Heavy periods (Menorrhagia). Mr Alan Gillespie answers the FAQs…
Mr Alan Gillespie, Consultant Gynaecologist
Claremont Clinics: Thursday evenings/Friday & Saturday mornings
Mr Gillespie specialises in the management of most gynaecological problems including the diagnosis and treatment of gynaecological pre-cancer and cancer.
My periods are a real problem. What can be done about this? Heavy periods or menstrual bleeding has many causes – most are innocent and can be treated very simply after appropriate investigation. Heavy bleeding can be very debilitating and therefore should be promptly investigated and treated.
How can I be helped? Bleeding problems require investigation to try to identify any specific underlying issue. If such a problem is found and the appropriate treatment given, then the symptoms will usually resolve. If no specific issue is identified there are several different treatments – medicines or surgery – that can be used to help.
I am worried, could my symptoms be due to cancer? This is unlikely. Most bleeding problems are due to other causes and not cancer. The investigation of heavy bleeding will hopefully exclude cancer and provide reassurance
What investigations are required? Investigations will typically include an ultrasound scan, endometrial biopsy (a sample taken from the lining of the womb) and/or a hysteroscopy. Depending on the situation swabs (to exclude an infection) and a cervical smear may be required.
How will the ultrasound scan be performed? The scan typically is performed by placing a probe on the abdomen and another into the vagina. For the abdominal scan the bladder must be full. The internal scan is usually well tolerated with minimal discomfort.
What is an endometrial biopsy? This a sample taken from the lining of the womb. It is obtained by passing a small plastic tube into the womb via the cervix (neck of the womb). This procedure is typically straightforward and conducted in the consulting suite. Local anaesthetic can be used to minimise patient discomfort.
What is a hysteroscopy? A hysteroscope is a small telescope that is introduced into the cavity of the womb in the same way as an endometrial biopsy so that the doctor can identify any areas of concern. Usually the procedure can be performed in the consulting suite under local anaesthetic and is well tolerated by patients. Occasionally a general anaesthetic is required if the results of other tests indicate that this is appropriate. Some patients prefer to have the procedure performed under general anaesthetic.
How quickly can I be seen and reassured? The aim of the service is to see patients concerned about their symptoms as soon as possible and offer prompt reassurance.
What will happen when I attend for an endometrial biopsy or hysteroscopy? After meeting the reception staff in the private consulting suite you will see the consultant who will explain the procedure and address any concerns you may have. You will be taken to a separate private room by the nursing staff to get ready for the procedure. After the procedure has been performed you will have a further discussion with the consultant and a follow up plan confirmed.
What happens next? This depends on the results of the investigations. These are usually available within a few days. Most patients will be reassured that there is no serious cause for their symptoms. After this the range of treatment options available will be discussed. Typically, this may involve taking some sort of medication or having an operation. You can then decide with your consultant on the right treatment choice for you.
A private consultation with Mr Gillespie is £195 if you don’t have health insurance. To book an appointment, just call our Private Patient Team on 0114 263 2114. You can self-refer to Mr Gillespie if you are paying for yourself. You only need a GP referral letter if you are insured (Mr Gillespie is recognised by all health insurers) and you can see one of our Private GPs quickly for this if you prefer.
Copyright Alan Gillespie, 2019.