Endometrial ablation could be the answer to heavy periods that control your life. Some women bleed so badly during their periods that coping with day-to-day living is extremely hard, and planning days around the menstrual cycle has become a way of life.
There can be many reasons why some women bleed so heavily during their periods so the first step you should take is to make an appointment with you gynecologist so he/she can determine the cause of your heavy bleeding. Depending on diagnosis, your gynecologist may recommend this procedure.
It may be an attractive option for women who do not want a hysterectomy in order to control heavy bleeding or if other treatments have not worked.
What Is Endometrial Ablation?
This is a procedure that destroys the lining of the uterus. After the uterine lining is destroyed menstrual bleeding should be light or in many cases may stop altogether.
How Is This Procedure Performed?
The endometrial procedure is performed in the hospital under general or local anesthesia. Most women are able to go home the same day and recovery can take from one day to a couple of weeks.
Sometimes the procedure involves an instrument called a hysteroscope which is used to see inside of the uterus. This instrument is also used for other procedures such as hysteroscopic myomectomies to aid in the removal of submucosal fibroids.
The procedure can be done in a number of ways and the technique used depends on the discretion of the surgeon:
•By heat or thermal ablation with the use of radio frequency waves;
•With a balloon filled with saline solution heated to 185 degrees;
•By electricity (it sounds scary but don’t be too alarmed) using an instrument called a resectoscope which has a loop attached;
•By freezing the uterine lining or
Endometrial ablation is not recommended if you want to have children in the future.
This brief video illustrates the procedure
Side-effects and Risks
Side-effects can include cramping, nausea or discharge which can last 1-2 weeks. During the procedure there is a risk that the uterus could be accidentally punctured or the thermal ablation technique could burn the uterus or the bowel or there could be a cervical laceration when the opening of the uterus is torn.
Endometrial ablation may not work for some women and there have been cases when the uterine lining has grown back within 1-2 years and heavy bleeding persists. Women should also be aware that this procedure can be a problem for those who are later diagnosed with uterine cancer.
Why? Because the uterine lining is destroyed and the opportunity for detecting cancer is greatly lowered because the warning sign of endometrial spotting is lowered.
Your gynecologist may not recommend this procedure if you want to get pregnant in the future or if you have a lot of cramping with your periods or you have uterine cancer.
If you are considering this procedure discuss it with your gynecologist and he/she will determine if you are a proper candidate.
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