At Harbour Health we provide care for women from youth to menopause. Services include family planning, emergency contraception, infertility consultations, care during the menopause and ante-natal care. We also have a particular interest in providing care to students as we have provided the Student Health service to a local third level institute for the last eighteen years.
We provide a comprehensive family planning service. Dr McCarthy is a Family Planning Tutor and a LARC Tutor, (LARC includes inserting and removing the Mirena and Copper Coils. The Implanon, the 'bar', is also inserted and removed in the practice). A comprehensive initial assessment is carried out following which the most appropriate form of contraception is suggested. All forms of contraception, including the combined pill, the 'mini' pill, barrier contraception and sterilisation counselling are available according to individual preference and suitability for the woman involved.
Ideally we hope in this practice to avoid needing emergency contraception but the reality is that it may sometimes be necessary. Currently there is a 'morning after pill' available in pharmacies. This may not be suitable for women over a certain weight or who have realised late that they need it. We provide a prescription which can be taken for up to five days after the event. A copper coil may also be put in in this timescale depending on the time in the cycle. If you are in doubt about whether you are at risk of becoming pregnant please come and see one of our team.
We at Harbour Health aim to help every woman who is considering pregnancy to become as ‘Pregnancy Fit’ as possible prior to conceiving. We have introduced a Pre-Pregnancy Care package of 3 consultations. The aim of this care package is to identify any risk factors in you or your partner’s history which may affect a future healthy pregnancy. We hope to apply interventions which may help to reduce the impact of those risk factors.
In the first consultation we identify any risk factors which could affect your future pregnancy. In the second consultation we do blood tests which will help establish your current health. The third stage is for feedback on the investigations and to discuss health promotion and educational advice.
Unfortunately, as it is becoming more common for women to start their families later, infertility is becoming more common. Within the practice we have considerable experience in the initial assessment and investigation of a couple's fertility. This usually involves an initial consultation with the woman trying to become pregnant identifying risk factors, checking overall health and establishing if in fact ovulation is taking place. Blood tests need to be taken early in the cycle (usually day 3) and a week prior to the period (usually day 21). This means a number of visits may be necessary. The male partner where relevant must also be assessed and semen analysis organised. When all of the investigations are completed a referral is arranged where appropriate with the relevant results to one of the infertility services.
We are delighted to offer combined ante natal care to all of our pregnant patients. The Combined Ante Natal Care model is a service funded by the HSE and must be applied for at your first visit. It involves nine planned visits, the first to confirm your pregnancy and the last the six week check for you and your baby. It includes normal ante natal and early post natal care and monitoring pregnancy related complications such as raised blood pressure in cooperation with the hospital service. Unfortunately attendances for any other illnesses which arise during pregnancy (such as chest infections, kidney infections etc) will incur a cost for private patients.
With increasing life expectancy for women, we can expect women to live almost as long after the menopause (the permanent cessation of periods) as before it. While it has become the exception rather than the rule for women to take HRT or Hormone Replacement Therapy, the problems of the menopause have not gone away. Unfortunately women are now more likely to suffer in silence rather than come for help with those problems as they believe nothing can be done.
The problems which arise include hot flushes, mood changes, joint pains, incontinence, painful sex caused by vaginal atrophy and memory changes to mention a few. Also Osteoporosis starts to become an issue for some women. After the menopause there is a change in women's metabolism causing their cholesterol to rise and therefore causing an increase in cardiovascular disease making heart attacks and stroke more of a possibility. Don't suffer in silence. Sometimes HRT may be the answer for you and there are other treatments and lifestyle changes which can help,
Dr McCarthy has started a Menopause Clinic which involves a thirty minute consultation and allows and in depth assessment of your particular situation and appropriate management may be suggested. While you may mention your menopause concerns in a regular consultation Dr McCarthy will not be able to comprehensively address your issues in a standard consultation and may ask you to return.
While this is more common after the menopause, it can develop in women as young as their twenties after a difficult birth. Women often hide this for years during which time treatment is more than possible. If this is a problem for you please make an appointment either one of the doctors. It is never too late to get help.
We have a free national screening programme for all women between the ages of 25 and 60. You can register with Cervicalcheck or provide your PPS number when making your appointment. Please ask for an appointment for a cervical smear which should ideally be done in the middle of your cycle. This is a free service which is normal provided by the nurse who is registered with Cervicalcheck.
Different things may concern you at different ages and your family history will affect that.
If you are under thirty your main concern may be your sexual health. We provide full STI screening in Harbour Health.
If you are older you might request a Standard Medical. This appointment takes an hour during which you initially fill in a comprehensive questionnaire and supply a urine sample. The doctor will then clarify any health issues arising in the questionnaire, complete a thorough physical examination and take a panel of bloods. You will receive a written report based on your assessment and blood results within a few weeks.
If you would prefer a more comprehensive examination you may like to make an appointment for an Executive Medical. This involves two appointments. The first will be early morning with the nurse for an hour. During that a comprehensive history and fasting blood tests will be taken. A urine and stool test, ECG (heart test) and breathing test will also be done. Your second appointment will be a week later for 30 minutes with the doctor. During this appointment (which can be at any time throughout the day) the physical examination will be completed, the blood and other tests will be discussed and health suggestions for the future will be made.
You do not need to do a full Well Woman Medical to find out if you are at increased risk of heart disease. You can ask the doctor at any consultation if you have a family history or are in general concerned about this. The doctor will arrange for you to have blood tests. When the results are available you may attend the nurse who will complete a cardiac risk assessment. This will be based on your height, weight, blood pressure, smoking status, family history and blood results.
If you have established heart disease we offer a structured programme for monitoring your heart health.
This is becoming increasingly common in Ireland. We offer screening for Diabetes on request and are likely to suggest it if we notice your weight has increased. Diabetes can cause a lot of damage to your body if it is untreated so you are certainly better off knowing you have it. We offer a structured Diabetes programme with monthly clinics in the practice. We also have a HSE Dietitian attending the practice to advise our diabetic patient