Heavy Periods? This Keyhole Surgery Could Help

After the surgery, women reported improvements in pelvic pain and pain during sex.
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A quarter of women in the UK have heavy menstrual bleeding, otherwise known as menorrhagia. And if you’re one of them, you’ll know what a nightmare it can be.

As well as having a profound effect on quality of life, menorrhagia accounts for around a fifth of all hospital gynaecology referrals, according to medics writing in the Lancet.

But new research suggests a keyhole surgery technique could help ease symptoms associated with heavy periods, including pelvic pain and pain during sex.

The study, led by Professor Kevin Cooper, a consultant gynaecologist from the University of Aberdeen, analysed the outcomes after more than 600 women had surgery to treat menorrhagia.

The women, treated across 31 UK hospitals, were randomly assigned one of two different types of surgery: laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy –keyhole surgery to remove the upper part of the uterus containing the endometrium (the innermost lining layer of the uterus), or endometrial ablation, where the endometrium is thermally destroyed, but the uterus is preserved.

The third type of surgery sometimes offered for menorrhagia is a hysterectomy, where the uterus is completely removed. The study sought to investigate the two, less invasive alternatives.

Women in the study were surveyed about their experience of surgery and recovery. Only 3% of women in the laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy group reported dissatisfaction, compared with 13% of women in the endometrial ablation group.

“At 15 months after randomisation, more women allocated to laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy were satisfied with their operation compared with those in the endometrial ablation group,” the study found.

“Despite being a longer procedure with a slower recovery time, laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy led to a greater improvement in menstrual blood loss, cyclical period-like pain, and dyspareunia, without incurring a higher risk of postoperative complications or precipitating bladder-related symptoms.”

Professor Cooper concluded that the procedure offered women “another effective surgical choice” for this common medical condition.

The NHS advises there are various treatment options available for heavy periods – if you’re suffering, it’s worth speaking to your GP about what may work for you.