Medical specialists can assist with infertility and all obstetric and gynaecological issues, including gynaecological oncology, reproductive endocrinology, high-risk obstetrics, endometriosis, recurrent miscarriage, hysteroscopic surgery, menopause management, pelvic pain, urogynaecology and vulvar diseases.
Obstetrics is concerned with managing pregnancy, labour and the puerperium (the time after delivery). This involves routine monitoring, check-ups and tests.
Endometriosis is a common condition in which small pieces of the uterus (womb) lining, known as the endometrium, are found outside the uterus. It is a long-term condition with no known cure, but symptoms can be managed and fertility improved with pain medication, hormone treatment or surgery, so that the condition does not interfere with daily life.
Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Many medical specialists provide both obstetric & gynaecology services and are registered with the NZ Medical Council under the vocational scope of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. Areas of interest do vary between specialists and are listed in their profiles.
Colposcopy is a procedure undertaken by a Gynaecologist in which a lighted magnifying instrument (a colposcope) is used to help examine the tissues of the vulva, vagina and cervix. Colposcopy is often used to check potentially cancerous areas, usually after a Pap smear test has indicated a possible problem.
Continence management means managing any loss of bladder or bowel control (incontinence). Once the condition is assessed, a treatment plan is created. Treatment options range from symptom management, behaviour management, and medications to surgery. The least invasive treatment is started first.
Gynaecological Laparoscopic Surgery
Enables the surgeon to: look for the cause of any symptoms; remove scar tissue or other abnormal tissue; repair or remove part or all of the ovaries or fallopian tubes; remove an abnormal pelvic mass or ovarian cyst; look for the spread of cancer and perform a biopsy; remove lymph nodes or pelvic organs; evaluate and treat infertility; remove the uterus (hysterectomy); remove uterine fibroids (myomectomy); carry out sterilisation (tubal ligation); treat sudden, severe pelvic pain; treat a tubal pregnancy; and remove uterine tissue found outside the uterus in the abdomen (endometriosis).
Hysteroscopy may be performed to diagnose or treat abnormalities of the uterus or cervix. It is used to evaluate a range of problems, including: abnormal vaginal bleeding; retained placenta after a birth; scarring, or adhesions, from previous uterine surgery or instrumentation; and polyps or fibroid tumours inside the cervical canal or the uterus.
The symptoms of menopause are caused by changes in levels of oestrogen and progesterone. Specific symptoms and severity varies from woman to woman. Common symptoms include: heart pounding or racing; hot flashes; night sweats; skin flushing; and sleeping problems. There may be a variety of additional symptoms, including: headaches; joint aches and pains; mood swings, irritability and depression; vaginal dryness and painful sex; and decreased interest in sex.
Urogynaecology involves treatment of women with pelvic floor disorders such as urinary or faecal incontinence (leakage of urine or faeces) and prolapse (bulging, sagging or falling) of the vagina, bladder and/or the uterus (womb). Urinary incontinence is a very common condition affecting at least 10–20 per cent of women under age 65 and over half of women over the age of 65.
Ultrasound imaging, referred to as ultrasonography, allows an examination of soft tissues and body cavities, without using invasive techniques. Ultrasound is often used to examine a foetus during pregnancy.
There is a wide range of vulvar (or vulval) conditions and diseases including: fungal, bacterial or viral infections (e.g. yeast infection, sexually transmitted infections); skin conditions (e.g. contact dermatitis); epithelial disorders (relating to the epithelium, the outside layer of cells that covers the skin and mucous membranes, e.g. lichen sclerosus); raised lesions or masses (e.g. cysts or abscesses); potentially malignant or malignant (cancerous) conditions (e.g. vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia, melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma); and injuries to the vulva.