I write about about health and medicine for national UK media. MJA Case Study Writer of the Year 2018 & Journalist of the Year (Health Food Manufacturers' Association) June 2017. MJA Finalist 2020&21
What it feels like to have a headache or migraine
How do women cope with headaches and migraines? 7 women tell us about their symptoms and how they treat everything from tension headaches to migraine attacks
In this article
What it feels like to have headaches
We all know what a headache feels like as they’re so common - but what is it like to cope with hormonal headaches, severe headaches(migraines) or cluster headaches?
Healthily clinical adviser Dr Ann Nai...
Chlamydia – what you need to know plus the risks for women
Why women need to fight back against chlamydia
Chlamydia is the most common STD in the US, with 1.5 million cases diagnosed every year. Yet between 70% and 90% of women who catch it have no symptoms so they don’t even know they’ve been infected.
“Just because most women don’t get symptoms, that doesn’t mean you can ignore it. Chlamydia can cause long term health problems for women including fertility issues and chronic pain if you don’t get it diagnosed and treated with antibiotics. Meanwhile...
What it feels like to have heavy periods and period cramps
Why it’s time to talk frankly about painful periods
Periods can be a monthly drag, forcing many women to cope with symptoms including painful cramps, heavy bleeding, irregular cycles, acne flares, mood swings and even hormonal headaches.
“On average, you'll have your period for 2,535 days of your life – so it’s a big part of your health and wellbeing,” says Dr Ann Nainan, family doctor and Healthily expert. “Of course, not everyone gets period problems – but if you do, they can start to domin...
What does an STD feel like?
What’s it like to be told you have sexually transmitted disease (STD)? Read real-life experiences from women, including how they felt when they found out and broke the news to partners, and how they came to terms with it.
Being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) – also known as a sexually transmitted infection (STI) – can come as a huge shock. You might have had no symptoms, or never thought you were at risk as you’ve only been with one partner.
“It can be scary and isolating...
How to lose belly fat – 18 things you need to know
Why belly fat is a health alert for women
“As well as being something that can affect your body image, stubborn belly (abdominal) fat is something we all need to take seriously as a health issue,” says Dr Ann Nainan, family doctor and Healthily expert. Why? Research shows it can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Women might need to take even more notice than men, too. “One study found that belly fat may even be worse for women’s heart health than men’s,” says Dr Ann. “A...
Rheumatoid arthritis treatment to control your pain
Rheumatoid arthritis treatment from your doctor
“There are so many effective treatments for rheumatoid arthritis these days,” says Dr Ann Nainan, family doctor and Healthily expert. “Whatever you might have seen or heard from friends and family members who have had to deal with RA in the past, the good news is that the outlook is much brighter than it was 20 years ago.”
The key things you need to know:
don’t delay talking to your doctor about treatment – if you get treatment early enough, som...
At home eye tests – the benefits and how to do them
Wondering if it’s time for a prescription update for your eyeglasses, or if you need to get a pair for the first time? Have you noticed more blurriness than normal? Are you struggling to read food labels or car number plates? Or do you just want to test how good your eyesight is?
There are some checks you can do at home, to help you work out if you should see an eye care professional. So read on to find out how to do an eye test at home, along with the pros and cons, and other ways to look af...
8 self-care tips to treat pain without medication
Headache hit just when you want to go out? Period pain ruining your focus at work? Back pain stopping you from sitting comfortably? Whatever pain you’re dealing with, there are self-care tips that can help – either alongside the pain relief you get from your medical team, or on their own.
Find the self-care pain relief that works for you
“Everyone is different and has different experiences of pain,” says Dr Ann Nainan, family doctor and Healthily expert.
And even if you have a condition that ...
Fibromyalgia: symptoms, causes and getting diagnosed
Fibromyalgia is a difficult condition to diagnose. It can cause pain all over your body, and more women get it than men. Read on for the lowdown about the symptoms, causes and who gets it – and what you can do to help yourself get the right diagnosis.
Fibromyalgia has often been seen as a bit of a mysterious condition. It causes pain all over your body, along with other symptoms, but the cause isn’t fully understood.
It’s now a recognised pain condition, and ongoing research suggests it happe...
Rheumatoid arthritis self-care – tips that really work
Self-care for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a way for you to manage flare-ups and ease pain, alongside taking your medication. But what diet and exercise changes will work? And are there any good home remedies for rheumatoid arthritis? Read on for science-backed self-care tips that are worth the effort.
Self-care for rheumatoid arthritis
“Looking after yourself well is a key part of dealing with rheumatoid arthritis,” says Dr Ann Nainan, family doctor and Healthily expert.
“You still need to t...
Women and pain: why they get more pain conditions than men
One survey found that 1 in 6 women say they experience severe pain every day – from back pain and arthritis to endometriosis, fibromyalgia and vulval pain. And more than half of these women feel that they've had their pain ignored or dismissed. So what’s going on? And how can you get your pain taken care of when you need help? Here’s what you need to know.
The gender pain gap is real (but things are starting to change)
When it comes to pain, women have traditionally been labeled the ‘weaker’ ...
Treatment for fibromyalgia: all you need to know
If you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, it’s important to have a plan for managing pain and fatigue, both day to day and if you have a flare-up – when your symptoms feel worse. And as we don’t fully understand what causes this condition, you may need to try different things, to find out what works for you. Here’s how you and your healthcare team can work together on a plan for fibromyalgia medication, diet and self-care – to make living with fibromyalgia that little bit easier.
How to cut back on drinking
Find out how to cut back or stop drinking alcohol with our science-backed tips for staying sober. Whatever your reasons for a rest, read on for our science-backed tips and reap the health benefits – from weight and pain management to quality sleep, fewer hangovers and fertility help.
The health benefits of cutting back on alcohol
Worried your nightly glass of wine is getting bigger or even becoming 2 or 3? Do you wake up too often feeling fuzzy-headed or with a killer headache and hazy memori...
COVID-19 vaccines: all you need to know
This story was first published on 18 December 2020, updated on 7 July 2022 and last updated on 26 October 2022. Healthily will continue to update this story as new information becomes available.
Most countries in the world are now vaccinating people against COVID-19. “All the vaccines that have been approved and used have gone through a thorough review of safety, quality and efficacy from clinical trials, and often a review from a government body as well,” says
Dr Adiele Hoffman
, GP and Heal...
SAD – how to cope with seasonal depression
If you feel your mood getting lower and you want to curl up and hibernate when the season changes, it’s possible that you have a type of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). “More women get this winter depression,” says
Dr Ann Nainan
, family doctor and Healthily expert. Here’s what you need to know to spot signs, get diagnosed, and find the right self care or doctor treatments for you.
What is seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?
“The most common type of SAD is winter depressio...