At Black Women in Real Estate (BWRE), our mission is to support the personal and professional growth of Black women. In line with this objective, we recently had the privilege of hosting a captivating women's health session featuring Dr. Oluremi Mogekwu from Chat Her Box, a renowned expert in women's health. The session shed light on various critical aspects of Black women's well-being, spanning maternal health, sexual health, fertility, and more.
One of the eye-opening topics discussed by Dr. Oluremi was the alarming disparity in maternal health outcomes. Shockingly, statistics reveal that Black women in the UK are five times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth compared to their Caucasian counterparts. This concerning statistic underscores the need for further research and concerted efforts to improve the health and well-being of Black women in these critical stages of life.
Sexual health was another key area addressed during the session. It was revealed that a significant proportion of individuals receiving HIV care in the UK are Black men and women. Moreover, Black men and women are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections. This insight emphasises on the importance of prioritising sexual health education, awareness, and prevention strategies within the Black community.
PCOS and Endometriosis
The session also delved into specific conditions that disproportionately impact Black women. For instance, Black women are more likely to develop Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and experience delayed diagnosis of endometriosis, a condition where the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis can cause a range of symptoms such as menstrual cramps, pelvic pain, painful intercourse, and infertility. Dr. Oluremi explained that lifestyle changes, including dietary modifications and exercise, can complement medical treatments like chemosurgery in managing this condition. Notably, reducing dairy and refined sugar intake has shown to alleviate symptoms.
Fibroids, another common concern among Black women, were also addressed. Statistics reveal that 85% of Black women are more likely to have fibroids, which are benign tumors that grow in the muscles of the womb. Symptoms can include excessive bleeding during periods, bleeding between periods or after sex, and increased back pain. Treatment options for fibroids include surgical removal, hormonal medicines, or even removal of the womb in severe cases. Dr. Oluremi highlighted the need for increased research funding in this area to better understand the causes and develop improved treatment approaches.
Contraceptives were discussed as valuable tools for managing various gynecological conditions such as irregular periods, PCOS, hormonal imbalances, and heavy menstrual bleeding. Both pills and intrauterine devices (coils) were highlighted as effective options for women seeking relief from these conditions.
When it comes to fertility, it was emphasised that infertility affects both men and women equally. While the majority of couples (84%) can conceive within a year of trying, age plays a significant role. Women over the age of 35 are advised to consult their general practitioner after one year of unsuccessful attempts to conceive. Understanding the intricacies of the biological clock and seeking early investigation are crucial steps in addressing any fertility issues. Dr. Oluremi also emphasised the option of egg freezing as a means of preserving fertility and encouraged women to consider it at an earlier age for better quality of eggs.
HPV and Cervical Cancer
The session touched upon the connection between HPV and cervical cancer. Astonishingly, 99.7% of cervical cancer cases are attributed to HPV, which is primarily transmitted through sexual contact. It was disheartening to learn that Black women are less likely to undergo regular cervical smear tests. Routine screening every three years until the age of 55, and subsequently every five years, is recommended for early detection and prevention of cervical cancer.
Know Your Body
Knowing one's body was another important theme highlighted during the session. Dr. Oluremi advised women to familiarise themselves with the shape and feel of their breasts at different times of the month. Routine self-examinations for breast lumps should be conducted approximately a week after the end of the menstrual cycle. By actively engaging in breast health awareness, women can play an active role in reducing the risk of breast cancer and seeking prompt medical attention if any changes are noticed.
Finally, during the session the topic of menopause, an increasingly relevant aspect of women's health in the workplace. Dr. Oluremi emphasised the importance of women gaining knowledge about menopause and actively engaging in their own healthcare. Understanding the intricacies of this stage of life empowers women to seek appropriate help, ask relevant questions, and advocate for themselves and other women.
The women's health session with Dr. Oluremi Mogekwu was a captivating and insightful one that shed light on crucial aspects of Black women's health. By highlighting the importance of knowledge, awareness, and proactive engagement in healthcare, the session encouraged Black women to take charge of their well-being both personally and professionally.
Dr Oluremi Mogekwu - Co-founders of Chat Her Box
Dr Remi Mogekwu is a London based Obstetrics and Gynaecology registrar. She graduated from King’s College London in 2014 and obtained a Master’s in Women’s health and reproductive science from University College London in 2013.
Dr Mogekwu is a co-creator of Chat Her Box (@chat.her.box). This is a collaboration between two black female trainee doctors in the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Chat Her Box started in response to the racial disparities unfortunately seen daily in our field of work. The aim of ChatHerBox is to educate and empower black women to make informed choices about their care and move away from medical paternalism. We provide women a safe platform to speak freely, ask questions and learn about their health.
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