Say Goodbye to Heavy Periods with Endometrial Ablation

Headaches, nausea, heavy bleeding, a couple missed days of work… If that sounds like your average period, it may be time to look at some long-term healthcare solutions. Too many women suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding but believe it is just “their normal” and don’t seek treatment. Heavy bleeding, headaches, exhaustion and cramps with menstruation are not something women have to endure. Years ago, women with heavy menstrual bleeding had few options. Too many times they faced the difficult choice of going with weeks of pain and exhaustion every month or having a hysterectomy.

But today there are other safe, fast and practical alternatives that don’t require surgery, incisions, hospitalization or prolonged recovery. An endometrial ablation offers an effective, permanent treatment that can be accomplished in the time it takes for any typical doctor’s appointment with little recovery time.

What is endometrial ablation?

Endometrial ablation uses radiofrequency energy to remove the endometrial tissue without the need for surgery. The procedure removes the uterine lining, or endometrium, but leaves the uterus intact. It can be used to treat heavy periods and cramping.

Why choose endometrial ablation over other options?

Endometrial ablation is a safe and hormone-free procedure that studies have shown to be effective in about 90 percent of patients. Unlike traditional surgery, the endometrial ablation procedure can be performed in a few minutes and requires no downtime, hospitalization, anesthesia or scarring incisions.

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What happens during an endometrial ablation?

After your initial consultation, your doctor will set up an outpatient surgical appointment for the procedure. Endometrial ablation is performed through the cervix. To begin, your provider opens the cervix slightly and inserts a slender wand into the uterus. This wand pushes a triangular-shaped netting into the uterus where its flexible structure conforms to the shape of the uterine walls. The net is designed to customize its size and fit of each woman’s uterus. This netting delivers radiofrequency energy to the uterine lining for about 90 seconds. Then it is pulled back into the wand and the wand is removed from the cervix. The procedure can cause mild pain or symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or cramping.

How long does it take to recover from endometrial ablation?

After the procedure, patients may feel fine immediately or after a day of rest. Because the procedure is ablative, patients can expect light to moderate spotting or watery discharge in the days and weeks following the procedure. It can take up to three months for the uterus to completely heal and for the patient to resume a regular menstrual cycle. After the uterus has healed, your provider can assess the success of the procedure and can predict what changes to expect in the monthly menstrual cycle.

Will endometrial ablation affect my fertility? Is it used for birth control?

While endometrial ablation dramatically reduces the chance of pregnancy, women must continue using birth control after treatment. In the rare cases of pregnancy after ablation, the pregnancy is dangerous to the mother and most often ends in miscarriage. Before your procedure, talk to your provider about what birth control method will be most effective and beneficial to your sexual and overall health following ablation.

Who can benefit from endometrial ablation?

Most women consider endometrial ablation as a solution to heavy periods that interfere with their daily lives. Heavy menstrual flow is more than just a monthly inconvenience. Heavy bleeding can cause many associated symptoms, including:

  • Exhaustion
  • Nausea
  • Painful cramping
  • Headaches
  • Missing work and social activities
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Loss of confidence

Heavy menstrual bleeding can also cause women to miss work or school and leave them too drained to deal with everyday life and relationships. If your heavy periods interfere with your work, family, fitness routine and social life, if you are confident you are done having children, endometrial ablation may be an option for you. Together we can perform necessary tests and screenings and decide if endometrial ablation is the best option for you.