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NHS treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding getting better

Women suffering from acute menstrual bleeding can now expect better care, according to a major new study.

A quarter of females aged 15-50 suffer the condition – also called HMB – which can seriously affect life quality.

As many as 30,000 women receive operations for HMB in English or Welsh NHS hospitals each year.

But the results of a nationwide four-year audit announced on 30 July reveal that treatment has got better.

Nine in 10 patients assess their treatment as excellent, very good or good, according to the National Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Audit.

NHS hospitals will use the findings to re-assess the care they provide.

The study urges hospitals to create extra HMB-specifics centres to improve the co-ordination of care for sufferers. It also stresses that cultural differences need to be taken more account of.

The audit uniquely questioned more than 8,000 women suffering from the condition about their experiences 12 months after visiting gynaecological outpatient centres in the four years to 2014.

Women undergoing surgery enjoy the biggest life-quality benefits in the first 12 months after their first outpatient appointment at gynaecological clinics, the study shows.

It also highlights differences in hospital treatments between HMB sufferers, with non-whites less likely to have surgery.

Non-white patients with menstrual bleeding also notice less pronounced improvements in their condition.

The study comes under the National Clinical Audit Programme. The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership commissioned the study and it has been co-headed by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).


Jan van der Meulen

Report co-author Professor Jan van der Meulen, from LSHTM, said it was the women patients rather than doctors who have the biggest say when it comes to gynaecological service assessments.

“This clinical audit is unique as it mainly used information reported by the women about their condition, the treatments they received and outcomes and experiences they had one year after their first hospital appointment,” he said. 

The national audit was published by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.



Readers' comments (2)

  • You mean that there are NHS doctors who recognise heavy menstrual bleeding is something that may require medical attention, and who don't just force women onto hormonal birth control?

    Until GP's stop relying on hormonal birth control as a cure-all women will not have that much control (they rely on their doctors for information) and treatment will not get better.

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  • I was initially told to go away and live with the heavy bleeding as I was experiencing peri-menopause symptoms. Eventually I was scanned and a large fibroid identified, which was the actual cause. I was advised that the only way to deal with the bleeding was to have the coil fitted. I could not do this, as it made me physically recoil just thinking about it. I did eventually agree to the mini pill, which has reduced the pain and bleeding but now I am covered in acne, that has made me very self-conscious. I was advised that the gynaecologist would not see me until, I had been on the pill for 12-months. So I can't say I have seen an improvement in this service.

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