Heavy periods, or menorrhagia, affect about 20% of all women. If a woman is done with childbearing and having problems with heavy periods, she may be a candidate for an endometrial ablation.
What is Endometrial Ablation?
An ablation is a treatment applied to the lining of the uterus to help improve heavy periods. There are several different choices available. Our physicians typically use Novasure or Thermachoice. Endometrial Ablation is a simple, one-time, 5 – 10 minute procedure.
There are many advantages to having an endometrial ablation. If heaving bleeding is the only problem, an ablation can stop or decrease bleeding without the need for a hysterectomy. Keeping the uterus and ovaries intact means that the hormonal systems are intact as well. If bleeding has caused anemia, an ablation may improve this. Finally, the procedure can be done in a doctor’s office or same-day surgery center, and the recovery is much quicker than a hysterectomy.
Although an endometrial ablation is a great alternative to a hysterectomy, there are some disadvantages that one should consider before proceeding. Complications are rare, but like any surgical procedure, they can occur. When you have the procedure, you will need permanent birth control, since it is still possible to become pregnant and a pregnancy after any ablation procedure is unsafe for both mother and fetus. There also have been reports of the endometrial lining growing back and the bleeding continuing as heavily as before despite the procedure.
Minor side effects from the procedure can occur for a few days, include cramping (like menstrual cramps), nausea, and frequent urination that may last for 24 hours. A watery discharge mixed with blood may be present for a few weeks after the procedure and can be heavy for the first few days.
If you are absolutely certain that you never want to have any children in the future, and would like to stop your heavy period and restart your life, an endometrial ablation may be right for you.