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Fertility, Pregnancy & Gynaecology

Midwives can assist with normal pregnancies. 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. Other services available include fertility support, birthing facilities, laparoscopy and ultrasound.

Fertility & Reproductive Medicine

Fertility providers in NZ can offer both private and publicly funded treatments. Treatment options include ovulation induction, intra uterine insemination, in vitro fertilisation (IVF), donor options and surrogacy. A team of medical specialists may be involved with diagnosis and treatment, including gynaecologists, endocrinologists, obstetricians and urogynaecologists.

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Gynaecologists treat a wide range of conditions, including cancer and pre-cancerous diseases of the reproductive organs including ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina and vulva; urinary incontinence; painful, heavy or absent menstrual periods; infertility; prolapse of pelvic organs; and infections of the vagina, cervix and uterus.

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Midwives are health professionals specialising in normal pregnancy and birth. Midwives provide free maternity care from your pregnancy test up to six weeks after the birth of your baby.

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Obstetrics is concerned with managing pregnancy, labour and the puerperium (the time after delivery). This involves routine monitoring, check-ups and tests.

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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.

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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.

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Continence Management

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.

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Laparoscopy is a group of operations carried out with the aid of a camera inserted into the abdomen or pelvis. Laparoscopy may be done to diagnose a condition (called diagnostic laparoscopy). A number of major and minor surgeries may also be carried out.

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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).

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Gynaecological Oncology

Gynaecological oncology is concerned with diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the female reproductive tract, including the cervix, endometrium, fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, vagina and vulva. Gynaecological oncology services usually include colposcopy; surgical treatment and biopsy of gynaecological cancers; and ongoing management and follow-up care.

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Hysteroscopic surgery

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.

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Menopause Management

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.

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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.

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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.

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Vulvar Diseases

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.

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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.

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