Recent writing: PTSD, vaginal bacteria, and HRT shortages

It’s been a particularly busy month since my last update, and I’m looking forward to a much-needed holiday over the next week. Throughout July I’ve been working again with Google Arts & Culture on two projects which will be launching in the next few weeks and months. I’ve also worked on a couple of newsier pieces for The i, and written one of my most personal pieces in a while – for Refinery29 – on PTSD.

5 Women With PTSD Describe What It’s Like To Live With – for Refinery29:

Warning: This article contains descriptions of traumatic events, including rape, which some readers might find upsetting

I always thought I had a pretty good understanding of trauma. I’ve been writing about mental health for the last five years, and since 2011 I’ve worked with survivors of trafficking, domestic and sexual violence, and later with refugees and asylum seekers who’ve lived through unspeakable violence, torture and loss. But I never fully understood PTSD – or how much it can fuck you up – until I experienced it myself.

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is an anxiety disorder estimated to affect one in 10 people. The national PTSD charity, PTSD UK describes it as “essentially a memory filing error caused by a traumatic event” – although not everyone who experiences trauma will go on to develop PTSDSymptoms include increased anxiety and hypervigilance, avoidance and numbing, re-experiencing the traumatic event through flashbacks and nightmares, as well as self-destructive behaviours, feelings of guilt and shame.

Continue reading at Refinery29…

Women at greater risk of ovarian cancer have fewer ‘friendly’ bacteria in the vagina, a study has found – for The i:

Women most a risk of ovarian cancer have fewer ‘friendly’ bacteria in the vagina, according to research published today in The Lancet Oncology.

Gynaecological cancer charity The Eve Appeal – who jointly funded the research with the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 initiative – hope the findings will inspire a vital conversation about factors that can influence and interfere with the vaginal microbiome.

“There’s very little we know about how ovarian cancer starts, so what’s really exciting about this paper is that it shows the significance vaginal bacteria has in terms of disease prevention,” says Athena Lamnisos, CEO of The Eve Appeal.

Continue reading at The i…

Women around the UK are facing a ‘major and widespread’ shortage of hormone replacement therapy – for The i:

Women around the UK are facing a “major and widespread” shortage of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), leaving some struggling with menopause symptoms and side effects such as night sweats, depression and anxiety.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) estimates one million women in the UK use treatment for their menopausal symptoms, with HRT being the main treatment offered on the NHS.

Although the exact number of women affected by the current shortage is unclear, Dr Hannah Short, a GP specialising in PMS and the menopause, said it is “a major and widespread issue, affecting a large number of women”. However, both doctors and pharmacists are in the dark about the reasons for the shortage and how long it’s likely to last.

Continue reading at The i…

IF YOU NEED SUPPORT

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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