UTI symptoms Urological surgeon reveals the symptoms and treatment options for this common infection FEATURED

UTI symptoms? Urological surgeon reveals the symptoms and treatment options for this common infection

Half of all women report at least one Urinary Tract Infection before their mid-thirties. Consultant Urological Surgeon Marco Bolgeri , at The Princess Grace Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK reveals the symptoms to look out for and what treatments are avai 

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) are one of the most common problems affecting patients. UTI’s are also the most common cause of infection in hospitalised patients in the UK.

In fact, it is estimated that half of all women report at least one urinary tract infection by their mid-thirties, with recurrence rates of 25 to 50 per cent within six months, which further increases in cases with more than one prior urinary tract infection.

The incidence of UTI symptoms in men is considerably lower than that in women, nevertheless with an estimated life- time prevalence of 13.7 per cent.

What is a UTI?

Women aged under 65 years are diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (UTI) if they have two or more key urinary symptoms and no other excluding causes or warning signs.

Key symptoms include:

  • dysuria (burning pain when passing urine)
  • new nocturia (passing urine more often than usual at night)
  • cloudy urine (urine cloudy to the naked eye)

Other symptoms may include frequency and urgency, suprapubic pain.

Other excluding causes are other possible genitourinary causes of urinary symptoms, such as vaginal discharge, urethritis (urinary symptoms may be due to urethral inflammation post sexual intercourse, irritants, or sexually transmitted infection) and genitourinary symptoms of menopause/atrophic vaginitis/vaginal atrophy.

Warning signs are signs of upper urinary tract infection (pyelonephritis) or sepsis (such as loin pain, temperature >38°C, rigors) and possible signs of cancer such as haematuria.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) are one of the most common problems affecting patients

A recurrent UTI is defined as repeated infection with a frequency of two or more UTIs in the last six months, or three or more UTIs in the last 12 months. A recurrent UTI may be due to relapse (with the same strain of organism), or reinfection (with a different strain or species of organism).

Persistent or chronic UTI defines those patients who have chronic UTI symptoms despite initial antibiotic treatment.

READ MORE: From menopause to UTI symptoms – a Doctor’s Guide to everyday women’s health concerns


Mental Health and UTI’s

Not only are UTI’s physically frustrating and uncomfortable, but they can also play havoc on your mental health.

Lower physical and mental health scores have been recorded in patients experiencing UTIs when compared to unaffected controls, with negative emotional responses including anxiety and depression.

Patients often miss work, study and social commitments, or can’t function at their best due to the symptoms (pain, urinary frequency) but also the embarrassment of frequent toilet visits or a potential accident.

Difficulties in accessing the doctor for treatment, including the need to take time off work and the long waits, can also cause additional stress and frustration, and ultimately resulting in patients avoiding or delaying seeking medical help.

Patients often miss work, study and social commitments, or can’t function at their best due to the symptoms

Patients with recurrent UTI symptoms reported not feeling listened to when it comes to discussing management options with doctors who may not be familiar with their cases and possibly suggest treatments that have not previously worked, adding to frustration and avoidance of medical care.

What to tell the doctor is you suspect you have a UTI…

The information offered to the doctor should include the specific symptoms experienced, the number of occurrences and the duration of symptoms and which treatment, if any, had been tried and with what response.

Past medical and surgical history and drug history are also important to establish possible underlying risk factors and causes of infection.

information offered to the doctor should include the specific symptoms experienced

Lifestyle habits in terms of hygiene practice but mostly sexual and gynaecological history should also be discussed. The presence of vaginal discharge or vaginal irritation substantially reduces the probability of a UTI, and vaginal infections and some sexually transmitted diseases can mimic UTI symptoms.

More worrying symptoms and signs suggesting more serious infection or possible cancer (in particular haematuria) should be reported as likely to need urgent secondary care referral.

Similarly, men with a recurrent UTI, and women with a recurrent lower UTI where the cause is unknown or a recurrent upper UTI are referred for specialist advice.

READ MORE: Feeling dry down there? Gynaecologist reveals why collagen can help vaginal dryness


How are UTI’s treated?

Non-pharmacological management includes behavioural measures such as hygiene practices (wiping front to back and avoiding strong/scented intimate detergents), voiding before/after sexual intercourse and refraining from contraceptive methods that include spermicide creams.

Adequate hydration and avoidance of constipation are also advisable.

Various non-antibiotic agents are available for prevention of recurrent UTIs. Some act by preventing bacterial adhesion to the urinary tract, like cranberry (both in tablet or juice form) or D-mannose.

Others block bacterial growth either directly (Methenamine hippurate) or by strengthening the natural defences (probiotics, topical estrogen). The scientific evidence regarding the majority of these is limited and often conflicting, and the cost to the patient not insignificant as usually not available on the NHS.

Similar considerations apply to other strategies such as intravescical instillations of glycosaminoglycan analogues and UTI vaccines, the latter being agents that stimulates the patient’s immune system against the most common uro-pathogens.

Antibiotics remains the main stem of UTI treatment

Antibiotics remains the main stem of UTI treatment. For acute uncomplicated UTIs in women, a 3-day course is recommended by the major guidelines, whereas more at-risk categories such as male patients and pregnant women warrant a 7-day course.

Complicated infections, as well as antibiotic treatment, require diagnosis and management of the underlying cause, common examples being urinary tract obstruction, stones or foreign bodies.

For recurrent or chronic UTIs, low dose antibiotic prophylaxis for 3 to 6 months is the most established regime, with reported reduction in the risk of infection up to 95 per cent.

The emerging challenge of multi-drug bacterial resistance has however highlighted the need to limit widespread antibiotic use, hence the development of the alternative agents mentioned above, but also alternative strategies such as post-coital prophylaxis (single dose of antibiotic immediately after sexual activity) or intermittent self-start therapy.

Healthista Loves Laser Hair Removal at Laser Clinics UK - painless and effective FEATURED

Healthista Loves: Laser Hair Removal at Laser Clinics UK – painless & effective

Laser hair removal is no new trick, however it has come on leaps and bounds since it first hit the market. We reviewed Laser Clinics UK, for the best laser hair removal we’ve seen. Here’s how it went

Laser body hair removal has become one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in recent years.

Among the various types of laser devices available in the market, Candela lasers have gained a reputation for being the best in the business. Why? Let us dive into discussing why Candela lasers are better than other laser devices for body hair removal.

The advancement of laser hair removal

Laser Hair Removal is something that has been around for a long time, with many happy customers! I have contemplated having this procedure done for years, but have always been put off by the price and the time taken to see results.

I came to terms that shaving and epilating was the way forward. Back in the day I tried waxing and sugaring, but that gave me terrible ingrown hairs, so in the end I stuck to shaving as who has time to run to the salon for weekly waxing sessions.

Years ago I tried a course of three laser hair removal treatments for my whole ‘down-there’ area, and I remember it being a painful, uncomfortable experience with no results. This is what I always thought laser hair removal was like, until the opportunity came to visit the newly established Laser Clinics.

I never knew how far laser had come, how quick, easy and painless the procedure was

I can say right now I wish I had it done sooner. Instead of creating more scars and aggravating my skin with a razor. It’s funny because you never understand the pleasure of being hairless and having less maintenance in keeping your body smooth. There’s already enough to do in our daily beauty routines and having such a fast paced work life, it’s just one more thing to maintain.

I never knew how far laser had come, how quick, easy and painless the procedure was and how incredibly worth it, it was going to be. I visited the Laser Clinics Kensington branch, where they use medical grade laser technology for your optimal hair removal.

This treatment is performed by their state-of-the-art Candela lasers by their top tier staff, who are doctors, advanced nurse practitioners and trained therapists. And the best part? It is actually affordable, with treatments starting from just £9 a session.

READ MORE: ‘This new Microneedling technique made me look 5 years younger’

laser hair removal at laser clinics uk

The Technology

The Candela Lasers are the world’s most efficient hair reduction system, whether you have lighter or darker skin, they’ve got you covered. It is one of the most fast, safe, cost-effective, reliable, and permanent hair reduction systems out there.

Laser Hair Removal works by directing concentrated light to target the hair follicle at the root. The laser inhibits the hair’s ability to grow without disrupting or damaging the skin’s surface, so even the most sensitive skin can be treated.

Firstly, let’s understand what Candela lasers are and how they work. Candela lasers are a type of laser device that emits a concentrated beam of light that targets the pigment in the hair follicle.

The laser energy is absorbed by the hair follicle, which damages the follicle and inhibits future hair growth. The Candela laser is designed to target the hair follicle without damaging the surrounding skin, making it a safe and effective method for hair removal.

One of the main advantages of Candela lasers is their ability to treat a wide range of skin types. Unlike other laser devices that are only effective on certain skin tones, Candela lasers are designed to work on all skin types, including dark and tanned skin. This is because the laser energy used in Candela lasers is absorbed by the melanin in the hair follicle rather than the skin, making it safe for all skin tones.

One of the main advantages of Candela lasers is their ability to treat a wide range of skin types

Another advantage of Candela lasers is their speed and efficiency. These lasers are designed to treat large areas of the body quickly and effectively, making the procedure relatively painless and easy. The Candela laser’s unique cooling system also ensures that the skin remains cool and comfortable during the procedure, reducing the risk of burns or discomfort.

Compared to other laser devices, Candela lasers are also known for their long-lasting results. The laser energy used in Candela lasers damages the hair follicle, which inhibits future hair growth. This means that after a few sessions, the hair growth in the treated area will be significantly reduced, leaving the skin smooth and hair-free for a long time.

Candela lasers are the best option for laser body hair removal due to their versatility, speed, efficiency, and long-lasting results. The ability to treat all skin types, coupled with the laser’s cooling system, makes the procedure safe and comfortable.

If you’re considering laser body hair removal, it’s essential to choose a reputable clinic that uses Candela lasers to ensure the best results.


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The Treatment

The most impressive thing for me was how quick and painless the procedure was. A whole body, only took approx 45 min!

The therapist started by drawing sections on the areas that were to be treated, due to their larger spot size of what the devise can cover – the areas got treated in seconds. Also I was expecting a laser that actually feels like small electrical shocks, but with the benefits of its latest technology, it also has a unique dynamic cooling device that helps to calm, soothe and protect the skin at the same time as the laser is firing its shots.

I felt very minimal sensation. I was nervous for how it would feel on my under arms – but this was even less of a sensation than the legs. Then I was dreading the vaginal area and of course I opted for the the full Monty! This is where the therapist has increased the airflow and I can honestly tell you I FELET NOTHING!

I felt no redness or discomfit, only a spring in my step to take on the rest of my day

It was over before it began. Literally felt a little too good to be true and all I was thinking approx 6 more of this and I am a hairless being, wow.

Following the treatment the therapist creamed the affected areas in their special soothing solution, I felt no redness or discomfit, only a spring in my step to take on the rest of my day.

READ MORE: Healthista Loves: Give your skin some TLC this Spring at these 5 London Beauty Clinics

laser hair removal laser clinics UK

The Results

I was truly blown away to see that even after the first session my hair didn’t grow back as quick, as thick or as much. It was a miracle, I could only see some patches growing back here and there.

It was super effective on my skin and hair type, so that was also a relief knowing I will need less sessions. The end results were truly astonishing, no hair growth and just smooth, soft skin.

I had six sessions total and this did the trick, no more razor rash for me or worrying about have I shaved my legs etc before getting into that pool or mini-skirt. Time saving miracle and now I am always boyfriend ready…

The end results were truly astonishing, no hair growth and just smooth, soft skin

This is truly a breather of a treatment that gives life long results and ease of the daily body hair control duties. I recommend this for anyone who wants to save time and have that silky smooth feeling, and of course for any person that is struggling with body hair and  wants smooth clear skin without that prickly feeling.

Prep and After Care?

  • You must shave the treatment area the night before, but no waxing.
  • Avoid direct sunlight for minimum 2-4 weeks prior to your treatment and always protect the skin with sunscreen.
  • For 24 hours post-treatment, avoid shaving, waxing, exfoliation,and tight restrictive clothing.
  • Avoid excessive sweating, swimming or saunas, very hot  showers for approx 3-5 days.
  • Avoid exposing the area to direct sunlight for a minimum 2 – 4 weeks before and after your treatment.
  • If you have done your underarms – no deodorant for 3 days

Recommend treatments 8 to 12 with 4 to 6 weeks downtime in between dependent on the person and their hair type. Full body laser hair removal per session: £339 

Neuroscientist reveals how to spot anxiety symptoms & what can help manage your mind FEATURED

Neuroscientist reveals how to spot anxiety symptoms & help manage your mind

From butterflies in your stomach to a change in appetite, some anxiety symptoms are more obvious than others. Renowned Neuroscientist Dr Caroline Leaf, reveals the symptoms to look out for and what can help manage your mind

Anxiety is an emotional warning signal – a healthy and natural human response to stress or any perceived threat you may encounter, as it is energy that will help us ‘sharpen our wits.’

Anxiety is experienced as a feeling of unease, worry, or even fear, that can vary from different intensities from mild to severe. This feeling is also reflected in our bodies in various ways such as gut aches, heart palpitations and so on.

While it is normal and good to experience occasional anxiety in response to specific situations, such as a job interview or an important exam, when anxiety is unmanaged, it can become a concern for many people if it becomes persistent and interferes with everyday life.

Anxiety is experienced as a feeling of unease, worry, or even fear

I’ll start by saying that anxiety is a complex condition that can affect individuals of all ages and genders. However, when it comes to research, there are some potential differences.

This year, The British Journal of Psychiatry (2021) conducted a study on anxiety in the workplace and found that women are more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety than male employees.

However, it is important to note there is a significant research gap regarding men and anxiety, and research findings may be affected by biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors, which can differ from person to person.

Some research suggests that children or young people below the age of 18 are more likely to develop anxiety. Research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health has shown that 31.9 per cent of adolescents between 13 and 18 years old are affected by anxiety.

Factors contributing to anxiety in children could be family environment, social pressures, academic stress, and traumatic experiences. This leads to a higher risk of performing poorly in school and missing important life experiences.

READ MORE: Emotional SOS: 10 simple tactics to tackle anxiety and lift your mood


What are the main symptoms of anxiety?

If you think you may be experiencing feelings of anxiety, the first step is to become aware of your physical symptoms. It’s essential to tune into what your body is trying to tell you, as your body reflects what’s going on in your mind.

When you are out of equilibrium because of anxiety, your body will give you warning signals such as increased headaches, anxiety attacks, change in appetite, or trouble sleeping. Sometimes, your heart can feel sore because of the excess of stress chemicals flowing through your body.

It’s essential to take note and tune in to these symptoms, don’t just ignore them, because when your body is doing something out of the norm, it’s sending you a message that something in your mind is out of the norm. When you tune into your symptoms and notice what you feel, that is where you can gather awareness.

Anxiety is not limited to mental and physical symptoms, it can also affect your behaviour and perspectives too. You might find yourself avoiding certain situations or places that trigger anxiety, or you might seek reassurance from others excessively. You may see life as overwhelming and this can affect your mood.

Anxiety is not limited to mental and physical symptoms, it can also affect your behaviour and perspectives too

Anxiety can therefore manifest as gastrointestinal issues, leading to stomach aches, nausea, or irritable bowel syndrome, to mention a few lifestyle diseases. It can affect your concentration and memory, making it challenging to focus on tasks or remember details.

It’s important to note that anxiety is an emotional warning signal that will generally have other emotions attached to it like depression or frustration, as emotions tend to work together in clusters. And these in turn show up in your behavioural warning signals, for example, you may feel irritable, on edge, or easily startled.

Some individuals may even feel a shift in their perspective warning signals that go hand in hand with the emotions and behaviours, such as a sense of impending danger or doom, even when there is no objective threat.

READ MORE: Manage your mental health in 7 easy steps


What causes feelings of anxiety?

When it comes to the common causes of anxiety, we must explore the intricate interplay between our thoughts, emotions, behaviours, perspectives and brain responses.

Firstly, it is essential to understand that anxiety can arise from various sources. A primary factor in anxiety is a thought pattern characterised by stuck thinking, worry, and catastrophizing anticipation, also known as our ‘what if’ thoughts that cycle like on a hamster wheel.

Our thoughts shape our emotions, behaviours and perceptions in a feedback loop, and influence the release of stress hormones and neurotransmitters in our brains, affecting our overall mood and mental well-being. Managed anxiety will have a positive influence and unmanaged anxiety will have a negative influence.

Our environments and the people in them can be the triggers of chronic toxic stress responses

Another common cause of anxiety can be related to unmanaged and suppressed past experiences and trauma in our lives. When we encounter distressing experiences or face overwhelming challenges, our mind associates those experiences with feelings of fear and this is wired into the brain and left unmanaged, creating toxic anxiety.

When finding the root of your cause(s) for anxiety, you’ll need to consider a multitude of factors that play into the context of your life.

Our environments and the people in them can be the triggers of chronic toxic stress responses, such as demanding work environments, relationship conflict, or even a negative friend.

These factors can play a crucial role in experiencing anxiety and by embracing, processing and reconceptualizing the anxiety, you can find the root and change how it plays out into your future.

With this in mind, it is important to note that anxiety is multifaceted, and its causes can vary from person to person. By understanding these underlying factors, we can begin to explore practical strategies for managing and overcoming anxiety, elevating a healthier and more resilient mind.

READ MORE: Insomnia? Too stressed to sleep? 5 tried & tested sleep hacks to beat stress


How can someone tell they have anxiety?

Anxiety often presents itself through four categories of warning signals:

  • emotions,
  • behaviours,
  • bodily sensations and
  • perspectives.

If you become aware of these symptoms in your daily life, it is crucial to gather awareness and ask yourself, ‘how do you feel’, ‘what are you doing’, ‘how does this feel in your body’ and ‘how is this all influencing how you look at life?’.

Then ask yourself why you might be having these symptoms. Explore this through writing out the answers to these questions, to try and find the roots and origin story. Only then can we reconceptualise and reconstruct the thought(s) and therefore change how it plays out in our future.

Feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and fearful is a common response to challenging situations. While we may not always control life’s circumstances, we can change what they look like inside of us and be empowered to move forward.

What treatments help with anxiety?

Seeking professional help for mental health is important. However, there are numerous actions we can take as individuals to enhance our mental well-being alongside this, which can be empowering.

Although you may not feel powerful when you’re anxious, it’s crucial to recognise there is a lot you can do by yourself to help your anxious thoughts. It comes back to the why and understanding the root cause of why things are out of balance and why we feel what we feel.

Anxiety is an informational warning signal and is the beginning, not the end, of the inquiry. They are signals we need to explore and manage, not suppress or ignore.

Talking to someone you trust and feel comfortable around is always recommended. I have always recommended that you surround yourself with people who help your mental well-being, not hurt it.

Remind yourself that it’s essential to surround yourself with people who are good for your mental health. Take note of how certain people make you feel, and think about the people you are around when you are your happiest and truest self—these are the people you need to be around more, especially when you feel anxious or fearful!

Keep in mind that establishing boundaries is not only acceptable but necessary in life. It’s perfectly fine to decline certain commitments, it’s acceptable to break up a relationship that is consistently causing you anxiety or distress. It’s acceptable to move forward and let go. It’s acceptable to say no! It’s OK to prioritize your own well-being.

Ensuring you are moving your body as much as you can daily, is vital to maintaining your mental well-being

Oftentimes, people underestimate that life can be very challenging. We are constantly facing stressful situations at work, home… you name it. In many cases, our reactions to these situations can make things worse.

Today, many of us live inactive lifestyles while consuming too many calories, leading to excess energy. When we eat more than we need, we tend to fidget more, upsetting our blood sugar levels and potentially causing anxiety.

Eating better is a common recommendation for maintaining a happier mind and body, but it’s important to note how we eat, not just our calories or what diet is trending on social media. Identify what foods fit your overall lifestyle.

Exercise is medicine for the brain. Whether you’re walking the dog or playing sports with friends, whenever you are moving your body, you are burning energy and improving your mental and physical health.

Ensuring you are moving your body as much as you can daily, is vital to maintaining your mental well-being. Other important recommendations that will help reduce your daily anxiety are limiting your screen time, catching the morning light, and getting outdoors as much as possible throughout the day.

These lifestyle changes may seem simple, but many people forget to prioritise these crucial activities into their lifestyle.

I recently launched a seven-part programme on life transformation platform, Mindvalley, called Calm Mind: A scientific method for managing anxiety and depression, which is filled with research-based tools and techniques to help you manage your mind, increase your resilience, and manage intrusive thoughts and chronic stress.

My neuro cycle app, is a scientifically proven way of managing anxiety, and therapy if needed.

READ MORE: Feeling ‘meh’? Everything you need to know about anhedonia – the missing word in mental health


Does anxiety ever fully go away?

You don’t want anxiety to eliminate anxiety. It’s a very healthy part of being a human, the key is to manage anxiety, as I have been explaining above. With the right mind management strategies – like my neuro cycle app and the principles I explain in this quest, individuals can experience significant improvement in managing their anxiety and making it work for them.

Many people can effectively reduce their anxiety through various approaches, including therapy, lifestyle modifications, and mind management techniques.

Remember, everyone’s journey is unique. Some people may experience significant reductions in anxiety symptoms over time, while others may have periods of not feeling any anxiety at all and then have occasional flare-ups.

No matter how you heal, there is a primary goal at the end of the tunnel: developing effective mind-management strategies that will unmask resilience.

Never forget, you are not alone. Where your mind goes, your life follows. An unmanaged mind leads to an unmanaged body and will develop into an unmanaged life.

dr caroline leaf

Dr. Caroline Leaf is a communication pathologist, and clinical neuroscientistneuroscientistN with a psychoneurobiological focus and has a Master’s and Ph.D. in Communication Pathology and a BSc in Logopedics, specializing in cognitive and metacognitive neuropsychology.

She was one of the first in her field to study how the brain can change (neuroplasticity) with directed mind input. Dr. Leaf has helped hundreds of thousands of students and adults learn how to use their minds to detox and grow their brains to succeed in every area of their lives and continues to conduct research and clinical trials in mental health and psychoneurobiology and publish in scientific journals.

Dr. Caroline Leaf’s quest with life transformation platform, Mindvalley, called Calm Mind: A scientific method for managing anxiety and depression, is filled with tools and techniques to help you manage your mind, increase your resilience, and manage intrusive thoughts and chronic stress.

The quest has seven lessons divided into two parts. Part one deals with the basic principles of what mind management involves, the mind-brain-body connection, how the mind is different from the brain, and what warning signals are vs. signals. In the second part, Dr. Caroline Leaf gives you a different way to look at mental health and teaches you strategies of the Neurocycle process that will help you learn how to manage your mental health.

Join Dr. Caroline Leaf on a Mindvalley Quest to unlock your emotional freedom, now available on Mindvalley.

harvey weinstein FEATURED (1)

How to spot a sexual predator – the 8 characteristics

We ask therapist Leonie Adamson from the video counselling app Dr Julian how to spot the signs of a sexual predator 

Harvey Weinstein, 67, who was once one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood, has been found guilty of sexual assaults, including rape.

Around 80 women, including well-known actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman and Salma Hayek had accused him of sexual misconduct.

The allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Harvey Weinstein began in 2017, fuelling the current eave of the #MeToo feminism movement.

Weinstein was convicted of third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sexual act in New York City yesterday, 24th February 2020 – a victory for the #MeToo movement.

He was cleared of the most serious count though, of predatory sexual assault but faces up to 25 years in prison. Weinstein still faces charges in Los Angeles of assaulting two women back in 2013.

After the verdict was announced, reports have said that Weinstein was taken to New York’s Bellevue Hospital as he was suffering from chest pains.

Writing for the New York Times, Hollywood darling Salma Hayek described her story of assault, degradation and harassment at the hands of the director.

Her story traced the sexual advancements, the sweet talking and even the death threats. ‘I will kill you, don’t think I can’t,’ she alleges he told her. At its worst, Hayek was forced into a sex scene with another woman to avoid being kicked off the film, Frida – a movie she had spent years researching and preparing for. This scene left her crying and convulsing as she had a nervous breakdown, ‘I had to take a tranquillizer, which eventually stopped the crying but made the vomiting worse.’

Salma Hayek penned an article for The New York Times alleging abuse at the hands of Weinstein

And she’s not alone, in an Instagram post, Cara Delevigne has described feeling ‘powerless and scared’ in the face of Weinstein and the number of women alleging abuse (including rape) rises every day. Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Asia Argento, Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, Rosanna Arquette and many more are among the women who have come forward.

But Weinstein isn’t the only offender. Ex Harrods boss Mohammad Al-Fayed came under the spotlight last week as women came forward to speak out on a Channel 4 Dispatches show about how the businessman forced himself on them. One woman was as young as 17. Al-Fayed hasn’t commented on the show but has denied allegations of sexual assault and rape in the past and no charges have been brought.

In the light of recent events, it is timely to uncover just who a sexual predator is, in both straight and same sex relationships.

How to spot a sexual predator

‘They can wield a lot of control and power’, says therapist Leonie Adamson who has 10 years clinical practice who specialises in sexual abuse. ‘But the most interesting thing to consider is why they don’t stand out from the crowd. Often people will talk about them being creepy or lecherous, but without any substantive information, there is no real proof. Some people will know only too well what they are capable of, such as the celebrities that have come forward about Harvey Weinstein, but won’t want to “rock the boat”, perhaps fearful of any repercussions this may have on them.’

Using words and actions, the predator will undermine her every move

‘I have counselled many women who have experienced sexual trauma. They have been emotionally scarred, lost their sense of identity, and live with the experience every single day’, says Leonie.’It starts with the cycle of abuse and very quickly becomes a nightmare, from which there is no escape. Using words and actions, the predator will undermine her every move, dictate every thought and in the end, he will have ultimate power and control over her everyday life.

‘In many cases, victims weren’t believed, and this has caused them further distress. In some cases, they have come from abusive families themselves and their sense of self-worth is so low, that they feel they deserve to be treated badly. However, because the sexual predator flourishes in silence and covert behaviour, the mask must be uncovered to help free victims from this abuse. Their voices must be heard and respected. Always.’

1. He’s really attentive in the early stages


In the initial stages of the relationship, the preparator will be very attentive. Lots of calls and texts which seem quite innocent. This does not mean that they are a predator, but if it continues and intensifies then they are worrying signs. This is how the perpetrator begins to build the process of dependency of the victim. They will be very much the answer to their dreams, a knight in shining armour, and would certainly never hurt them. They are being protected, loved, respected, and are the focus of the predator. This is the beginning of the grooming process. The perpetrator will use their loyalty, and vulnerability against them at a later stage.

2. He uses manipulative language

The element of gaslighting will be slow but carefully introduced, whereby the predator will mock the victim on her clothes, friends, or anything else which doesn’t meet his expectation. When the victim challenges the predator (in the early stages), he will lie, twist the information, make her feel like she is the bad person, state how hurt he is, and that he doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment. After all he has been so good to her. In the end, emotionally exhausted, and feeling very stressed she will relent and accept that it was all her fault and apologise. This shows the predator that he can control and manipulate her, without any fear that she may challenge him.

3. He makes it seem normal


The victim has now normalised the behaviour and feels that perhaps this is what she is deserves. This cycle of abuse has now begun, the initial honeymoon period is over, the uncomfortable feeling that something was wrong is now clearer and the “explosion” where the predator makes his move is now a reality. This pattern will start with emotional and psychological abuse and ultimately include sexual abuse.

4. He plays the victim

There’s a real sense of grandiose behaviour associated with this kind of man. Never taking responsibility and always playing the victim. This kind of cool indifference is very similar to narcissism, but again not all narcissists are sexual predators. They will use coercive control to get the victim to play the deadly game of cat and mouse and will always blame her for what goes wrong, or if she refuses will degrade her in whatever way he feels is necessary to teach her a lesson. Women who have experienced sexual abuse as a child are perhaps more vulnerable to this type of grooming and will be re-traumatised as a result.

5. He ridicules her

A sexual predator will have no consideration for her thoughts and feelings, instead focusing on himself. He will be making sexual comments to her, commenting on her performance, isolating her insecurities to use as bait later. Needing to know every detail about her past experiences is also an indicator. The predator can then ridicule her using degrading language to her and using words that insult and belittle her.

6. He pushes her boundaries sexually


He will have no respect for healthy boundaries, always needing to push you to carry out tasks which are not comfortable for you. He’ll get a huge kick out of this, and is likely to be vigilant in his approach, regardless of the victims fear and anxiety. There could be suggestions of risky sexual behaviour, in which the victim engages with other men and the predator watches. He will then use this to blackmail her later, and this is the start of the cruel aspect of the behaviour, where the victim will feel totally humiliated and trapped in the relationship.

7. He disempowers her

All the while he will be assuring the victim that the behaviours are okay, and that he loves her. He will try and normalise her distress and tell her that she has done it before and will again. That people now know that she is promiscuous and that she is lucky that he stays with her. All feeding into the destruction of her confidence, which will disempower her. Overwhelmed and lonely, she has no family to talk to, and he will have isolated her from any friends who could have helped. They were a threat to him, they could have seen behind his mask, and influenced her. So, they had to be eradicated sooner rather than later.

8. He secretly boasts about his conquests

Finally, a sexual predator will boast of his conquests and make the victim feel less of a woman as he describes his other relationships. Reliving the relationship, and knowing he is causing distress, he needs a reaction to fuel his game. He will have no concept of what is appropriate if he is not inconvenienced in any way. He will be a different person to the outside world, which just negates anything she says about him – his mask never slips.

What now?

Should you feel that you have been or are in a relationship with a sexual predator, please don’t be afraid to speak up. Seek support from relevant organisations such as Women’s Aid, Refuge and Rape Crisis Centres who will keep the information in confidential manner. Websites such as rightsofwomen.org.uk can help you negotiate the law and your rights in coming forward.  Talk openly, it will be difficult as its very personal. But it’s the first step to coming to terms with this abusive relationship and the start of the healing process.

Making sure you have a safety plan in place is vitally important if the relationship is still ongoing. Predators are very in tune to any subtle changes in the relationship, and will know if something has changed in the relationship dynamic. Gather as much information as possible, and consider using legal provisions, as the predator will not want to accept the relationship is over and may increase his campaign accordingly. Make note of any correspondence from the predator, but do not reply to it. Remember that this is not your fault and you can be free of the predator.  Be consistent, strong and have your voice respected.

Leonie Adamson, How-to-spot-a-sexual-predator-the-8-characteristics-therapy-by-healthista.comLeonie Adamson is a therapist on the Dr Julian App, which has been set up to improve accessability to counselling support. You can book and have appointments with qualified counsellors such as Leonie (£60 per hour) via secure video link from the comfort of your home. Download the app onto your iphone/ipad via the Apple Store.

Leonie has worked with organisations such as Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis with vast experience in domestic violence, stalking and abusive relationships.


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12 fitness accessories you didn't know you needed FEATURED

12 fitness accessories you didn’t know you needed

From smart watches to reusable cups – Healthista tried and tested the best fitness accessories to help you SLAYYY your fitness goals 

It goes without saying – a  good workout isn’t worthy of completion without the help of a blood pumping playlist and a sturdy pair of trainers.

There’s nothing better than the moment you slip into your favourite pair of jeans again, after countless days spent working hard in the gym to achieve your fitness goals.

Upon starting my fitness journey, I knew I had to find the right tools that would keep me motivated and build my confidence so that I could stay on track and meet my daily targets.

Here are the top 12 fitness accessories I didn’t know I needed, but boy have they helped me hit my fitness targets…

#1 Fitbit Charge 5, £129.99


READ MORE: Selling Sunset star Vanessa Villela shares her secrets on maintaining her camera ready figure

Smart watches are key to tracking fitness goals – whether that be how many steps you’ve clocked up, or the calories you’ve burnt off during a workout.

There are a plethora of smart watches out there, and believe me I have tried many, but my FitBit still takes the cake on helping me stay on top of my fitness routine.

This watch automatically tracks my sleep, steps, and notifies me of incoming calls or texts. Plus I can use it as a timer for that dreaded one minute plank or check the weather before I head out for a run.

The FitBit app also allows for easy macro counting and predicting my next ovulation day – perfect for an overall daily health report card.


#2 Nutribullet GO Portable Blender, £39.99

When it comes to staying on track with my meal plans, I am all about convenience. So, when I came across this portable blender, I knew it had to be part of my daily routine.

During my fitness journey, I needed to consume at least 130 grams of protein a day, that’s a few sneaky protein shakes to keep the numbers up. This blender came on holiday with me and to the gym for a post-workout shake.

Add in your favourite powder with half a banana and your on-the-go breakfast is sorted. Plus, the clean up is effortless.




#3 ByTerry Brightening CC Serum, £61

by terry brightening drops

Now I know this won’t help me gain much muscle, but it has helped my confidence in the gym, by making me feel more put together without looking like I tried too hard.

I personally don’t go anywhere without a bit of tinted moisturiser on my face, so this brightening serum in shade ‘Sunny Flash’ has been the holy grail to my makeup routine – in and out of the gym.

My relatively fair complexion looks instantly refreshed, giving me even-toned and subtly tanned looking skin.

The texture is beautifully light, so it’s great to wear on a run in the sun. The colour gives a radiant glow that makes me look like I have just been on holiday near the Mediterranean Sea.




#4 Peloton Duffel Bag, £48

PelotonfitnessrounduptransformationAfter months of packing my laptop, workout attire, and protein bars into a flimsy tote bag – I finally found the perfect bag for transporting myself from the office to the gym and home again.

This duffel bag from Peloton is the perfect size for packing everything I need into it. It even has a shoe compartment for my trainers, wet sleeve pocket for any post-gym clothes or bathing suit, and outside pockets for my keys.

I have also used this bag for weekend trips away and yes – it is Ryanair hand luggage friendly for anyone wondering.

One thing I know for certain is that it’s a lot harder to say no to the gym when you have your gym kit already with you….


#5 Sweaty Betty’s Zero Gravity Bra, £75

For someone who is a beginner in high impact workouts and running, I wasn’t sure where to start with the right workout equipment. All I knew is that my trusty £5 bra I’ve had for years wasn’t going to cut it. In fact, I found that it made any run extremely uncomfortable.

That was until I discovered the Zero Gravity Bra, a high support sports bra made specifically for these types of workouts. Not only does it keep everything in place, but it also gives me the perfect support. So at least whenever I decide to run a marathon, I’ll have a comfortable sports bra to do so.

READ MORE: Experts reveal 5 healthy supplements you probably don’t know about but totally should

#6 Field Doctor Meal Plans, prices vary

Sthai noodles field doctorpeaking of convenience, meal plans by Field Doctor have been my saving grace on those days where I am too lazy to whip up a healthy meal after a long day.

These low calorie meals come frozen and are packed with vegetables and protein.

Field Doctor has a range of meals, from zesty Thai green chicken noodles to traditional beef lasagne.

Dietary restrictions? Don’t worry, you can customise each bundle from low FODMAP meals to gluten free dishes.





#7 Body Power Medicine Ball, £40.99


I knew if I wanted to tone my stomach for the summer, and doing an extra set of crunches wasn’t going to be the only thing that cut it (which I loathe anyways).

Some of the fitness programs I have tried don’t incorporate weighted ab workouts, so this medicine ball from Body Power has upped the game during my ab circuits.

Unlike medicine balls at the gym, this one has grips on the side making it easier to use. Trust me, you will feel the burn in a Russian twist with this.




#8 Columbia Running Windbreaker, £90

Although Summer is approaching fast, my morning walk to the gym still boasts a wind chill that leaves me wishing I had hit the snooze button on my alarm clock.

This lightweight jacket is perfect for throwing on over my workout top without compromising my fitness look, which is ideal when my hair is thrown into a messy-haven’t washed in 2 days-bun.

It’s also water resistant, so on the off chance it does rain (highly likely in the UK) at least I’ll arrive at the gym dry to get my sweat on.

READ MORE: Training for women – 7 reasons women should eat & train differently to men

#9 Kin Second Skin Leggings, £48

FITNESS accessories

What’s a fitness transformation without your trusty gym kit? Low-impact workouts have been the best for my body. So I have recently hopped on the Pilates train, and won’t be hopping off anytime soon.

It has been a journey to find leggings that stay up during each Pilates stretch, so finding good quality leggings was a challenge until I came across these true to size ‘second skin’ leggings.

Not only do they stay up but they aren’t see through, so can also be worn to my Monday leg-day sessions. Dare I say they are a dupe of other top brands which are not as reasonably priced.





#10 Bowflex Dumbbell Set, £399

For the days I’m unmotivated for the gym, I have found that having these dumbbells at home gives me no excuse to not exercise. Each dumbbell has interchangeable weight up to 24kg, so every squat and bicep curl is covered.

Even for a workout that would normally require a machine, I’ve found the perfect alternatives online to do with these dumbbells – making my at home workout routine just as good as hitting the weight rack at the gym.


#11 Renpho Smart Body Scale, £30.99

fitness accessories

Usually when on a fitness journey, I don’t tend to weigh myself as I measure my progress by how my jeans feel around my waste. However upon starting a new fitness routine, my PT wanted me to weigh myself every two weeks for check in.

I came across this informative body scale which syncs with my FitBit, that can show me my weekly progress, calculate my BMI, and measure the amount of body fat I have lost. Plus the sleek design looks great on any bathroom floor.







Screenshot 2023-06-02 at 11.04.26

#12 SHO Resusable Cup, £14.99

Along with nutrition and exercise, drinking at least 2.5 litres of water a day is the daily recommended intake for women. Drinking water can boost your metabolism, flush out bad toxins, and leave you feeling fuller longer – which aids in the process of losing weight.

This SHO water bottle has been the perfect solution for increasing my water intake at work, as I position it right in front of me with a straw for ease.

I have found myself using it for protein shakes and tea as well, as the insulated cup keeps my chosen beverage at the best temperature. The exterior design of the cups are just an extra added bonus.

Manage your mental health in 7 easy steps FEATURED

Manage your mental health in 7 easy steps

It’s time to take control of how we feel, realise our power and manage our mental health. Healthista chats to author Alan Lucas who reveals how to ‘Sort Your Self Out’ in 7 Steps

Increasing numbers of young people are struggling with their mental health. From feeling anxious and lost, to feeling like they have no control over their emotions.

In the UK alone, the number of under 18’s using mental health services has risen by 30 per cent in the last year. What’s more, over a million prescriptions were written for teenagers in 2022.

Although help is available, resources are stretched, the information can be overwhelming or you could find yourself on a never ending wait list.

So if you want to work on yourself, where do you start?

The amount of self-improvement information available, and all the different approaches, can feel overwhelming and confusing, and the language is often unnecessarily complicated, over intellectualised and full of jargon.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. The core principles of all personal development work are essentially the same, and it’s really not that complicated.

over a million prescriptions were written for teenagers in 2022

To change your life, you have to change. You have to work on your inner world. So how do you do that and in a cost and time efficient way?

Alan Lucas’s latest book – Realise Your Power: 7 Steps to Sort Your Self Out – can teach you just that. If you follow the Sort Your Self Out System (also called The SYSO System), you will change your life, because you will change yourself. It’s not complicated, but it’s up to you, to do.

Lucas is an advocate of making things simple, clear and jargon free. Having worked as a coach he knows all too well that change is much more likely to be effected when understood in simple terms.

There are potentially an unlimited number of struggles we can all face with our own mental wellbeing. But the principles that lie behind these issues are the same.

Lucas, while working as a coach, became obsessed with simplifying these principles and distilling them into 7 steps, sharing them in a straightforward way to help clients make lasting change.

READ MORE: Mental health & gut health: experts explain the link between your brain and your gut


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A post shared by Alan Lucas (@realiseyourpower)

Can ‘sorting yourself out’ really be as simple as following 7 steps?

Well, ask yourself this. Would your experience of life be better if you were more self-aware, managed your mind more effectively, and became the master of your emotions?

These are just the first three steps of the Sort Your Self Out System.

  • Step 1 -Become More Aware
  • Step 2 – Manage Your Mind
  • Step 3 – Take charge of your emotions

It’s one thing knowing what to do, but the key is to actually put what you learn to the test, and the Sort Your Self Out system is filled with exercises to help you do just that, rather than just reading about it.

In Step 2 for example, you actively reprogram yourself, to create a new identity and to install self-belief. ‘It’s all make beliefs’ as Lucas says.

In Step 3 there are exercises to help you better manage your energy in motion (your e-motion), to realise your power and to never again let your ‘emotions get the better of you’.

READ MORE: Feeling ‘meh’? Everything you need to know about anhedonia – the missing word in mental health


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A post shared by Alan Lucas (@realiseyourpower)

So, what about the other 4 steps?

Step 4: explains that we are all born with inbuilt human needs, that we are trying to meet (even if we aren’t conscious of this).

We all have survival, personality and spiritual needs and once we have met our survival needs, how we prioritise meeting our personality and spiritual needs, and the ways in which we meet them, will determine how fulfilled we feel in our life.

Step 5: focusses on the importance of having a clear purpose. Lucas created the term ‘Usefulment’ to describe the feeling of true human fulfilment that can only be achieved by helping others or by being useful.

Once you have completed these first 5 steps, your life will already feel different, because you will look at things differently, and talk to yourself in more helpful and positive ways.

Steps 6: encourages us to be aware that everything is interconnected, and highlights that a lot of human misery is born from the illusion of separateness.

The SYSO System includes exercises that aim to raise our awareness of how everything we do has an effect, far beyond the moment.

Step 7: reminds us that everything is energy, and that energy moves in waves, or vibrates. The system has tools to help us raise our vibration and shows that basic physics explains how vibrational energy and waves, attract similar energy.

Screenshot 2023-06-01 at 15.08.09If you follow the 7 steps of the Sort Your Self Out System, you will change your life because you will have changed yourself.

The key is to keep training and practicing. You don’t go to the gym for one workout and you’re suddenly at peak fitness!

We learn through the Sort Your Self Out System that life isn’t really about finding ourselves – it’s about creating ourselves. When we realise the power we have to create who we want to be, we can make our lives fun, useful and deeply fulfilling.

Essentially, we can become the best version of ourselves, and that’s better for everyone, but most importantly, you.

All profits from sales of  Realise Your Power: 7 Steps to Sort Your Self Out go to providing free personal development resources to young people and Lucas speaks for free to schools and youth groups. Buy the book, help yourself and know you will also be helping someone else too.