Recent writing: periods on the pill, smear tests, and the link between acne and diet

I realised recently that, while I’ve been keeping Hysterical Women updated on a more or less weekly basis, it’s been more than three months since my last proper work update over here. Although my work around Hysterical Women has been sucking a lot of my time lately, there’s also a backlog of freelance work that I haven’t shared yet, so I’m going to split these over several posts – hopefully not three months apart!

In January I wrote for about new guidelines on continuous pill use, looking at if it’s safe to skip your period on the pill, as well as investigating whether there’s a link between acne and diet. I also wrote for Grazia magazine, ghostwriting a first-person interview with Claire Saunders, who was left infertile by cervical cancer after skipping her smear tests for ten years.

Is it safe to skip your period on the pill? – for Patient:

For decades women have been taking the combined pill for 21 days at a time, with a seven-day pill break and withdrawal bleed in between. But is it safe to skip your period by taking two – or more – packs back to back? As the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) publishes new guidelines on continuous pill use, we look at the evidence behind all the different options.

Continue reading at Patient…

‘I Missed My Smear Tests. Now I’m Infertile’ – for Grazia

Embarrassment and fear are probably the thing putting you off going, but as Claire Saunders, 38, discovered, the consequences of skipping your smear test can be dire

You think you’re invincible when you’re young. Even after witnessing the Jade Goody effect – the Big Brother star, 27, died 10 years ago this March from cervical cancer, prompting nearly 500,000 extra women to turn up for a smear test – I never thought the disease would strike me. That mixture of naivety, ignorance and nervousness meant I repeatedly ignored the letters asking me to attend for my smear test – sticking them in the kitchen drawer, with an intention to sort it out later. But if I had just made that appointment, my cancer could have been caught so much earlier. Instead, it ended up taking my fertility.

Continue reading at Grazia… / PDF available here

Is there a link between diet and acne? – for Patient:

You don’t have to look very far online to find someone proffering a miracle ‘acne diet’ or ‘hormone-balancing’ dietary supplement that will supposedly clear up your skin for good. But what does the evidence really say?

Acne affects 80% of us at some point in our lives, with as much as 40-55% of the populationaged 20-40 suffering from adult acne. It can have a major impact on sufferers’ self-esteem and mental health and, if you’re affected by long-term adult acne, it’s likely you’ve tried a whole range of acne-fighting options.

Continue reading at Patient…


Please note that I am NOT a psychologist or healthcare professional. Check out my resources page for details of organisations who might be able to help.

If you are struggling with mental health problems, contact Mind on 0300 123 3393 or Rethink Mental Health on 0300 5000 927. In a crisis, call the free, 24/7 Samaritans helpline on 116 123.

However, if you would like to get in touch about your own experiences, or a story that you’re keen to tell, please feel free to drop me an email.

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