Spire Portsmouth Gynaecology at Spire Portsmouth Hospital provides women who have common menstrual problems, including heavy, irregular or absent periods and early menopause, fast access to our specialist Consultant Gynaecologists. Our Gynaecologists are able to assess, diagnose and treat menstrual disorders.
Find out more about the conditions treated at Spire Portsmouth Gynaecology below.
In a normal menstrual cycle, bleeding should last no more than a week with roughly three week intervals in between each period.
Period problems can come in the form of heavy blood loss during regular cycles, irregular, heavy or painful periods or bleeding after sex.
Find out more about period problems
Period problems can make leading a normal life very difficult. Needing to take time off work or having to take painkillers on a regular basis are causes for concern and a medical opinion should be sought if this is a regular occurrence.
There can be many causes of period problems, these include:
- hormonal problems
- fibroids (muscular lumps in the womb wall)
- endometriosis (bleeding in the abdomen during periods)
Cancer is an uncommon cause however is should be taken into consideration in certain cases, such as family history of cancer or in older women.
There are several tests that can be taken to determine the cause of the problems including, blood tests, ultrasound scan or biopsy (tissue sampling).
Depending on the cause of the period problems there are several treatment options that can be considered including short and long-term medication, such as the contraceptive pill, a mirene coil, a hormone emitting device which is implanted into the womb or surgical options. These would all be explained and discussed with you before an informed decision can be made.
Fibroids are non-cancerous tumours that grow in or around the womb; they are made up of fibrous tissues or muscle and can vary in size. They can affect a large number of women in their life-times and are particularly prevalent among 30-50 year old women.
Fibroids can also be called uterine myomas or fibromyomas.
Find out more about fibroids
The cause of fibroids is unknown however they are linked to the female reproductive hormone, oestrogen. Fibroids tend to grow in size as oestrogen levels grow and shrink in size as the levels decrease. During the menopause when oestrogen levels drop, fibroids tend to decrease in size.
The majority of women never have symptoms with their fibroids and they are only discovered through routine gynaecological examinations, however one in three women1 will experience symptoms with the fibroids including heavy bleeding and pain. In some cases fibroids can cause problems in conceiving when trying to become pregnant.
When fibroids do not have symptoms associated with them they can be left to disappear in their own time. However when there are difficult symptoms associated with the fibroids there are several treatment options available including medication and surgery. All options would be discussed with the gynaecologist before any decisions are made.
If the menopause occurs in women before they are 40 it is considered 'early menopause'. There can be a variety of causes for early menopause and it may not be obvious at first that it has happened.
Find out more about early menopause
Early menopause can be caused by certain medical treatments such as chemotherapy or surgical removal of the uterus or ovaries. It can also be associated with genetics or illnesses. Sometimes if the menopause happens on its own it can be called 'premature' menopause as well.
The menopause has many different symptoms including:
- energy loss
- poor sleep
- vaginal dryness
- urinary symptoms
- hot flushes and night sweats
To determine that the cause of these symptoms is early menopause a gynaecologist would usually test for Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH).
Early menopause can cause health problems for those women who go through it due to the drop in oestrogen; these issues include heart problems and osteoporosis (bone weakening).
The main treatment for managing early menopause is hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which is used to maintain oestrogen levels until the normal age for menopause.
The menopause starts when the body stops producing the hormone oestrogen causing the menstrual periods to stop. Due to the symptoms associated with the menopause and the experience itself this can be quite a difficult experience for some women.
Find out more about the menopause
There are many different physical and emotional symptoms of the menopause. These include:
- hot flushes and nights sweats
- loss of energy
- poor sleep
- skin problems
- urinary symptoms
- vaginal dryness
These symptoms can lead to a loss of confidence and sometimes cause issues in relationships due to pain during intercourse.
Where symptoms are particularly troublesome various treatments can be arranged to help manage them. The main treatment used for problems associated with menopause is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
HRT is used to replace the oestrogen hormone which the body stops producing during the menopause. The lack of oestrogen causes the menopause symptoms. All the treatment options will be discussed to make sure the most appropriate option is used.
Post-menopausal bleeding (PMB) is the name given for vaginal bleeding after a woman has been through the menopause. After the menopause there should be no bleeding from the vagina so this should be seen by a specialist to determine the cause.
Find out more about post-menopausal bleeding
Post-menopausal bleeding (PMB) is one of the most common reasons for referral to Gynaecological Consultants. There can be a variety of causes for post-menopausal bleeding, these include:
- endometrial or cervical polyps
- endometrial (womb) cancer
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) use
- vaginal atrophy - vaginal wall thinning
Endometrial cancer is only present in about 10% of post-menopausal bleeding (PMB)2 referrals however it is important to rule it out.
Several investigations can be used to determine the causes of PMB; a transvaginal ultrasound can be carried out, which enables the consultant to see what is happening within the vagina. Alternatively they may perform a hysteroscopy where a small camera is inserted into the womb through the vagina; if further tests are still required a small sample may be taken from within the womb to be tested.
Treatments for post-menopausal bleeding vary depending on the symptoms, however these can vary from medication and hormone creams to surgery, all of which would be discussed in detail after a diagnosis has been made.