Women's Activism NYC

Dr Natalia Novikova

By: Jane Ambrose | Date Added:

Dr. Natalia Novikova is South Africa’s first aesthetic gynecologist and offers innovative treatments for common yet often misunderstood conditions. After qualifying as a doctor from the National Medical University in Kiev, Ukraine, she went on to complete a PhD in infection and preterm birth. She then moved to Australia, where she had specialist training in obstetrics and gynecology at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. During that time, she travelled to Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in South Africa and fell in love with the country – returning to head up the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Frere Hospital in East London. It was during this time that she became aware of an emerging need for advanced aesthetic gynecological care. “Most of my work has always been fairly simple,” she says. “I do a lot of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to perform hysterectomies, to remove cysts, or to treat patients with endometriosis. But I found many of my patients had questions that I couldn’t answer, or problems I couldn’t treat with traditional surgery.” Dr. Novikova decided to expand the scope of her expertise, to include laser surgery and other minimally invasive techniques, including labiaplasty and vaginoplasty. “These are cosmetic treatments, but my patients present with common functional problems,” she explains. “These days, women are leading dynamic lives a lot longer than they used to. But our bodies don’t always play ball: as we age, our estrogen drops, our collagen drops, and we start to face health concerns, especially in the vaginal area. We aim to cure these conditions or at least relieve the symptoms, so that they can enjoy the same quality of life for many more years.” Dr Novikova says many of her treatments are unknown or simply misunderstood. “For decades, women just didn’t talk about these conditions, even with their doctors. And not necessarily out of embarrassment; a lot of them assumed there was nothing that could be done, or that if there was, they’d need major, expensive surgery. Some thought it was just a part of getting older. That’s not the case – there is a lot we can do, and these treatments are not invasive at all.” One condition she sees often is vaginismus. “This is an involuntary muscle spasm in the pelvic floor muscles,” she says. “It can arise from numerous causes – a traumatic sexual experience, for example, or simply anxiety and stress. But if left untreated it can make it painful, difficult or plain impossible to have sex or even to undergo a gynecological exam.” The solution may be as simple as a quick Botox injection, she says. “One injection, and in most cases, it’s gone for good. It’s amazing to think that such a small thing can change your entire life.”

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