Generally you cannot self-refer to a specialist within the NHS

QI am a 48-year-old woman.

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For months now my face and body heats up to the extent of sweating then I develop a horrible pain in my head.

My stomach is bloated and produces too much acid and I have bouts of constipation. What could this be?

AA number of things can cause similar symptoms to the ones you describe. These can vary from hormonal changes associated with the menopause through to some endocrine or other conditions that upset the automatic control of temperature.

Hot flushes, while common at the time of the menopause can sometimes be accompanied by migrainous headaches causing significant interference with life. It is important to check out what is causing your symptoms.

Your GP would perform a physical check, pulse, blood pressure etc and examine your tummy in light of the abdominal symptoms you have.

It's also likely he or she will do a blood test to measure hormone levels. If confirmed, there are treatments that can help.

Narcolepsy causes an irresistible tendency to fall asleep at any time of day. Patients may also often experience cataplexy or sudden loss of muscular control.

Symptoms

Excessive sleepiness, daytime sleep attacks, sleep paralysis (the inability to move for a minute or two at the start or end of sleep) and sleep walking.

DIAGNOSIS

A GP may rule out other reasons to feel drowsy, for example depression or drugs, before diagnosing narcolepsy.

TREATMENT

Frequent, short daytime naps, a strict bedtime routine, exercise and keeping stress to a minimum can all help.

WHAT IS...

NARCOLEPSY?

QHow do I get a referral to an NHS specialist?

AYou are entitled to ask for a referral for specialist treatment on the NHS. You will need to see your GP if you wish to be referred to a specialist, such as a surgeon or gynaecologist.

All your medical records are held by your GP who understands your health history better than anyone. Therefore, your GP can decide whether a specialist referral is necessary and, if so, can recommend what hospitals or clinics would be appropriate.

If you ask your GP to refer you to a specialist, it is likely that they will first suggest that you try tests or treatment options to see whether your condition improves.

Generally, you cannot self-refer to a specialist within the NHS, except by going to sexual health clinics or for accident and emergency treatment.

If you wish to see a private specialist, you are still advised to get a letter of referral.

If you see a private specialist without a GP referral, your GP is not obliged to accept the specialist's recommendations.

Q: I AM a 48-year-old woman. For months now my face and body heats up to the extent of sweating then I develop a horrible pain in my head.

My stomach is bloated and produces too much acid and I have bouts of constipation. What could this be?

A: A NUMBER of things can cause similar symptoms to the ones you describe. These can vary from hormonal changes associated with the menopause through to some endocrine or other conditions that upset the automatic control of temperature.

Hot flushes, while common at the time of the menopause can sometimes be accompanied by migrainous headaches causing significant interference with life. It is important to check out what is causing your symptoms.

Your GP would perform a physical check, pulse, blood pressure etc and examine your tummy in light of the abdominal symptoms you have.

It's also likely he or she will do a blood test to measure hormone levels. If confirmed, there are treatments that can help.

Q: HOW do I get a referral to an NHS specialist?

A: YOU are entitled to ask for a referral for specialist treatment on the NHS. You will need to see your GP if you wish to be referred to a specialist, such as a surgeon or gynaecologist.

All your medical records are held by your GP who understands your health history better than anyone. Therefore, your GP can decide whether a specialist referral is necessary and, if so, can recommend what hospitals or clinics would be appropriate.

If you ask your GP to refer you to a specialist, it is likely that they will first suggest that you try tests or treatment options to see whether your condition improves.

Generally, you cannot self-refer to a specialist within the NHS, except by going to sexual health clinics or for accident and emergency treatment.

If you wish to see a private specialist, you are still advised to get a letter of referral.

If you see a private specialist without a GP referral, your GP is not obliged to accept the specialist's recommendations.

WHAT IS... NARCOLEPSY?

NARCOLEPSY causes an irresistible tendency to fall asleep at any time of day. Patients may also often experience cataplexy or sudden loss of muscular control.

SYMPTOMS

Excessive sleepiness, daytime sleep attacks, sleep paralysis (the inability to move for a minute or two at the start or end of sleep) and sleep walking.

DIAGNOSIS

A GP may rule out other reasons to feel drowsy, for example depression or drugs, before diagnosing narcolepsy.

TREATMENT

Frequent, short daytime naps, a strict bedtime routine, exercise and keeping stress to a minimum can all help.

Health

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