Historically, severe menorrhagia (heavy periods) has been treated with dilation and curettage which all too often proves to be only a temporary solution. This is why, traditionally, hysterectomy has been recommended.
Ethicon Women's Health and Urology, a division of Johnson & Johnson Medical, which exists to promote devices and procedures which facilitate minimally-invasive surgery, has developed a truly effective, non-surgical procedure for menorrhagia (heavy periods) which has a high success rate of reducing bleeding or stopping it altogether.
‘GYNECARE THERMACHOICE™ is a procedure undertaken as day case surgery and usually under local anaesthetic. Over 350,000 women worldwide have undergone GYNECARE THERMACHOICE™ and it is a procedure gaining much ground in the UK.
Mr Andrew Baxter, Consultant Gynaecologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Women’s Health comments “Period problems are very common; it is estimated that up to 60% of women will consult their GP at some point in their lives regarding their periods. The diagnosis ‘heavy periods’ is usually made when bleeding is interfering with a woman’s work or social life, or limiting her activities. Heavy periods can be due to conditions such as fibroids or polyps, but often no obvious cause is found. Treatments have traditionally consisted of tablets, or hysterectomy.
The advent of the Mirena device and what are known as endometrial ablation techniques, such as GYNECARE THERMACHOICE™, allows most to avoid major surgery. Most studies show that 80-90% of women are satisfied after an ablation procedure.”
He goes on to explain “The aim of the procedure is to remove the lining of the womb, thus reducing heavy periods or stopping bleeding altogether. GYNECARE THERMACHOICE™ involves passing a thin catheter inside the womb through the cervix. There is a balloon on the end of the catheter. Hot fluid is circulated inside the balloon and the heat treats the lining of the womb. The procedure takes eight minutes and it can be done under general or local anaesthetic.
“Even if done under a general anaesthetic the woman would be able to go home the same day.
“These procedures have helped reduce the number of hysterectomies performed in the UK. This means that an increasing number of women are avoiding the risks of major surgery. The NHS has made a priority of moving surgery from the in-patient setting to day case, to out-patients. Endometrial ablative techniques such as GYNECARE THERMACHOICE? fit well into this plan. At our hospital we have been able to give up one of our weekly in-patient lists and replace it with an out-patient session. This frees up beds and valuable theatre space.”
Ethicon Women’s Health and Urology has set up a dedicated Women’s Health Careline – a telephone-based service staffed by trained health professionals who deal with many aspects of women’s health, including menorrhagia. Women can call in complete confidence on 0845 850 0305 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. In addition, further information on menorrhagia and other gynaecological conditions can be found at www.womenshealthsolutions.co.uk
More than 40,000 hysterectomies were carried out in England in 2003-04 and it is estimated that heavy periods was the presenting condition in more than half these cases. Of these 20,000 women, it is further estimated that as many as 50% had a completely healthy uterus removed.
Dysfunctional menorrhagia which accounts for approximately 80% of cases happens when the uterus is normal – the underlying problem occurs elsewhere in the body.
Ethicon Women’s Health and Urology
Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd