The Paralympic Games in London are now in full swing. This is a fantastic event following on from the success of the Olympic Games. The Paralympics highlight the spectrum of disability and how strength and belief triumph. The flame was lit last week at my place of work, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where the first Paralympic Games took place back in 1948.
The National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC) is based at Stoke Mandeville and I am involved in their work. Although the majority of patients with a spinal injury are male, I do see women with spinal injuries and help them with both obstetric and gynaecological issues.
My main speciality however is urogynaecology. Dependent on the level and severity of the injury, spinal injury patients will have a degree of bladder and bowel problems. In terms of fertility, women should be reassured that there is a good chance of conceiving and having a vaginal birth.
The great advantage of having a National Centre is that we work in a multidisciplinary team made up of specialist doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Patients receive a wealth of support while they are in the centre and once they leave.
The RCOG has put together a series of podcasts to raise awareness about women with disabilities with a particular focus on spinal injuries. There are various websites and resources with more information and we have pulled them all together to form one webpage of information. They answer questions women may have about their injury, how it will affect their reproductive health and what support is out there for them.
I’ll be cheering on Team GB this Paralympics and I’m sure our female athletes will again do the country proud.
To listen to the podcasts please click here.