Patient Education

Endometrial Ablation

 

For those women that suffer through heavy periods and irregular, dense bleeding, endometrial ablation may be their best option for relief. The process of endometrial ablation results in the great reduction or complete stop of menstrual periods. This page is meant to help women with questions about endometrial ablation to gain better understanding of this medical procedure, its risks and benefits, and what it could do for them. 

WHAT IS ENDOMETRIAL LINING, AND WHY IS ENDOMETRIAL ABLATION NECESSARY?

Inside your uterus, the walls of the muscle are lined with a thick coating made out of blood cells, mucus and tissue. This lining is called the endometrium, and it is created in order to cushion an egg in the chance that it is fertilized. Every month, if the egg is not fertilized, your uterus will shed your endometrial lining through the vagina, a process known as menstruation, or your period. Some older women may experience extremely heavy, uncomfortable periods. If they have decided not to have any more children, these women may be advised by their doctors to get an endometrial ablation.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF ENDOMETRIAL ABLATION?

Basically, an endometrial ablation is the surgical destruction of the endometrial lining. Once the lining is destroyed, your periods are reduced or eliminated in most women. Various proceduresand techniques are available for endometrial ablation, which are described below.

CRYOBLATION

Cryoblation uses a freesing technique to destroy the endometrial lining. This procedure can be performed in the office without anesthesia. It is a safe and effective method for many women.

CAUTERY

The uterine lining is cauterized to destroy the endometrial lining. There are several different devices that can be used to perform this procedure. Typically the procedure is done in an out-patient setting, under general anesthesia.

WHAT ARE THE EXPECTED RESULTS OF ENDOMETRIAL ABLATION?

Most women who has gone through endometrial ablation can expect to experience reduced or no more periods. Although no procedure's outcome can be guaranteed, the vast majority of post endometrial ablation women are no longer burdened with heavy, long-lasting periods. Endometrial ablation is not recommended to women who are of child bearing age and or have not ruled out the possibility of having children. Since the lining that cushions and feeds the fertilized egg is destroyed during endometrial ablation, the likelihood of carrying a pregnancy to full term is very small. However, even if you have undergone the procedure, you should still use birth control just in case.

WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OR POSSIBLE RISKS?

Like any medical procedure, there are several possible risks and side effects to this procedure. 

  • Light bleeding: Although the lining will be destroyed, women will still bleed for several weeks, as the uterus recovers and sheds the remining lining. 
  • Cramping: many women experience cramping and abdominal pain right after the surgery. 
  • Infection: As always, without proper hygiene, the risk of infection is higher. If you take care of yourself, do not engage in intercourse or active sports for 2 weeks, you greatly reduce the possibility of damage or infection.   

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AFTER SURGERY?

Endometrial ablation is a minimally invasive surgery, meaning that after a few days, you should be able to return to work. Take caution in activities such as active sports, and abstain from sexual intercourse for the period your doctor recommends. You should see your doctor in six weeks so he or she will be able to check up on you and see how you are healing. In the end, this process should completely stop or at least greatly reduce any bleeding. You will still need annual gynecological exams and pap tests. 

IN CONCLUSION

Endometrial ablation is a simple procedure that can be done to greatly lesson or stop uterine bleeding during periods. After you have healed, you should now be able to go back to the things you enjoy doing and life as usual, now unburdened by heavy, painful periods and bleeding. Make sure to talk to your gynecologist and see if endometrial ablation is right for you.