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Editors: A H Balen, S M Creighton, M C Davies S MacDougall, R Stanhope
5588 pp Price £150 ISBN 0-521-80961-4 (h/b)
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology might be thought, from its title, strictly for specialists. Many of the contributions, however, are relevant to primary care and general paediatrics. For general practitioners, the chapters on vaginal discharge and dermatological conditions of the genitalia give sensible and practical advice, emphasizing the difference between children and adults; and all who work with children and young people, whatever the setting, will be helped by the sections on the needs of adolescent patients, communication with parents, and how to share decision-making with parents and patients. General paediatricians will appreciate the clear explanations and practical advice in the chapters on growth and puberty, management of ambiguous genitalia at birth, and eating disorders (including the long-term sequelae of nutritional amenorrhoea). From coverage of the difficult area of adolescence and transition the book moves on to management of infertility. However, much of this large book is about intersex and the gynaecological (medical and surgical) interventions for this rare condition. As the title indicates, there is strong emphasis on multidisciplinary strategies: psychological issues receive much attention and the approach is patient and family centred, holistic. One of the book's great strengths is the summary of key points, with practical recommendations at the end of the chapters.
As a paediatrician who sees a lot of children with suspected sexual abuse and also other 'gynaecological disorders', I found several chapters helpful, well referenced and sensible. It is good to see a book written from a somewhat European angle (although the contributors come from throughout the globe). There is much in it for practitioners in various fields, medical and surgical, and I certainly recommended purchase by the libraries of children's hospitals.