GPs in UK urged to routinely ask women and girls about period problems | Women’s health

Health activists say women and girls should be regularly asked about their periods during GP visits to improve treatment.

A new study by the leading charity Wellbeing of Women found that many girls are unable to eat or sleep and are forced to miss school or become bedridden. experiencing debilitating periods. More than 90% of those surveyed said they had to change their plans due to heavy bleeding.

The experience of sometimes disabling symptoms shows that current advice (for example, menstrual cramps ‘go away’ as girls grow up) is inadequate and needs to be updated, says the charity. said. She added that too many women and girls have their symptoms ignored by medical professionals.

The charity urges the NHS to regularly ask girls and women about their periods when receiving any medical care, such as when registering with a GP, receiving vaccinations or undergoing a general health check. I asked for it.

The survey results were based on a survey of 3,001 girls aged 12 to 18 across the UK, conducted by Women’s Wellbeing, chaired by Professor Dame Leslie Regan, the UK Government’s Women’s Health Ambassador. Based on their responses when asked if they had an impact on them.

The survey, carried out by the Census, found that 97% of girls experience menstrual pain, with 42% suffering from “severe” pain and 20% remaining bedridden. It also shows the mental health impact that period pain has on teenage girls, with 40% feeling demotivated by the symptoms, 39% feeling anxious, 33% feeling depressed and 31% feeling angry. replied. About one in ten (11%) said their symptoms made them feel like their life was not worth living.

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Professor Dame Leslie Regan, the Government’s Women’s Health Ambassador, holds the Chair of Women’s Wellbeing. Photo: Martin Godwin/The Guardian

“Conversations about menstrual health with health professionals can empower young women to take control of their health, from their first period to their last period,” says Wellbeing of Women’s Chief Executive Officer. said Janet Lindsay.

Dr Nighat Arif, a general practitioner and women’s welfare ambassador, said his surgery had seen many women who had waited years to seek help for menstrual pain. “Yet, there were long wait times for diagnosis and treatment. By giving girls the information, tools, and resources they need to seek help early, we can help them get help sooner.” I hope you get it and don’t have to suffer for years unnecessarily.”

Painful periods can be a symptom of endometriosis, which can be debilitating. Last month’s research revealed that women in the UK are waiting almost nine years to be diagnosed with endometriosis.

According to the Royal College of General Practitioners, GPs will confidentially and carefully consult girls and women who are concerned about the impact of menstruation on their lives and develop a treatment plan. Dr Michael Mulholland, Honorary Secretary of the University, said: “GPs and our teams are often the first point of contact for women with concerns about their menstrual and reproductive health, and we want all women to feel safe and comfortable with any concerns they may have. We want you to talk to us about your pain and difficult symptoms. ”

“We recognize that menstrual pain can be a significant source of discomfort and anxiety, and anyone experiencing this should speak to their GP or other health professional. We aim to do what’s best for our patients and are highly trained to have open, confidential and honest conversations. We always strive to develop the best treatment plan.”

Wellbeing of Women wants conversations around menstrual health symptoms to be “normalized” across society. Schools should provide better menstrual health education for boys and girls, ministers should launch public health campaigns to highlight menstruation-related issues, and all employers should support staff with problems. A women’s health policy should be developed for women, the charity said.