8th March 2024

Women’s Health Matters: important health advice from our experts

For many varied and often legitimate reasons, including busy lifestyles and competing demands for their time, women often put their own health needs to the bottom of their list of things to do. Some women have also faced instances where their health worries are disregarded or downplayed by those around them. This International Women’s Day, we encourage women to take a moment to reflect on their own health and wellbeing, and consider whether they need to make this a priority on their personal list.

IWD Womens'Health Matters - Mater Private Network

Seeking advice from experts is one of the first steps to learning more about how to care for yourself. We met six Mater Private Network experts in various areas related to women’s health and asked them to share important health advice that could inspire women to think about their health needs more often.

Breast Health

Breast health is a key area for women to focus on. Breast cancer is becoming more prevalent in Ireland and although it is more common in women over 50,  breast cancer can develop at any age. Approximately 3,500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland each year. If the signs of cancer are spotted early, the treatments, recovery and survival rates are much improved.

Sinead Murtagh, Clinical Breast Specialist Nurse at Mater Private Network Dublin explained: “The one piece of advice that I would like to give women is to be breast aware. It is really important that women over 50 attend their free mammogram every two years. Checking your breasts, and looking for any signs of dimpling, puckering, lumps, or discharge, is also imperative.”

Gynaecological Health

Symptoms of gynaecological cancers can be vague. Learning about the general symptoms of these cancers is important to help identify them as soon as possible.

Ms. Claire Thompson, Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist at Mater Private Network Dublin urged women to never miss a BEAT in relation to their gynaecological health. She said: “Whenever I say don't miss a BEAT, it is being aware of the symptoms that you can experience. If you think B for bloating, E for eating and feeling full, abdominal pain is your A, and toilet is your T, you will never miss a BEAT.” 

Dr. Aoife McSweeney, Consultant Gynaecologist at Mater Private Network Cork, also offered advice for women who may be experiencing other gynaecological health issues. She said: “Too often we put the needs of others first. If you are struggling with difficult symptoms of menopause or heavy, painful periods that are affecting your life, make time to go and chat to your doctor.’

Women's Health

Women's health prerogatives can change at different stages in their lives but many of their health concerns are shared by women of all ages. Our women's health service hopes to address some of these health issues and to expand the service over time to address more of them.

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Physical Activity

Increasing your level of physical activity can have benefits for your physical and mental health. It can be difficult to incorporate exercise into already busy lives, but it is as important as anything else.

Claire Tynan, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist at Mater Private Network Dublin explained: “Dedicating time to your physical activity is not at all being selfish, and it will help in all aspects of your life.”

Kirsty McMahon, Physiotherapy Manager at Mater Private Network Cork noted that muscle-strengthening exercises are a key focus area for women. She advises “30-minute bouts of exercise over five days or even shorter bouts of 10 minutes, three times a day”.

Overall Self-Care

We encourage women to always trust their instincts about their own health. 

If you do not feel like yourself and are noticing any changes that you think are abnormal for you, it’s important to seek advice from your GP or another medical professional. 

Ms. Paula Manzi, Consultant Urologist at Mater Private Network Cork, said: “Pay attention to your body. If you think something is off or something has changed and it does not feel right, do not ignore it, and seek attention. It is your body. We only have one, so nurture it.”

Women's health is complex and different medical issues can arise at various life stages. For expert advice on all aspects of women's health, explore the services offered across Mater Private Network. More information can be found on our Women’s Health Section.

Empower yourself to prioritise your health and wellbeing this International Women's Day and beyond.

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Centre for Women's Health

A dedicated new centre of excellence, the first of its kind in Ireland. It offers a wide range of clinical disciplines: from gynaecology, urology, sexual health to plastic & reconstructive surgery and more.

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Centre for Women's health - Mater private - Cork