to ourselves.