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Focus on women's health: An interview with Dr Julia Graf, specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics

Dr. med. Julia Graf

Dr. med. Julia Graf

March 8, 2024

reading time

5 min

On International Women's Day, we would like to focus on women's health. To this end, we met with Dr Julia Graf, an experienced specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics and senior physician at the Women's Clinic, to talk about various aspects of women's health.

Dr Julia Graf, thank you very much for taking the time for this interview. Can you give us an overview of the most important aspects of women's health that women of all ages should keep in mind?

It's important to listen to your body and take complaints seriously. We gynaecologists are a good first port of call for various complaints and general medical questions. We cater to the individual needs of women.

What regular check-ups should women have, especially to prevent gynaecological diseases?

As a rule, the first appointment is with the gynaecologist to discuss the various contraceptive methods. This is a good first opportunity to point out some women-specific health aspects and for an initial gynaecological examination. Furthermore, the vaccination card can be checked for the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination. If this has not yet been done, it can still be done later.

Regular screening for the early detection of cervical cancer is recommended from the age of 21. Screening is carried out using a cervical smear and should be performed every three years if the results are normal. This is a very effective method for the early detection of precancerous stages of cervical cancer. No other cancer can be prevented as effectively by screening as cervical cancer.

In the next stage of life, the issue of pregnancy comes to the fore for some women. Here it is important to discuss the planning of the pregnancy with us, with regard to relevant vaccinations before the pregnancy and especially for the start of folic acid prophylaxis. Early folic acid prophylaxis (folic acid 0.4mg 1x/d) starting at least 3 months before the start of pregnancy significantly reduces the risk of spina bifida. A healthy lifestyle can create a good basis for the onset of pregnancy and its progression.

From the age of 50, we recommend mammography screening for the early detection of breast cancer. This should be carried out every two years until the age of 70 - in addition to the annual palpation examination of the breast by the gynaecologist.

Overall, we recommend an annual check-up with your gynaecologist.

Which gynaecological symptoms should be taken seriously and require a visit to a gynaecologist?

The symptoms vary depending on age. In the postmenopausal phase, bleeding should be taken very seriously. Postmenopausal bleeding can be an early symptom of uterine cancer. It is therefore worth investigating postmenopausal bleeding at an early stage with a hysteroscopy and curettage.

Another important gynaecological symptom is a palpable lump in the breast. A palpable lump should be taken seriously and investigated, regardless of age. Further investigations include a palpation examination by the gynaecologist, ultrasound imaging and, if necessary, a mammogram. Depending on the findings, further clarification may be carried out with a punch biopsy.

Are there specific health problems that affect women more often than men?

I would like to emphasise the problems relating to menstruation and the menstrual cycle, which of course only affect women. Severe menstrual pain and pain during sexual intercourse can also be caused by endometriosis. It is important not to regard severe menstrual pain as normal, but to discuss it with your gynaecologist if you are experiencing severe pain. We are here for you if you need us.

Finally, is there any other important advice or recommendations that you would like to pass on to our readers?

A healthy lifestyle with enough sleep, sufficient physical activity and a healthy diet is recommended for every woman. And, of course, smoking should be avoided.

Women's health is an important topic that deserves more attention and support. Through prevention, education and empowerment, women can proactively improve their health and lead a fulfilling life. We would like to thank Dr Julia Graf for her valuable insights and hope that this interview will go some way to raising awareness of women's health. We at the Women's Clinic are here for you if you need us or have any questions. Happy International Women's Day!

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Dr. med. Julia Graf

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