Each month, a fertile woman sheds the inner lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, because of regular hormonal changes that occur during a menstrual cycle.
Heavy menstrual flow (menorrhagia) is a problem for many women, and large amounts of blood loss each month may even result in anemia for some women, causing them to feel weak and tired. Endometrial ablation, or destruction of the uterine lining, is one way to treat the heavy flow that bothers some women. Pregnancy is not recommended following ablation, so this procedure is only available to women who have completed childbearing.
What Happens During an Endometrial Ablation?
During an endometrial ablation, the thin layer of the endometrium is permanently altered to help stop excessive uterine bleeding. The procedure can be completed in either our Dallas or Frisco office or in an outpatient surgery center, depending on the specific needs of the patient. Because everything is done vaginally, no incisions are made during the endometrial ablation procedure.
Different procedures are equally effective in removing the endometrium, including heating, freezing, laser and electricity. The method used to perform the endometrial ablation depends on many factors and your physician will decide the best course of action for your specific situation.
Benefits of an endometrial ablation
- Eliminates or decreases heavy periods
- Minimal discomfort
- Minimally-invasive procedure using IV or oral sedation
- Return to normal activities the next day
The Recovery Process
After having the endometrial ablation performed, you may experience uterine cramping similar to menstrual cramps, which may be treated with pain medication if desired. Many women will have a watery discharge afterwards that is mixed with blood, which may last for two to three weeks following the procedure. During the first few days after your surgery, the discharge may be its heaviest. If you begin to saturate one pad per hour with blood, contact our office. Many women also experience frequent urination the first twenty-four hours following their surgery.
Most women can return to work the day after their endometrial ablation procedure.
It may take several months to see the full benefits of an endometrial ablation. The endometrial ablation procedure is usually very successful in reducing the amount of blood lost during the menstrual flow. Many women have much lighter periods, and some women have no periods at all.
You still need to use contraception even if you have an endometrial ablation, as pregnancy is still possible, but not recommended. In fact, thinning of the endometrial lining can cause serious complications were you to become pregnant afterwards.
Endometrial ablation works very well for women who are experiencing heavy bleeding that do not plan on becoming pregnant. Talk to your physician to see if this would be the best procedure for you.