Category: General Practice

Southbank Medical Centre

Covid-19 Vaccination FAQ’s

Covid Vaccination

Covid VaccinationCan I choose which vaccine I get?

No, due to supply and logistic issues, the Pfizer vaccine will only be available to those in the highest priority group in stage 1a of the rollout.

How many doses of vaccine will be required?

Two doses. The Pfizer vaccine requires a spacing of three weeks between doses and twelve weeks for the Astra Zeneca vaccine.

Will the Covid-19 vaccine be effective on new virus variants?

While there is some evidence that the current vaccines may be less effective in preventing infection by mutant variants, they are still likely to prevent you from getting seriously sick.

How long will immunity from the Covid-19 vaccines last?

This is still unclear as the clinical trials are still ongoing and we are still at an early stage of mass vaccination. We will have more information as world vaccination programs progress.

What if I’m pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy?

COVID-19 vaccines are not routinely recommended in pregnancy, because pregnant women have not been included in clinical trials. However, some pregnant women may still choose to be vaccinated after considering the benefits and risks of vaccination.

Women who are breastfeeding can have a COVID-19 vaccine, and they don’t need to stop breastfeeding after vaccination. Women who are planning pregnancy can have a COVID-19 vaccine, and they don’t need to avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination.

What are the likely side effects of the vaccination?

All vaccines can cause side effects which are usually mild and short lived. The Pfizer and Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccines may have minor side effects such as pain at the injection site, fever, muscle aches and headache.

Can children receive the Covid-19 vaccination?

No. As children were not included in the clinical trials, children under the age of 16 cannot have the Pfizer vaccine and those under 18 cannot have the Astra Zeneca vaccine.

Can I get the flu vaccine at the same time as the Covid-19 vaccination?

No, it is recommended these vaccines should be given at least 14 days apart.

If I have already had the Covid-19 infection, do I need to have the Covid-19 vaccination?

Yes, it is still recommended that you should still be vaccinated.

If you would like to discuss any issues about having the Covid-19 vaccination, please book an appointment with one of our doctors at Southgate Medical:

For further information regarding Covid-19 vaccination visit:

Covid-19 Vaccination At Southgate Medical

Thunderstorm Asthma

thunderstorm asthma

Thunderstorm Asthma In Australia

thunderstorm asthmaOn Monday the 21st of November 2016, Victoria experienced the world’s largest epidemic of thunderstorm asthma. Severe storm activity led to thousands of people suddenly experiencing asthma attacks and difficulty breathing.

Thunderstorm asthma can happen suddenly to anyone, anywhere. Typically it occurs during the spring and summer when there is a large amount of pollen in the air during a particularly windy or stormy day. 

People who suffer from asthma or seasonal hay fever are more likely to suffer from it, but it can be experienced by anyone. The risk is highest during the October to December period. 

Those experiencing thunderstorm asthma may have any of the common asthma symptoms including cough, wheeze, breathlessness or a tight feeling in the chest. However, asthma symptoms can be different for everyone. If you experience symptoms of seasonal hay fever (runny nose, itchy nose, sneezing and itchy eyes) you should also be wary of experiencing an asthma attack due to thunderstorm asthma. 

If you have asthma and/or seasonal hay fever, you will need extra protection to minimise your risk. It is recommended to always have a reliever inhaler such as Ventolin or Symbicort on standby.

It is also important to keep up to date with pollen counts and thunderstorm weather forecasts during spring and early summer and to stay indoors if possible on those days to minimise exposure.

Southgate Medical Centre

Low Testosterone in Men

Low Testosterone in Men


| Low Testosterone in MenLow testosterone, also known as testosterone deficiency or Hypogonadism, is a condition often overlooked in men but one that can significantly impact on a man’s life both physically and mentally.

What Is It?

Hormones are produced in certain glands in the body and give signals to other organs about such functions as cell growth, metabolism and reproduction. Testosterone, the male sex hormone, is produced in the testicles and has an effect on body growth, the development of male sexual characteristics and sperm production. The medical condition of low testosterone occurs when the body isn’t able to make enough testosterone.


Why Does It Happen?

Low testosterone can be a result of a range of causes, including problems with the  testicles, genetic disorders (such as Klinefelter syndrome) or problems with hormone production in the brain. As testosterone is a necessary key for sexual maturity, bone and muscle growth, and general mood, low testosterone levels may lead to significant symptoms. 

What Are The Symptoms? | Low Testosterone in Men

These symptoms will present differently, dependant on the period of development:

Early Childhood

Early teenage years 

  • Late or failed puberty
  • Small testes and penis
  • Poor facial, body or pubic hair development
  • Poor muscle development
  • Underdeveloped larynx resulted in an un-deepened voice
  • Breast development (otherwise known as Gynecomastia)
  • Short height or poor height growth

Adulthood | Low Testosterone in Men

  • Mood swings
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor stamina
  • Reduced muscle strength
  • Increased body fat
  • Poor libido
  • Erectile dysfunction 
  • Low semen volume
  • Hot flushes
  • Osteoporosis

Testosterone deficiency may often be overlooked as a cause for many of the above adult symptoms. If you are concerned about any of these symptoms, please consult your doctor at Southgate Medical.

If Testosterone deficiency is diagnosed, it can be  treated with testosterone hormone replacement therapy. Testosterone therapy usually continues for life and will need to be reviewed regularly by your doctor.

Southgate Medical Centre
Men’s Health

Migraine Headache

migraine headache

migraine headacheFor many people, migraine is used as a term to describe severe headache. However, true migraine is a neurological disorder that can be very distressing and disabling. 

Over three million Australians suffer from migraines, with women three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men. Typically, migraines are a throbbing or pulsating headache localised to one side of the head and may start with a visual disturbance. Increased sensitivity to light and sound, as well as nausea and vomiting, are also common symptoms of migraines. Migraines can last for up to 4 to 72 hours. 

The cause of migraines is unknown. In some cases, migraines have been shown to be triggered by certain foods (cheese, chocolate and alcohol), stress, menstruation, and weather changes. Hormonal levels are also believed to play a large role in causing migraines.

While there is no known cure for migraines medications for treatment and prevention are available. The trigger factors for migraines differ from person to person and can include a combination of causes. 

  • Medications This may include drugs known as Triptans which may relieve symptoms or modify the severity of the attack.

If the migraine headaches are occurring frequently, a variety of medications are also available that may prevent these episodes or reduce their frequency

  • Avoiding triggers –  for example, avoiding foods which have previously triggered the Migraine
  • Alternative Therapies – acupuncture, biofeedback, hypnotherapy, yoga and certain diets have also been shown to help

Resting in a dark quiet room is also shown to help alleviate the worse effects of a migraine. 

Your doctor can provide advice should you suspect to be suffering from migraines. Studies show that up to 50% of migraine sufferers have not been diagnosed, so it is important to consult your doctor in order to receive proper treatment. Keeping a diary to track your migraines can also help in understanding when they happen and what your specific triggers are.

Southgate Medical Centre
Migraine Headache
Medical Services Melbourne

Childhood Vaccinations

Covid Vaccination

We all have been terrified of needles at one point or another, especially as kids. If your child is anxious about receiving vaccinations, you as a parent may in turn feel anxious and scared for your child. In particular, a bad experience receiving a vaccination at a clinic can be especially frightening and traumatic for your child. Being prepared for vaccinations will help immensely in easing both your and your child’s anxiety.

Childhood VaccinationsBefore the Childhood Vaccinations

There are a few things you can do as parents to prepare you and your child for vaccinations. Make sure to get a list of the vaccines your child may need and note down any question you may have for your doctor. If your child has an immunisation record, be sure to bring a copy along to your appointment. You can also pack your child’s favourite toy, book, or blanket for some comfort during their vaccination. If your child is older, it is beneficial to have an honest chat with them about how vaccinations will keep them healthy. Be clear that the needle may pinch or sting, but that any pain won’t last long. Be sure to avoid using vaccinations as a threat (eg.” If you misbehave I will have the nurse give you a needle) and avoid telling scary stories about vaccinations. 

During the Childhood Vaccinations

If you have any questions about the vaccinations, be sure to ask the doctor. The doctor will give you a copy of the relevant Vaccine Information Statement which will include information about the vaccines such as the risks and benefits. 

During the vaccination, there are a few things you can do as a parent to make your child’s experience easier. For babies and toddlers, you can distract them by cuddling, singing or talking in hushed tones. By smiling, maintaining eye contact and talking to them, you will make your child feel safe and ok. You can even comfort your child with their favorite your or book. Holding your child firmly on your lap will also make them feel more comfortable. Once your child has received all of their shots, make sure to be especially supportive. Cuddle you child and talk with a soothing, praiseful voice. Babies can also be additionally soothed through breastfeeding. 

For older children and adolescents, you can distract them by pointing out interesting things in the room or by telling stories. Be sure to support your child if he or she cries, and never scold your child for not “being brave”. Be mindful that fainting is common amongst adolescent’s right after receiving a vaccination. It is advisable for you to wait in the clinic for 15 minutes after receiving a vaccine so you may be observed for any reactions, and for treatment to be provided if needed. It can be beneficial to ask your child’s doctor about the common side effects after a vaccine such as fever and pain and what steps you can take at home to help reduce these at home. 

After the Appointment

If you have any concerns about your child after they have received their vaccinations, contact the clinic during business hours. If the matter is urgent, contact the Royal Children’s Hospital Immunization hotline on 1300 882 924 or dial 000 in a Medical Emergency

Southgate Medical Centre

Blood in Semen?

Doctor Melbourne

blood in semen

Any male can experience blood in their semen. Known as haematospermia, it can occur at any time after puberty and it is most common between the ages of 30 to 40. During orgasm, sperm and fluid travel through the urethra from the testicles and out the tip of the penis. Bleeding can occur at any point along the urethra, causing a brown or red colour. Often, there is no pain and it is only noticed after ejaculation. Finding blood can be extremely worrying, but it is rarely an indicator of any serious condition and it will often go away on its own. However, it should still be addressed and it is important to visit your doctor, especially if you have any concern.

Sometimes it may be an isolated issue, or it can be linked to other symptoms of an underlying condition. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) rarely cause it. Similarly, rough sexual intercourse is rarely a cause, although injury to genitalia can cause bleeding during urination. Swelling, infection, blockages or injury to the male reproductive system or prostate can also cause blood in semen. It is also a known side effect of a prostate biopsy and some blood thinning medications.

In rare cases, It can be symptoms of much more serious causes. It can be caused by a benign prostate enlargement (BPH) which can cause the build up of prostate stones (similar to bladder stones). It can also be a sign of Tuberculosis, parasitic infections, testicular cancer, haemophilia and chronic liver disease.

If you find blood in you semen, you should visit you doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will give you a physical check-up and may ask for semen and run samples for testing. Typically, if it is the only symptoms you are experiencing, even after tests and physical examinations, then usually no treatment is required. It should go away with time. It may go away and come back, but generally blood in semen disappears without treatment and does not increase risk of other diseases. Isolated, blood in semen does not put your sexual partner at risk either.

Should you be experiencing other symptoms, blood in your semen might have an underlying cause that requires you to get proper treatment.

The doctors at Southgate Medical have expertise in Men’s Health and can be consulted if you have any concerns about this issue.

Southgate Medical Centre
Men’s Health

The Bad Effects Of Eating Junk Food

The Bad Effects Of Eating Junk Food

What you eat and drink each day effects your health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Good nutrition, along with regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, while reducing your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease. However, consuming regular amounts of fast and junk food will impact your quality of health, and will have negative effects on your body.

The Bad Effects Of Eating Junk FoodThe Negative Side Of Junk And Fast Food

Junk foods are food and drinks with low nutritional value (e.g. vitamins, minerals and fibre) and high in kilojoules, fat, sugars and/or salt. On the other hand, fast foods are a type of food you get from a restaurant designed to be delivered to you in the quickest way possible. Some fast foods can be healthy, but typically most fast foods are junk food. For example, salad, sushi and sandwiches are healthy forms of fast food. However, most fast food restaurants, such as McDonalds or KFC serve unhealthy junk food.  In Australia, 35% of an average adult’s daily energy intake and 41% of children’s daily energy intake comes from junk food.

While the occasional night of junk food won’t hurt much, eating Junk foods regular has been shown to lead to increased risks of obesity and chronic diseases. Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and some cancers all have causes in excessive junk food consumption. Further, the specific content of many fast foods can have negative side effects for your body;

  • Junk food high in sodium can lead to increased headaches and migraine
  • Junk food high in carbs can trigger outbreaks of acne
  • Eating excessive amounts of junk food may increase your risk of depression
  • The carbs and sugar in fast foods can lead to dental cavities
  • Fried foods are filled with trans fats which raise LDL cholesterol levels
  • Fast food is filled with empty carbohydrates, which can lead to increased blood sugar and insulin resistance
  • Increased sodium levels can lead to your body retaining excessive water, leading to bloating

The Key To A Healthy Diet | The Bad Effects Of Eating Junk Food

To avoid the negative health risks to your, your diet needs to be nutritional and diverse. Small changes to your diet can make an immense difference to your health. It’s easier than you think, especially if you follow at least six of the eight goals outlined below. 

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: The more colourful you plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals and fibre your body needs, so be sure to choose a variety of red, orange and green vegetables (such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes and broccoli).
  • Make half the grains you eat whole grains: eating whole grain foods such as whole-wheat bread will help you avoid processed grains high in empty carbohydrates. Look for whole wheat, brown rice, bulgur, buckwheat, oatmeal, rolled oats, quinoa or wild rice.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk: Fat free and low fat milk contains the same amount of calcium and other nutrients as whole milk, but contains fewer calories and less saturated fat.
  • Choose a variety of lean protein foods: Lean meats (meat with lower fat content) are far better than meat with large amounts of fat content. Select leaner cuts of beef, turkey breast of chicken breast. 
  • Compare sodium in foods: Use the nutritional facts included in the labels on food packaging to select foods containing low levels of sodium. Choose canned foods with labels stating low sodium, reduced sodium or no salt added. 
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks: By drinking water or unsweetened, you can cut your calories substantially. Sodas and energy drinks are high in added sugar and calories, so be sure to avoid these. If you seek added flavor, try adding a slice of lemon, lime or watermelon to your glass of water. 
  • Eat some seafood: Seafood such as fish and shellfish are high in protein, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fat). Try eating at least eight ounces of seafood a week if you are an adult. 
  • Cut back on solid fats: Major sources of solid fats are cakes, cookies, ice cream and processed meat. Try to avoid these to cut back on your solid fat intake. 

By following the above eight goals, you will help your body get the nutrients it needs, while cutting back on unhealthy content. If you combine a healthy diet with regular physical exercise, your physical and mental health with begin to improve immensely.

Southgate Medical Centre
The Bad Effects Of Eating Junk Food

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational DiabetesDiabetes is a common condition where there is too much sugar in the blood. The rise in blood sugar levels occurs because the body cannot produce enough insulin (a hormone which removes glucose from the blood stream for use in the cells). 

Gestational diabetes is a disease which occurs during pregnancy (typically occurring at around week 26), and which usually goes away after the end of the pregnancy. Many hormonal changes occur during pregnancy, which can affect insulin production and action. As the fetus and placenta develops, the body may be unable to sufficiently adapt to changing hormone and insulin levels to maintain a stable blood sugar level. About 1 in 10 Australian women develop it during their pregnancy and this trend is steadily rising. 

If you are currently pregnant and are any of the following, you should consult your doctor to discuss your risk of gestational diabetes:

  • Over 30 years of age
  • Overweight/obese
  • Had it in a previous pregnancy 
  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes
  • You are: Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

All these factors have been shown to increase your risk of gestational diabetes. Currently it is recommended that all women are screened for gestational diabetes between their 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. Women at higher risk due to the factors above should be screened earlier.

For your baby, gestational diabetes can lead to complications if left undiagnosed and untreated. Your baby may be born large, making delivery difficult and possibly making C-section necessary. Your baby might be born with low blood sugar levels and may need special care after birth. Finally, there is an increased risk of premature birth and even miscarriage in extreme cases.

For many women, being diagnosed with gestational diabetes can be a source of major distress and so it is majorly important that you seek advice from you doctor and diabetes health professional for information in managing your condition. Your treatment will be aimed to keep your blood sugar level at a stable and healthy level, and will require regular monitoring, a healthy eating plan and regular physical activity. Generally, gestational diabetes can be easily managed with lifestyle cases, although in rare cases insulin injections may be required.

Of course, prevention is better than the cure. Especially if you have any of the risk factors, maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight will reduce your risk of gestational diabetes significantly.

Southgate Medical
Women’s Health

Male Infertility

Male Infertility

For many couples, starting a family is a simple and natural experience. However, some couples may experience difficulty and frustration when trying to conceive a child due to male infertility. 

Male InfertilityMale infertility generally depends on the quantity and quality of your sperm. If your sperm count is low, or if your sperm is of poor quality, then it will be difficult, maybe even impossible, to conceive a child with your partner. Male infertility is widespread, and for about 30% of infertile couples, the problem is solely with the male partner. About 1 in 20 men have a low sperm count, with about 1 in every 100 men having no sperm at all. There are no obvious signs of infertility and you will need medical tests in order to properly diagnose infertility. If you have been trying to conceive without success for at least 12 months, with regular sex, then it is worth consulting your doctor. Infertility can be a sign of other (possibly undiagnosed) health problems, so it is important to you seek proper health advice.

Male infertility can be caused by a number of factors that affect sperm production or how the sperm travels. About 2 out of every 3 infertile men have the problem of insufficient sperm production or low quality sperm. About 1 in 5 infertile men have other physical problems, (including voluntary vasectomy). Obstructions in your reproductive organs can stop you from properly ejaculating sperm. Other less common causes of male include low hormone levels, sperm antibodies (antibodies which fight against sperm) or even genetic mutations.

Often, a significant proportion of infertile men have a treatable condition, and will be able to conceive naturally after treatment. In some cases, your doctor will recommend assisted reproductive treatment such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). These methods don’t address infertility, but will provide an alternative method for couples to achieve pregnancy. If you have had a vasectomy in the pass and are trying to conceive, vasectomy reversal is another option available. 

However, the best treatment is always prevention, and there are a number of things you can do to decrease your chance of infertility. Smoking, excess drinking, STIs, anabolic steroids, and even tight fitting underwear have been shown to decrease sperm count and sperm quality, so do your best to avoid these factors. If your workplace is potentially hazardous, it is important to wear the appropriate protective clothing and to follow occupational health and safety guidelines.

Southgate Medical Centre
Men’s Health

Endometriosis, What Is It?

What Is Endometriosis

What Is EndometriosisEndometriosis is a progressive and chronic condition experienced by females, and typically happens when cells similar to those that line the uterus (endometrial cells) are found in other parts of the body. It commonly occurs in the pelvis and will effect a women’s reproductive system if left untreated. Around 1 in 10 women of reproductive age are expected to experience the condition during their lifetime. An estimated 200 million women worldwide have been diagnosed with the condition. Women with endometriosis have been shown to have increased risks of high cholesterol levels and heart disease.

Endometrial cells are typically found on the lining of the uterus, but may also start to grow in patches on other pelvic organs, or even on the inside lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum). These patches will have the exhibit the same menstrual changes outside the uterus as inside the uterus, and may bleed at the same time of your menstruation cycle. Endometrial tissue and patches are known as endometrial lesions. Endometrial cells found outside your uterus will cause inflammation and scarring should they bleed or leak fluid during period cycles. As these patches occur outside the uterus, they cannot pass out of our body and will remain, potentially developing into cysts or nodules over time. If cysts develop in the ovaries, they are called endometriomas, otherwise called ‘chocolate cysts’ due to their dark color.

There are no known causes for endometriosis, but there are several factors that have been identified that may increase the likelihood of endometriosis. Family history is shown to increase the likelihood of endometriosis by up to 7-10 times. Retrograde menstruation, when period blood flows backwards along the fallopian tubes also increases the likelihood of endometriosis. Finally, metaplasia, pregnancies at higher maternal age, short period cycles and excessive alcohol use may also contribute to endometriosis. 

Extreme pain during periods is a key identifier of endometriosis. However, it is not an indicator of how severe the condition is. Instead, it is an indicator of where the endometrial lesions are located. Asides from pain, other symptoms of endometriosis can include pain during sexual intercourse, heavy/irregular bleeding, pain during bowel movements/urination, nausea, fatigue and infertility. Symptoms are known to vary widely and will depend on where the endometrial lesions are located. However, symptoms tend to be progressive, meaning they will become more severe with time. 

polycystic ovarian syndromeShould you experience painful periods it must be understood that this isn’t normal. In particular, you should see your doctor as soon as possible if you find yourself unable to work, go to school or partake in recreational activities due to extreme period pain. 

A range of treatments are available depending on the severity of your condition, and treatments are specifically targeted to each individual, depending on their symptoms and circumstances. There are many options available, ranging from healthy lifestyle changes, pain relief medications and hormone therapy. In some cases, surgery such as laparoscopy, laparotomy and hysterectomy may also be recommended.

Southgate Medical
Women’s Health Melbourne