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Heavy periods: Are you ready to talk to your GP?
08 February 2019 - 14:34

Heavy periods: Are you ready to talk to your GP?

If you’re one of the women with heavy periods in the UK who feel uncomfortable discussing them with your GP, you’re not alone! Our new research found that 50% of UK women experiencing heavy periods have never spoken to their GP about it and 35% would feel uncomfortable talking about them with a male GP. [1] It’s no secret that people often shy away from talking about periods2(nevermind heavy ones!), but you could be missing out on getting help.

So, what’s stopping women from making that GP appointment? In short, it’s awkward and uncomfortable, and there are some things we’d rather not talk about. According to our research, 59% of women would be uncomfortable discussing odour, 41% clotting, 42% colour, 27% flow, and 12% pain. [2] However, these are all symptoms we should be tracking to help identify whether something is wrong and will also help you have a more effective discussions with your GP.

Are you concerned, or have you been told that having heavy periods is something we need to accept as part of being a woman? This is not true and heavy periods are recognised as a medical condition, but only 62% of women know this!1In fact, this year the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published updated guidelines to provide healthcare professionals with guidance on treating women with heavy periods. Importantly these focused on the woman’s choice – meaning that women should be informed of all the treatment options available, so they have a say in what happens and also whether a treatment has been successful.[3]

If heavy periods are impacting your life, your GP can provide support and information on the treatment options available. Our ‘’Your GP Visit’’ page has lots of information to help you prepare for your visit, but here are some top tips to help you make the most of your appointment:

  • Monitor your cycle using a period diary before going to your GP. Take three months of information with you when you go to see your GP as this will give them a good understanding of what you’re experiencing
  • Try to keep the same GP for all your appointments – start with one you feel comfortable with, perhaps a specialist in women’s health
  • Allow enough time – it’s best to make an appointment specifically to discuss your heavy periods. If you have other health issues to discuss, consider making a double appointment
  • Be persistent – if you don’t get the help you feel you need, or if the treatments aren’t working, go back to your GP and ask again

For more advice and information on how to speak to you GP about your periods, have a read of our Talking Heavy Periods guide.

References

[1]Data on file: MISC-05659-GBR-EN Rev 001

[2]Data on file: MISC-05658-GBR-EN Rev 001

[3]NICE NG88. Heavy menstrual bleeding: assessment and management, 2018. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng88/Last accessed November 2018

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