Category: News

Southbank Medical Centre

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

Childhood Vaccinations

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. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/immunisation-side-effects 

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

Hay Fever Management

Hay Fever Management

Spring has arrived, and unfortunately for many of us, so has Hay Fever!

Hay Fever is the common term used to describe the symptoms of sneezing, nasal congestion, red itchy watery eyes and headache related to exposure to the grass & tree pollens that are in the air in Spring.

Hay Fever Management

Hay Fever ManagementSo what can you do to best manage these symptoms?

  • Check the daily pollen forecast.  A very useful app is available providing pollen counts and also forecasts of thunderstorm asthma. You can download the Melbourne Pollen Count mobile app here. On high pollen count days you may need to say indoors 
  • Take anti-histamine tablets as needed – these are available over the counter from your pharmacy
  • Consider daily use of a corticosteroid nasal spray – this needs to be taken continuously throughout the Hay Fever season to prevent symptoms
  • Anti-histamine eye drops can be helpful for itchy red eyes
  • If symptoms are severe and recurring each year, talk to your doctor about allergy testing and desensitization immunotherapy

Asthma & Hayfever

Remember that people with Hay Fever may also be at risk of getting Thunderstorm Asthma. This can happen when a high or extreme pollen count day combines with a particular type of thunderstorm, turbocharging the spread of pollens. Consult your doctor about whether you may also benefit from having an asthma reliever inhaler such as Ventolin or Symbicort on standby.

Southgate Medical
Hay Fever Management

Men’s Health Checkups

mens health

mens health checkupNormally, deliveries of healthcare and strategies for disease prevention are generally meant to be ‘gender neutral’ and assume that healthcare interventions are equally successful for both men and women. However, studies are increasingly showing that this is not the case anymore. Instead evidence shows that focusing on the particular health needs of both men and women will improve the health of both groups.

When it comes to men’s health, research shows that men require a better-informed and planned response to their specific health care needs. Of particular concern for men include lower life expectancy on average, higher levels of avoidable mortality and higher rates of death from heart disease, cancer, suicide and respiratory diseases. The causes of these health issues are multifaceted, and there are range of factors involved such as health illiteracy, attitude and lifestyle behaviors. 

As such it is very important for males to not only have a healthy diet and regular exercise, but to also have regular medical checkups with your doctor. There are various types of men’s health checkups, each individually being very helpful in preventing disease and improving your quality of life;

Physical Health Tests

will involve your doctor checking your physique to ensure you remain physically healthy. Your doctor will assess your medical history and may look at your dietary habits, work habits, exercise habits and your relationship status to determine your physical health. Depending on your doctor’s assessment, you may be recommended to get a specific checkup. 

Psychological Health Tests

are very important in helping diagnose and treat mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and stress. A psychologist will aid you in coping with your mental illness and will help maintain your mental health. 

Men’s Heart Checkups

are necessary to identify cardiovascular diseases that may show up as you grow older. Your doctor may perform a variety of tests, including (but not limited to) cholesterol tests, obesity tests, Echocardiogram tests and blood pressure tests. These tests will ensure whether your heart is healthy or not, reducing your risk of cardiovascular problems. 

Bone Tests

identify skeletal diseases such as osteoporosis. As part of a bone test, you may be required to get X-rays, a tomography, bone density tests and biopsies. These tests will ensure your bones remain healthy. 

Diabetes Checkups

will be recommended based on if you smoke, have an unhealthy diet, have cardiovascular disease or have a family history of diabetes. 

Cancer Screenings

include screening for prostate and bowel cancer. These are important tests conducted to catch cancerous diseases in order to treat them as early as possible. 

Skin Checkups

are important if you have regular exposure to sunlight and UV radiation. Men are showed to be more double as likely as women to contract skin cancer. You should contact your doctor in the case of any abnormal change in color or shape of your skin.

Eye Health Checkups

are recommended annually for men above 40 years of age. This will help reduce the risk of you developing diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and general eyesight deterioration. 

Dental Health Checkups

are recommended for every 6 months to help maintain healthy oral hygiene. 

Neurological Health Tests

help identify whether you have any risk of brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s Dyslexia or brain tumors.

Southgate Medical
Men’s Health Checkups

What Is Anxiety, And How Should You Best Manage It?

what is anxiety

what is anxiety disorderThere is more to anxiety than just the feeling of stress or worry. It is perfectly normal to feel anxious during stressful situations. When we feel pressured, feelings of stress and anxiety are common responses that usually disappear when the stressful situation passes. However, if your feelings of stress occur regularly or don’t go away, this might mean that you are experiencing an anxiety condition.  

In Australia, anxiety is the most common mental health condition, with around one in four Australians (one in three women and one in five men) experiencing it during their lifetime. Every year, over two million Australians experience anxiety. 

The sooner people get support, the more likely they are to recover and there are many ways to help manage it. 

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms are complex and evolve over time, and since we all experience anxious feelings during periods of stress, it can be hard to know if our feelings are normal or not. 

Normal feelings that people experience are limited in time and tend to be connected to a stressful situation or event, such as a group presentation or a job interview. In contrast, anxious feelings experienced are more regular, not always connected to stressful situations, and can impact on day-to-day quality of life. While each person can experience different types, there are some common symptoms including:

  • Panic attacks
  • Hot and cold flushes
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Quick breathing
  • Excessive fear/worry
  • Avoidance of certain situations

There are more symptoms that you may experience, and you will need to see a doctor to properly be diagnosed with anxiety condition. However, these can be used as a guide for yourself and others. 

Treatments for anxiety

Mental HealthEffective treatment for anxiety involves helping you learn how to control your anxiety so it doesn’t control you. What treatment is recommended for you will depend on what type of anxiety you experience. 

If your symptoms are mild, your doctor might suggest changes to you daily routine, such as regular physical exercise. In this time of isolation, you might also like to try online or telehealth therapies, many of which are free, anonymous and easily accessible for anyone with internet access. For instance, if you are a university student, your university should offer free and anonymous counselling a phone call away. 

If you experience moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety, psychology and/or medical treatments are likely to be required. Psychology treatment can involve Cognitive Behavior therapy and Behavior therapy, which will be designed by a mental health care professional for your needs. You may also be prescribed a form of antidepressant medication or antianxiety medication (also known as Benzodiazephines). 

Management strategies

If you experience an anxiety condition, there are a range of strategies you can try to help manage your mental health. Here is a short list of a few strategies that may help:

  • Slow breathing. When you’re experiencing anxiety, your breathing becomes faster and you may hyperventilate. Try deliberately slowing your breathing.
  • Stay in the moment. Anxiety can make your thoughts live in a fearsome future that hasn’t happened yet. Try to bring yourself to where you are presently.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle. By keeping active, eating well, spending time with family and friends, you will reduce your stress and anxiety levels, improving your overall wellbeing.
  • Take small acts of bravery. Avoiding what makes you anxious can bring some relief but can make you more anxious in the long run. If you try approaching something that makes you anxious, even in a small way, you can go a long way to overcoming your anxiety.
  • Be kind to yourself. Remember that you are not defined by your anxiety, and that your anxiety does not make you weak or inferior in anyway.

If you feel that you may experience an anxiety condition, be sure to seek support from not just your doctor, but also from your family and friends. 

If you require support, don’t hesitate to call for help

Southgate Medical Centre – 03 9690 1433

Lifeline Australia – 13 14 11

Beyond Blue – 1800 512 348