Medical maps: Obstetrics overview

Obstetrics: the clinical speciality concerned with pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period. There are six key parts to the obstetrics syllabus in medical school: Uncomplicated pregnancy and labour Maternal issues in pregnancy Baby issues in pregnancy Labour complications and postpartum complications Pregnancy loss Prescribing in pregnancy and breastfeeding If you understand these key areas, you’ll […]

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Ovarian teratoma.

Medical maps: Ovarian neoplasms

First, the bigger picture: ovarian neoplasms fit into the broader sphere of adnexal masses which can be palpated on pelvic examination. Adnexal masses The adnexa refers to the appendages of the uterus – the fallopian tubes, ovaries and ligaments. Ovarian neoplasms are one type of adnexal mass. Physiological adnexal masses Physiological adnexal masses arise from the ovaries. […]

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Medical maps: Fertility

So in this map we’re going to talk about (i) a couple of reproductive age who cannot conceive and (ii) climacteric symptoms and management. I will also cover (iii) contraceptive choices, but not as part of the medical map. Inability to conceive A couple is considered unable to conceive (‘subfertile’ or ‘infertile’) if conception does […]

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Medical maps: Loss of responsiveness

A loss of consciousness (LOC) is the loss of awareness of the self and the surroundings. The clinical sign is a loss of responsiveness (LOR). I make the distinction between LOC and LOR for two reasons: There are some conditions, like psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, where it is unclear whether the patient has truly lost consciousness […]

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The Six Planes of Medicine

Medicine is so vast, and it can be difficult to determine how best to study it. I didn’t just think about this at the start of medical school – I constantly questioned whether my approach was optimal. ‘Traditional’ approaches to study medicine There are two ‘traditional’ approaches: Presentation-based approach – you organise your thoughts based […]

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Medical maps: Urogynaecology

Urogynaecology is a speciality dedicated to treat pelvic floor dysfunction which can manifest as: Urinary incontinence – involuntary leakage of urine Pelvic organ prolapse – an organ in the pelvis slips down and bulges into the vagina These problems are common and massively impact quality of life. In this post I’ll talk about the symptoms and pathology, but […]

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Clue cells.

Medical maps: Vaginal discharge

Discharge – a mixture of fluid and cells from the vagina – can be physiological or pathological. Discharge is considered distinct from bleeding, or from the release of amniotic fluid during spontaneous/artificial rupture of membranes. Features of physiological discharge Physiological discharge is common and may be perceived as pathological by the patient. The term leucorrhoea […]

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Ovarian cyst.

Medical maps: Pelvic pain

In the last medical map we talked about gynaecological bleeding. Now let’s move onto another key symptom: pain. I’ll talk about pelvic pain rather than gynaecological pain, because it is important to be aware of non-gynaecological causes of lower abdominal pain. The pattern of pain is important, and broadly speaking, there are three: Painful periods […]

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Fibroid histopathology.

Medical maps: Gynaecological bleeding

Abnormal vaginal bleeding can be acute or chronic. Acute bleeds are often related to pregnancy (ectopics, miscarriage) and I will discuss these pathologies in obstetrics. Here we will focus on chronic gynaecological bleeding issues. We can divide this into: Abnormal bleeding during reproductive ages – called ‘abnormal uterine bleeding’ (AUB) – the most important symptoms […]

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