Help!! In search of role models!!

Adaeze Ifezulike

teenage health
One of the things that intrigues and saddens me is the transition I note in the medical records of a young girl as she grows into womanhood.
Initially most girls attend the GP for simple coughs and colds. All is rosy. A little paracetamol makes everything alright. She is her parents’ cute little thing with no cares in the world. She skips about the clinic curious about everything, as healthy as can be. The snuffly nose is likely viral and not needing anything done other than paracetamol for a slight fever.

She attends again just as she starts puberty. She is with mum and suddenly she needs 6 months of antibiotics to keep her acne at bay. No matter how I reassure her that her spots are an expected outcome of growing up and nothing to worry about she is adamant that they are ruining her life and must be…

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My drinking determines my sexual health!

I nearly jumped out of my skin when I went to use one of the hospital bathrooms while on duty and as I opened the door, a voice screamed out ‘Cant someone have some peace here?’
I summoned the courage to open the door wider and found a young lady sprawled on the toilet floor obviously too drunk to realise she was in a public toilet and not in her own bedroom.
Poor thing!
With the help of security, she was escorted to her own house.
Research show that our young people continue to drink alcohol excesively.
Alcohol excess blurs the lines between responsible behaviour and what is not responsible behaviour. Many young people engage in reckless and risky sexual behaviour under the influence of alcohol.One of the major fall-out of this is the rise in the incidence of unplanned pregnancies and teenage pregnancies.
Unplanned and teenage pregnancies can result in disruption to social, mental and academic wellbeing of young people. Sexually transmitted infections (STI) like Chlamydia and HIV are also possible consequences of risky sexual behaviour.
All sexually active young children should be encouraged to delay sexual intercourse until they are much older and in committed relationships. But if this advise falls on deaf ears, it is important that contraception is available for young people to use.
Barrier type contraceptions like condoms used carefully can prevent transmission of STIs and also prevent pregnancy.
Contraceptions that need to be remembered such as condoms, daily pills or weekly patches can easily be ommited in the heat of passion. As a result, I strongly advocate the use of reversible long acting contraceptions such as the implants or coils for young people.
My book ‘Understanding contraception’ was written to explain the concept of contraception in a way any young person above the age of 14 years can understand.
 understanng contraception214
You can get it by clicking here for your young people as an eBook or to get the hard copy, click here. They will find the illustrations and jokes very engaging while learning about the different contraceptions and how they work.
I believe that equiping our young children with information does not make them promiscuous but rather protects them from easily avoidable mistakes.

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What has smoking got to do with my Sexual Health?

SmokingFrom today, 1st April 2015, there will be no more smoking on all hospital grounds across Scotland.

This is a welcome development. The annual cost to NHS Scotland of treating smoking related diseases is estimated to be more than £409 million.

Smoking affects almost all areas of health including sexual health.

Here are some ways that smoking affects sexual health of women.


Smoking limits your options for contraception. Older ladies who smoke should not use combined hormone methods of contraception (the pill, the patch, and the vaginal ring) as they will be at increased risk of having a  stroke or a heart attack than those who don’t smoke.

The Menstrual Cycle

Smokers who experience prolonged, painful and irregular periods may notice less pain and irregularity when they quit smoking.


Smokers tend to have early menopause. Early menopause can in turn predispose a person to some conditions such as Osteoporosis (bones that are weak and prone to breaking).


Smoking cigarettes increases the risk of developing cervical and vulval cancer.


It is thought that since smoking hardens blood vessels around the clitoris and vagina, it can reduce pleasure from sexual intercourse.


The chances of getting pregnant are reduced by up to 40 percent each menstrual cycle in smokers, and the longer a woman smokes, the longer it will take for her to get pregnant. Stopping smoking increases the chances of getting pregnant.


A woman who smokes may be at increased risk for ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage. Women who smoke are more likely to have low birth-weight babies who are less healthy and have an increased risk of death. Stillbirth or the death of the newborn during the first four weeks of life is also more common among women who smoke while pregnant. Having a spouse who smokes is a health risk due to  second hand smoke.

So keep healthy, don’t smoke and enjoy a sexier you!

See your doctor  or pharmacist if you need help with quitting smoking.

~Adaeze Ifezulike, UK Sexual Health Professional of the Year 2015 Finalist.

Register for the 2015 Afrocaribbean Health events here


HIV? Me? No, I am married! (19)

“Eh…do you mean menopause?”

“Yes! That’s it! She must be at menopause,” Dike responded.

“Or you have infected her with HIV.” I wanted to snap at him.

He must know! Why was he pretending? How long was he going to keep up the charade?

I controlled my thoughts and tried to keep a straight face.

“So what exactly do you want me to tell your husband?,” I asked turning to Nma.

“The whole truth,” Nma shrugged, throwing her arms into the air.

She looked like a lost child rather than a capable middle aged woman. She looked like she could do with a cuddle, as though she was on the verge of bursting into tears. I looked at Dike. He frowned and looked away.
I glanced down at my watch. We were already six minutes into the
consultation. I had no time for drama.

My next patient was waiting already and I must conclude and ensure Nma and her husband were out of my consulting room in
four minutes.

I took a deep breath and urged myself to speak.

To be continued….

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The Afrocarribean health event holds on 25th October 2014. It’s the only gathering devoted to tackling health issues specific to Afrocarribeans.
Register for the Afrocarribean Health event.


Of bras, bra-fitters and skin cancer.

One of our readers sent in this article and asked me to share it on the SWN to help other women. I chuckled as I read the first part because I am one of those who have never used a bra fitter…I just sort of estimated what size will work for me and went for it. But it makes sense to get properly fitted and in many shops, this service is free.

She wrote: I will be grateful if you would post this on your blog, Sexual Wellbeing Network. It was my personal experience but I will like to remain anonymous.

I am one of those women who get into the shops and buy a bra that just fits. I then stick to that size. Recently I had a really scary experience when I noticed a scar on my breast. It started with one of my bras being a bit tight, so the iron in the bra was pressing a bit to the sides of my breast.

I eventually changed my bra but after a couple of years, just recently this scar became a bit itchy and I had to go to the hospital. The first thing the male doctor said was ”We need to have further tests as this may just have developed into skin cancer. To cut a long story short I had my biopsies and got the all clear but I need to pass this one to our ladies so you can take better care of yourselves.
Always go for a bra fitting and ensure you are given the right bra size. The bra fitting assistance will help you to choose the right size. Your breasts should fit fully into your bra and the bra should not sit too tightly on your breast as this could potentially damage your breast cells.

Personally I had never had a bra fitting until after this experience.
Wash your bra atleast after every three days.

Include lots of white bras in your collection so you can easily spot dirt and avoid breast eczema which may prove difficult to heal.

Do not use a washing machine to wash your bras, hand wash is recommended.
The straps on your bra should not be used in supporting your breast. Your breast is supported by the right cups in the bra.

A finger should go smoothly in between your bra straps.

Many thanks to the lady who sent this in.

A few additional notes from Dr Adaeze;

Some studies say that poorly fitted bras contribute to breast cancer by blocking the lymph vessels that would normally carry toxic waste away from the breast area. But other studies dispute this.

In case you are wondering why you should hand wash rather than use a washing machine, hand washing helps to preserve the shape and life span of the bra so that it works more effectively.

Poorly fitted bras can also cause back pains, headaches and neck pain as the weight of the breasts is not evenly distributed.

Click here to register for the Afrocarribean health event in Aberdeen on the 25th of October 2014.

Click here to get ‘Understanding Contraception’ our best selling fun and informative book

Jaydesse……the new ‘Lady’ in town.

One of the things that freak a few ladies out when we offer hormonal contraception is the thought of not seeing their periods.
No periods!! What! Is that even legal? And where will all the blood stay if its not coming out?
We gently explain that there is ‘no blood accumulating inside’ them. The contraception thins the linings of the womb so that there is nothing or very little to shed during the period. Sometimes the ability of the contraception to reduce your menstral flow is seen as a disadvantage to such ladies who find it very reassuring to have a monthly period.

On the other hand, many others are simply delighted not to bother with periods. For them, that is the attraction to those contraceptions like the Mirena coil. Perhaps they have struggled with very heavy (and sometimes, painful!)  menstral flow all their lives. And hormonal contraceptions have simply revolutionalised their lives by reducing and in some cases, stopping their menstral flow as well as providing contraceptive effect.
In some areas of the world where it is still very difficult to get regular water to have a good shower, no periods are good news!
Also sanitary towels, tampons, menstral cups and all other paraphernalia women use to keep themselves decent during menses still constitute a significant cost that some women are happy not to have to deal with.

Well, if you are in the first group of women who MUST have their periods, then let me introduce you to Jaydesse. Jaydesse is a hormonal contraception coil which has now been approved for use in the UK.
Jaydesse may already be known to our American readers as Skyla -Skyla has been in use in America since 2013 .                          Jaydesse contraceptive coil, sexualwellbeingnetwork

Jaydesse, apart from having a really cool name 🙂 has the following advantages:
– It is smaller than the mirena contraceptive coil which was the only hormonal coil in UK before the arrival of Jaydesse. Since its smaller, it is considered easier to insert.
– women may find the process of inserting it is less painful since it is smaller.
– You are likely to continue to have regular periods with Jaydesse.
– Jaydesse contains only 13.5mg of the hormone Levonorgestrel while Mirena contains 52mg of Levonorgestrel.

On the down side, Jaydesse
-is effective for up to 3 years only unlike mirena which is effective for 5 years.
-Can only be used for contraception while Mirena in addition to providing contraception, can also be used to help heavy periods (menorrhagia) and used as part of HRT if required when the woman becomes menopausal.
-Jaydesse is not the first choice for contraception in women who have never given birth as enough is not yet known about use in such women. But if a woman has considered other options and still prefers Jaydesse, it will be prescribed for her.
-Jaydesse is so good at preventing pregnancy however if a pregnancy does occur while you are using Jaydesse, it has a 50% chance of being an ectopic pregnancy.

Jaydesse is definitely a welcome addition to the contraceptions available to women especially as we wait (endlessly, it seems!) for a contraception for men that will save us women all the trouble…sigh…

Its worth having a chat with your doctor if you think Jaydesse will suit you. It is still relatively new, though and only time will tell how well received it will be.

We would love to hear from you if you have used Jadesse/Skyla and would like to share your experience. Comments can be posted below.
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I can’t see my copper coil!!

Lost Copper coil thread In the ‘kitchen’ of SWN blog….you know where the ingredients for a post are washed, mixed, cooked or baked or fried depending on the topic, we have some interesting cupboards.
One of these ‘cupboards’ is labelled ‘search engine terms’.
Search terms are words or phrases users use to find our blog when they search the internet.
I am often amused at the different terms that lead people to our blog.
But when I last looked, one term caught my eye: ‘how to castrate my husband’.
How to castrate my husband?? Seriously?
I was taken aback!
I am sure we have never talked about that on sexual wellbeing network and it seems really strange that if someone put in that search term in the internet, they should arrive at our blog but anyway…….
I really hope no one out there is seriously planning to castrate someone else. Please, do take a deep breath, count to 100, go and speak to a psychiatrist or anything rather than castrate your husband. If you are reading this, remember you can contact us at for a chat.
Now to my topic…
A reader sent in a question,

”I had a copper coil fitted some months ago and I was able to see the thread whenever I went to the bathroom. In the last few days, I realised that I can no longer see the thread. Should I be concerned?”

If you are not familiar with copper coils, read our earlier post on copper coil.

First of all, I had to clarify if she meant she couldn’t feel the thread rather than see.
But no, she emphasized that she couldn’t see the thread.
I decided to answer the question on the blog so others can benefit.
A video will be coming out as well for our more visual readers.

When a copper coil is fitted, it comes with thin threads which are cut short and hang from the neck of the womb into the upper vagina.
It will be very unusual indeed for you to see the threads.
You should only be able to feel your threads when you pop a finger into your vagina. You should feel the thread at the tip of your fingers inside the vagina. It shouldn’t be so long that you can actually see it.
So I had two concerns about her question.

The first is that if she could see the thread, then the threads probably were not cut short when she had the coil fitted. A long thread can lead to a coil being easily dislodged just like you are more likely to trip over the long wire of your vacuum cleaner than the short wire of a microwave.
The second concern is that a long thread may suggest that the coil was not properly sited. It may just be in the vagina or down the neck of the womb.

In any of the above cases, she is at risk of pregnancy.

Now that she cannot see the thread at all, it is likely the coil has fallen out.

The best thing to do if you think you can see your thread on the outside is to go and see your coil provider to check if the coil is in the right place. Do not have sex: you may be at risk of pregnancy. If you must have sex, before you can get the coil checked out, use a condom very carefully.
In case you are wondering why we leave some thread at all, this is what we grasp on to remove the coil when its time to come out. Many women also feel for the threads to reassure themselves that the coil is still in place.

Remember to send in your sexual health questions to
You can read about contraceptions in our book: ”Understanding Contraception”

understanng contraception
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