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Book review - Health & Living - Women’s health, plain and simple

‘The Women’s Health Book – A Guide for the Irish Woman’ pretty much does exactly what it says on the tin, and for that reason it will be heartily welcomed by many women.

The author, Dr Rachel Mackey, a GP specialising in women’s health, runs a women’s health clinic in Dun Laoghaire. She has extensive training in obstetrics and gynaecology, holding the MRCOG and having carried out extensive research on the area of the menopause and reproductive endocrinology.

Despite the advent of the information age, and the lip service paid to improved communication, many patients still find healthcare a confusing, jargon-ridden obstacle course. While the internet is a useful tool in finding out about women’s health conditions and other health issues, its plethora of information and potential bias and inaccuracies confuses many patients.

Dr Mackey says one of her main reasons for writing the book was the dearth of clear and concise information out there about specific women’s health issues. She points out that in her own clinic many women tell her they had struggled to find information about their particular problem prior to attending for a consultation. The Women’s Health Book, therefore, provides a useful reference source intended to help women ‘ask the right questions’ when they attend a doctor with a specific women’s health issue.

The book covers common women’s health issues from weight problems to female cancer, to osteoporosis and pregnancy. Given the wide-range of women’s health problems, Dr Mackey has not covered every possible condition. However, she has provided an easy-to-read guide on the key points of common women’s health issues. For example, the chapter on weight issues gets down to basics by defining BMI and outlining the fundamentals on diet and lifestyle before discussing issues such as diabetes.

There is a particularly useful chapter on the menopause, which the author has researched extensively. In the chapter on pregnancy, Dr Mackey advises women on what to expect on the first visit to the doctor and in antenatal visits and gives advice on the types of maternity care available.

All royalties from the book go to Breast Cancer Ireland, a charity established to support breast cancer research.

- Niall Hunter

Book review - Health & Living - Women’s health, plain and simple
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