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Women's health

Women's health is a broad term. It doesn't define any one medical speciality, but encompasses many conditions that can affect a woman through each stage of her life.

Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and infertility affect millions of women in the UK, which is why dedicated women's health services are so important.

We offer a range of expert treatment services for women at different stages of their healthcare journey, including:

Gynaecological issues are extremely common and often debilitating. We understand the immense challenges often associated with gynaecological conditions, including chronic pelvic pain, menstrual health issues, infertility and depression.

Whether you are experiencing issues with menstruation, pelvic pain or require specialist family planning advice, our team of specialist Consultants will help you manage your symptoms and access the right treatment for you.

Common gynaecological procedures with BMI Healthcare

Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is a radical operation to remove your uterus. There are two kinds of hysterectomy – abdominal and vaginal. In an abdominal hysterectomy, your cervix is also removed.
If necessary, your ovaries can be removed at the same time.

The common reasons for having an abdominal hysterectomy include heavy periods, fibroids, endometriosis, chronic pelvic inflammatory disease and ovarian cysts. In a vaginal hysterectomy, it is possible to remove your ovaries, but they will more than likely not be removed.

Endometrial ablation

An endometrial ablation is an operation to remove the lining of your womb. The most common reason for having an endometrial ablation is to experience relief from the symptoms of heavy periods – most women will experience a noticeable reduction in their periods and, in some cases, periods stop altogether.

Laparoscopic sterilisation

A laparoscopic sterilisation is a permanent method of female contraception. It involves blocking both fallopian tubes to stop you from becoming pregnant. Afterwards, you will no longer need to use another form of contraception.

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about twenty minutes. Your gynaecologist will make several small cuts on your abdomen. The most common method of sterilisation is to block each fallopian tube with a clip. 

Discover more about our extensive range of gynaecology surgery and other treatment services.

Understanding what healthy breasts should look and feel like is vital in protecting your breast health.

Women can experience many issues with their breasts throughout their lifetime, including cysts that require examination, breast pain, nipple discharge and breast cancer. 

It’s important to keep track of any changes in your breasts. If you notice any changes in your breasts, it is recommended that you contact your GP as soon as possible.

We provide a range of breast screenings and services to help you ensure your breasts are healthy, or manage symptoms if needed.

Common breast care procedures with BMI

Breast lump removal (lumpectomy)

Breast lump removal (lumpectomy) is an operation to remove lumps or cysts from your breast that either won’t go away on their own, or that keep coming back.

Once the lump has been removed, your breast surgeon will look at the tissue under a microscope to see whether or not it’s cancerous. If it is, your surgeon will talk you through your breast cancer treatment options.

Breast cancer screening

As part of BMI’s continuing commitment to quality care, our Breast Screening Mammography programme includes the screening of asymptomatic women (without symptoms) aged 40 and over.

A screening every 12-18 months is recommended between 40 and 49 years of age and every 2 years after 50.

Mastectomy 

A mastectomy is an operation that involves removing some of or your entire breast to treat breast cancer. Some people might need the operation in both of their breasts. The aim is to remove the cancerous tissues so that the cancer doesn’t coming back or spread to other parts of your body.

Learn more about our extensive range of breast care services and treatments, which also include breast reconstruction surgery and breast enlargement or reduction surgery.  

Some women can have irregular periods or their periods may stop due to menopause or a different reason.

The absence of three or more periods consecutively is referred to as amenorrhea. It can be caused by sudden weight loss, pregnancy or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Other gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis and adenomyosis can also cause heavy and painful periods.

Your period health is a huge part of your general health. It isn't just a one-month consideration, but an important and life-long cycle. Our range of specialist gynaecologists are here to make you feel happy with your period health.

Common procedures for period problems with BMI Healthcare

Endometrial ablation 

Endometrial ablation involves the removal of your endometrium (womb’s lining) and any small fibroids or polyps through electrical or laser energy. The main aim of this procedure is to provide relief from heavy periods by reducing the flow of periods or stopping them altogether. It is typically performed under general anaesthetic and takes about 30 minutes to perform.

Hormonal medication 

If you have absent periods due to menopause or an early menopause, you might be advised to take hormonal medication such as the contraceptive pill to replace these missing hormones. The contraceptive pill can help prevent pregnancy and contains artificial forms of oestrogen and progestogen. These make up for the lack of oestrogen produced by your body due to an early menopause.

The contraceptive pill can also help treat premenstrual syndrome (symptoms that can appear before your period) and heavy or painful periods.

Hysterectomy 

If you have heavy or painful periods and no longer to plan have children, you can also undergo a hysterectomy. It refers to the surgical removal of the womb. A hysterectomy can be performed using three different methods.

A vaginal hysterectomy removes your womb through at the incision at the top of your vagina, while an abdominal hysterectomy removed your womb using a cut on your lower abdomen. Finally, a laparoscopic (keyhole) hysterectomy removes your womb by making small incisions on your stomach.

If you're struggling with crippling period pain or absent periods, don't suffer in silence. Speak to one of our gynaecologists today to receive a diagnosis for your period problems and appropriate treatment.

Urinary incontinence describes the accidental passing of urine, which can take a massive toll on your self-esteem. There are many different forms of incontinence, from total incontinence (where your bladder cannot store any urine) to stress incontinence. This can cause you to leak or pass urine when you cough or laugh.

Incontinence can be both frustrating and debilitating. The urgent and increased need to urinate throughout the day and night can disrupt your sleep and daytime productivity,but there are treatment options available. 

Common procedures for incontinence with BMI Healthcare

Physiotherapy 

Pelvic floor exercises can alleviate and improve incontinence symptoms by strengthening your pelvic floor (the muscles that support and surround your bladder, vagina and bowel). Research shows pelvic floor exercises improved stress incontinence in 79% of patients without the need for surgery.

Physiotherapists are trained in pelvic health. You can speak to a physiotherapist about a pelvic rehabilitation programme based on your needs and requirements..

Your physiotherapist can guide you through each exercise and help check that these are being performed correctly. 

Colposuspension 

This is a surgical procedure where a cut is made on your lower abdomen and the neck of your bladder is lifted and stitched into this elevated position. A colposupension can take up to an hour to perform. The procedure usually takes within 40-60 minutes.

The NHS describes colposuspension as an effective long-term treatment for stress incontinence.

Vaginal mesh (tape) surgery 

Vaginal mesh surgery for stress incontinence involves inserting a strip of synthetic mesh behind your urethra (the tube that transports urine out of your body). This mesh remains in your body, and is used to help support your urethra.

In most cases, you do need not to stay overnight at hospital following vaginal mesh or tape surgery.

Although menopause is a natural and inevitable part of the ageing process in women, it is rarely spoken about.

The transition that causes your period to stop, meaning you can no longer become pregnant naturally. The first sign of menopause is a shift in your menstruation pattern – you may begin to experience unusually light, heavy or irregular periods that eventually stop.

Menopause most commonly affects women between the age of 45 and 55. Alongside changes to your menstruation cycle, menopause can cause hot flushes, night sweats, trouble sleeping, heart palpitations and joint pain. It can impact your mental health by triggering low moods and anxiety, while other symptoms of menopause such as vaginal dryness and a reduced sex drive can take a toll on your romantic relationships.

Our team of specialists can talk to you about treatment to help alleviate your symptoms and make menopause a more comfortable experience for you.

Common procedures for menopause with BMI Healthcare

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) 

Most symptoms of menopause are caused by a decline in the level of oestrogen in your body. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can alleviate menopausal symptoms by replacing these hormones. It can offer relief from symptoms such as mood swings, hot flushes, vaginal dryness and joint pain.

HRT typically involves taking a combination of oestrogen and progestogen as a tablet or a skin patch that is placed on your skin and replaced after a few days. Other methods of having hormone replacement therapy include an oestrogen gel, which can be rubbed onto your skin or vaginal oestrogen, where oestrogen can be placed inside your vagina as a cream or ring.

Cognitive behavioural therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help tackle the emotional and mental impact of menopause. CBT is based on the idea that your thoughts and attitudes influence your feelings and actions in response to situations.

This psychological therapy teaches you how to alter negative thought patterns and cope with problems by breaking them down into smaller parts.

Book a consultation with one of our specialists to learn more about treatment options for menopause. 

Infertility occurs when you cannot become pregnant despite having regular, unprotected sex. For some couples, infertility can be source of immense stress, frustration and heartache. But it is important to remember that you are not alone, and one in seven couples in the UK have trouble conceiving.

There are many things that can cause infertility in women, from gynaecological conditions such as uterine fibroids, or endometriosis, to certain treatment, for example chemotherapy.

Our team of Consultant gynaecologists can help identify the cause of your infertility through fertility investigations and tests. Once this has been identified, they can create a treatment plan to help you conceive.

Common fertility procedures with BMI Healthcare

In-vitro fertilisation (IVF)

During in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), an egg is removed from one of your ovaries. Your egg is then fertilised with your partner’s sperm in a laboratory. The embryo (fertilised egg) is transferred into your womb to grow into a baby. You can also use a donor sperm or egg in IVF treatment.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) 

If you find it difficult to have vaginal sexual intercourse due to a physical disability, condition or gynaecological disorder, intrauterine insemination (IUI) could help you conceive.

On the day, your partner will be asked to provide a sperm sample through masturbating into a specimen container. The sperm sample will be cleaned and filtered to create a concentrated sample of healthy sperm. This sperm sample is passed through your vagina and into your womb using a catheter (a thin tube).

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)

If previous rounds of IVF treatments have been unsuccessful or your partner has a low sperm count, you could benefit from fertility treatment such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

During this procedure, specialist equipment is used to inject a single sperm from your partner or a donor into main body of your egg, which is known as the cytoplasm. The fertilised egg can be transferred into your womb to grow and develop into a baby.

Visit our fertility treatment page to learn more about the other fertility tests and treatments we provide.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, women are at higher risk of having a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression. In England alone, one in five women self-harm or suffer from depression or anxiety.

Physical gynaecological conditions can often go hand-in-hand with mental health issues, because they have a major impact on relationships, sleep, and a person's social and family life.

Our Consultant psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists can discuss with you, your symptoms and put forward a treatment plan to support your mental health.

Common procedures for mental health and wellbeing with BMI Healthcare

Counselling 

If you’re struggling with your mental health, counselling can allow you to discuss your concerns and problems in a confidential environment with a counsellor. They can encourage you to find solutions for your problems and help you handle challenging life events, difficult emotions and mental health conditions such as anxiety or an eating disorder.

Counselling can be offered face-to-face, over the phone, or by email.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)

The first stage of EMDR treatment is the preparation stage, where your therapist will help you develop techniques to manage your emotions. Your therapist will also perform a memory assessment. They will ask you to identify an image of the worst part of a difficult memory or problem in your life. You will also be asked to identify a negative belief that you have about this memory, and the emotions and feelings tied to this memory.

The final stage of EMDR treatment is the processing phase. You will be asked to recall the image and negative belief, while receiving bilateral stimulation. Bilateral stimulation includes methods such as following the back-and-forth movement of your therapist’s finger with your eyes. As you recall this memory, you will be asked to report what you experience and feel.

EMDR treatment can help your process difficult memories with the aim that over time these memories will become less distressing.

Psychosexual therapy 

If you’re suffering from a loss of libido (sex drive), painful sex due to gynaecological conditions such as vaginismus and orgasm problems, you could benefit from psychosexual therapy. Psychosexual therapy allows you to discuss your sexual difficulties individually or as a couple in a safe, sensitive and confidential environment.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. If you require help for your mental health problems, visit our psychology and psychiatry treatment pages to learn more.

We partnered with pioneering research charity Wellbeing of Women to produce our Women's Health Matters 2021 report. Wellbeing of Women help improve pregnancy care, IVF outcomes and the risk of childbirth complications for women through their ground-breaking research.

Women's Health Matters 2021 provides a comprehensive analysis of ten of the most common gynaecological conditions misdiagnosed or misunderstood for years at a time. Infertility, debilitating chronic pain, the onset of associated conditions and severe depression are common effects of living with a gynaecological condition without access to the right care. Yet despite this, education and awareness around women’s health is lacking.

Millions of women in the UK continue to suffer in silence while waiting for a diagnosis, unsure of how best to manage their pain or seek help.

The aim of this Women's Health Matters is to tackle taboos in women's health by sharing the hard-hitting stories of other women living with these conditions, as well as:

  • Insightful commentary by specialist Consultant gynaecologists;
  • Information about what to look out for, diagnostic testing and effective treatment options for each condition;
  • Links to trusted support networks across a range of conditions;
  • Expert insight shared by Wellbeing of Women, ground-breaking research charity and advocate for increased awareness of women's health; and
  • Much more. 

To download your copy of the report, click here.

Don't suffer in silence. We're here to help you discover the root cause of your symptoms and manage your pain. 

Discover more about our extensive range of gynaecology surgery and other treatment services.

To get help, book a consultation with one of our specialist Consultants today.

Specialists offering Women's health

Dr Rachel Jones

Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist

Membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, MBBS

BMI St Edmunds Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Philip Toozs-Hobson

Consultant Gynaecologist

MBBS, ASM, FRCOG, MD

BMI The Priory Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Clemens von Widekind

Consultant Gynaecologist

Specialist for Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Germany)

BMI Three Shires Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Nilesh Agarwal

Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

FICOG, Diploma of Laparoscopy, MRCOG, RCOG

BMI The Clementine Churchill Hospital

View profile Book online

Mrs Pratibha Arya

Consultant Gynaecologist

MD, FRCOG, DFFP

BMI The Droitwich Spa Hospital

View profile Book online

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