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HealthInfo Canterbury

Tests & diagnosis for heavy periods

It can be helpful to complete a menstrual diary. You can also download a menstrual diary app. Clue has apps for iPhones and Android phones, and Period Tracker is available for Android phones.

Bring your diary along to your appointment to discuss with your doctor. You may also want to read about treatment options for heavy menstrual bleeding.

It's important to see your GP more quickly, if you have heavy periods and any one of the following applies:


It is likely that your doctor will ask you about your periods (history, frequency, heaviness of bleeding) and examine you and check if you are up to date with your cervical smear. You may need to have a repeat smear test or a swab test to check for infection.

Your doctor may arrange blood tests to check whether you have low iron levels and look for other possible health problems.

You can read more about how heavy periods are diagnosed and the tests used on Patient.


You may need to have an ultrasound scan and a procedure called a pipelle biopsy. A pipelle biopsy can be done by a GP and if your doctor does not specialise in this, they may refer you to another doctor who does.

If you do not want to wait, you can pay to have an ultrasound scan done privately.

If you need further treatment or a procedure called a hysteroscopy, your doctor may refer you to Christchurch Hospital Gynaecology Outpatients Department, where you will normally be seen as an outpatient.

If you prefer, you can pay to see a private gynaecologist. You can find a private gynaecologist on Healthpages or Healthpoint.

On the next page: Managing heavy or irregular periods

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed November 2016.

See also:

Understanding your vaginal swab results

Page reference: 6003

Review key: HIHPE-15976