That time of the month shouldn’t be a time of dread.
While some discomfort during your period is normal, it should not prevent you from living your best life. Severely painful cramps, heavy bleeding, irregular periods or pelvic pain are all signs of a gynaecological issue that should be looked at by a specialist.
As women, our bodies go through several life-changing experiences over the years, from puberty to menopause.
While these are exciting milestones, they can be stressful to navigate alone. Feeling shy or embarrassed to ask for help or discuss our gynaecological health with others is a common reason why many problems often go undiagnosed and untreated.
Don’t stay mum. Seek help if something doesn’t feel right. Our dedicated team of gynaecologists and nurses will guide and support you to regain control of your personal wellness.
Read on to learn more about common gynaecological conditions that might be causing your symptoms, and the minimally invasive treatment options available at Gleneagles Hospital. Our gynaecologists will be able to share more information about your condition and customise a suitable treatment plan for you.
Each month, the tissue lining your uterus thickens, breaks down and eventually leaves the body as menses.
In some women, this endometrial tissue may grow outside the uterus and on the ovaries, bowel or even outside the pelvis. As it breaks down and gets trapped in the pelvic area, the misplaced tissue can get inflamed.
Pain is a sign that something isn’t right. This may be experienced as pelvic pain (the most common symptom), severe menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhoea), or heavy bleeding. You may also feel discomfort during bowel movements or sexual intercourse.
The degree of pain felt is not an indication of the severity of endometriosis. You may experience intense pain even though you have a mild form of endometriosis, or you may have a serious case and yet feel no pain at all.
Endometriosis can be treated to relieve recurring pain. An effective treatment option is laparoscopic excision. This is where the surgeon’s skill can determine how successfully the condition is treated. Being minimally invasive, patients can expect a quick recovery with minimal scarring.
Sometimes, a fluid- or blood-filled sac (known as a cyst) can grow on the ovaries. While most cysts are painless and disappear on their own, larger cysts may cause discomfort such as abdominal bloating and pelvic pain before or during your period.
Seek urgent medical attention if you experience severe pelvic pain accompanied by fever, sudden nausea or vomiting. These may be signs of a ruptured cyst.
In most cases, ovarian cysts can be easily removed through an ovarian cystectomy, which can be performed as laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery. However, in cases where cysts keep recurring, or if the ovary cannot be preserved, or if the risk of ovarian cancer is high, an oophorectomy may be recommended to remove one or both of your ovaries.
Another common gynaecological condition that affects women is polyps, which are small mushroom-like or flat tissue growths. These typically grow in the inner wall of the uterus, but can also occur on the cervix.
Warning signs of uterine or cervical polyps include irregular periods, prolonged or unusually heavy menstrual flow, with vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods or after menopause. Depending on their size, location and number, polyps may affect a women’s fertility.
Your gynaecologist may recommend transcervical polyp resection (TCRP), which is a minimally invasive procedure that can diagnose the type, location and number of polyps. The specialist will also be able to remove them at the same time either using forceps or with targeted electric currents.
Fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the muscle wall of the uterus. Depending on their location and size, they may cause pressure or discomfort in your abdomen or lower back; heavy, painful and/or prolonged periods; and pain during intercourse. Frequent or difficulty passing urine is another telltale sign. Left untreated, fibroids in certain locations can even cause infertility and miscarriage.
Did you know that some 60% of women have benign fibroids with no symptoms? This is why most women only discover them during routine pelvic examinations or with an ultrasound scan at their gynaecologist’s.
Women who wish to conceive a child in future can opt for preferred procedures such as fertility-sparing myomectomy or transcervical resection of fibroids, which allow your gynaecologist to surgically remove fibroids without the need for any incisions. In most cases, recovery is quick with little side effects. A more permanent treatment option, especially for women unconcerned by fertility, is hysterectomy, or surgical removal of the womb.
“Painful menstruation that affects your lifestyle may be a symptom of conditions such as endometriosis. Speak to a gynaecologist today to stop painful menstruation from letting you live your best life.”
Dr Anthony Siow, obstetrician & gynaecologist at Gleneagles Hospital