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Knowledge, Interviews, STEM, Colleges

What Makes Me: Dr Nighat Arif

Dr Nighat Arif

Buckinghamshire-based GP, Dr Nighat Arif has become familiar to millions of women (and men) through her accessible and informative social media posts, leading to her becoming resident doctor on BBC Breakfast and ITV’s This Morning. She also hosts her own show on BBC3 Counties Radio and is a regular commentator on numerous shows and podcasts, including working with Davina McCall on Sex, Lies and the Menopause (Channel 4).

Dedicated to tackling taboos and improving women’s health, she has been nominated for the National Bevan Prize for Health and Wellbeing and is an ambassador for charities including Wellbeing of Women, Sikh Forgiveness and Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity. Passionate about raising awareness of menopause and women’s health, particularly with Black and Asian women (she produces content in Urdu and Punjabi as well as English), she has presented her work for Parliament, for the UN, and at the G7 Global Vaccine Confidence Summit (after which she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Science at London City University for Women's Health, Public Health and Inclusion). 

What Makes Nighat…


Chocolate. That’s it. Literally, chocolate makes me happy.


My babies being unhappy. Or anything with my family or friends; if they’re upset then that deeply upsets me. The unkindness and the inhumanity of some people is really sad because I think as humans we've evolved to be better than that. 


I guess being a failure. That is so huge but whatever task I’m doing, my fear of failure drives me. That’s been from doing GCSE and A levels, through medical school – and fear of not finishing the task that I promised somebody has been my biggest fear all the time. 


Music makes me reflective because music has a way of transcending me back into an emotion and a space.


I do so much at the seat of my pants! I think role modelling. Watching somebody do the stuff that I really want to do gives me confidence. Sometimes now I realise that I’ve become that person for other people, and that gives me the confidence to do more of it – whether the trolls get me or not, that’s a whole other factor, but I think role modelling is where I really find my strength and my confidence. 


I guess what makes me angry are people who are, as I would say, the passengers in a car seat who don’t take control but are very happy to give out advice. If someone has an issue with what I say as a doctor I’m like, ok you come and explain this complex medical condition better than me and I’ll happily learn from you. What makes me angry are back seat drivers who actually don’t know very much but are willing to dish out inaccurate advice.

Grateful to Science

To me, the contraceptive pill is the best single thing that gave women liberty and a freedom of choice; on their fertility cycle, when they choose to become pregnant, and also a way to manage heavy periods, painful periods, and all the complications that come with pregnancies. It’s such an underrated discovery – it’s a liberation for women, globally.

The Knowledge: Dr Nighat Arif (Aster, 2023)

Dr Nighat has used her extensive expertise in women’s health to write The Knowledge: your guide to women’s health from menstruation to the menopause. Split broadly into three key stages (puberty, fertility and peri/menopause) it is full of clear explanations which allow the reader to get to know the female body: what is normal; what to expect; what to watch out for; and when to seek help. With perspectives from a diverse range of women, this books reflects Dr Nighat’s commitment to inclusivity, diversity and allyship: it speaks to all who may suffer or be affected by female health concerns with signature clarity and wisdom. Reviews call it a ‘woman’s health bible’ and state ‘every home should have one’.

Find Dr Nighat on Twitter, Instagram, Threads and TikTok @DrNighatArif


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