A non-surgical alternative to a hysterectomy, this is a good treatment for option for women who have heavy menstruations and do not want to have children.
This procedure may be performed on women who have an extremely heavy period, called menorrhagia. (Mayo Clinic)
Menorrhagia is defined as:
- Blood loss so extensive that it causes anemia
- Bleeding that lasts for more than eight days
- Soaking a pad or tampon in less than two hours
The procedure is an excellent option because there are no incisions needed, and it can often be completed under conscious sedation. There are minimal endometrial ablation side effects.
“This is one of several procedures that we perform in our office. For many women, this is a viable alternative to a hysterectomy because it offers a faster recovery and eliminates the need for hormonal supplements,” said Dr. Anne Martinelli.
How is an endometrial ablation performed?
During an endometrial ablation, the endometrial lining of the uterus is removed by using slender tools inserted through your vagina.
First, we will determine what type of ablation is most appropriate for your situation. After you are comfortable, we will dilate your cervix so we can easily insert the instruments we will use.
The different types of endometrial ablations include:
This uses extreme cold to freeze and destroy the endometrium.
Through this technique, heated saline is circulated within your uterus for 10 minutes. This is a good choice if you have an irregular shaped uterus resulting from tissue growth such as fibroids.
A heated balloon device through your cervix is inflated by using heated fluid. When the balloon expands, it breaks up the endometrium.
By using a thin wand, microwaves are used to heat and remove the endometrial tissue.
Using this technique, a flexible device is inserted into your uterus. It then transmits radiofrequency waves to eliminate the endometrial tissue.
This technique requires general anesthesia. During this procedure a heated wire loop is used to remove the endometrium.
Who should not have endometrial ablation?
This procedure is not appropriate for:
- Women who have uterine cancer
- Women with an acute pelvic infection
- Women who are at an increased risk of uterine cancer
- Women who want to have children
Endometrial ablation and pregnancy
If you are considering endometrial ablation, it’s very important to be sure you’re not pregnant. Sometimes we’re able to do certain sterilization procedures at the same time of the ablation.
While you can get pregnant after you’ve had an endometrial ablation, this procedure places you into the high-risk category for future pregnancies. Because the lining of the uterus has been damaged or removed, there is a greater chance of a miscarriage. You are also at risk of developing an ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when the fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tubes or cervix instead of the uterus.
What can I expect after an endometrial ablation?
We will work closely with you after your procedure to ensure you have a recovery that is as comfortable as possible. After this procedure, you may experience:
You could have a watery vaginal discharge mixed with blood. This can occur for a few weeks but is heaviest right after the ablation.
You can treat these with over-the-counter pain medication.
For the first 24 hours after the ablation, you may need to go to the bathroom more often.
Usually, you’ll see results from the procedure within a few months. It’s important to remember that an endometrial ablation is not a sterilization procedure, so you’ll still need to use birth control.
We offer several in-office procedures.
If you’re having excessively heavy bleeding during your period, talk to us about treatment options. We’ll evaluate if an endometrial ablation is a good choice for you.
At Chapel Hill OBGYN, we recognize the importance of the latest state-of-the-art treatments, and we have several procedures that we perform in office, including:
- LEEP, a procedure that helps us diagnose cervical tissue
- Treatment for early pregnancy loss
See why generations of women have entrusted their care to Chapel Hill OBGYN for more than four decades. Contact us to schedule an appointment. We look forward to meeting you and developing a health care plan that’s right for you.
For more than 40 years, Chapel Hill OBGYN has served women in the Triangle area, sharing the joy of little miracles and supporting them during challenges. Our board-certified physicians and certified nurse midwives bring together the personal experience and convenience of a private practice with the state-of-the-art resources found at larger organizations. To schedule an appointment, please contact us for more information.
Mayo Clinic. “Endometrial Ablation: Overview.” Online.