What Is Endometrial Ablation?
Do you suffer from heavy periods? Your doctor may recommend an endometrial ablation if you experience excessive menstrual blood loss. This surgery seals the uterus lining (endometrium) to reduce menstrual blood flow. For some women, the menstrual flow stops after the procedure. While it is a surgical treatment, the doctor does not need to make and incision or cut into the uterus. Instead, he/she inserts slender delicate instruments through the canal between the vagina and cervix that leads into the uterus.
There are different types of endometrial ablation. Each uses a different type of energy. The type of endometrial ablation you are offered depends on factors like the condition and size of the uterus. Are you considering endometrial ablation to treat heavy, prolonged, or too frequent periods? Learn more about the procedure and where you can get it done.
Reasons to Get an Endometrial Ablation
A doctor may suggest you consider an endometrial ablation if you experience:
- Heavy periods that soak a pad or tampon every couple of hours or less
- Periods that consistently last for more than seven days
- Periods that occur too often
- Anemia from losing too much blood
Are you hesitant to get surgery? Ask your physician about trying medications or a medicated intrauterine device to reduce menstrual bleeding. These solutions work well for some women. But if these therapies do not provide relief, endometrial ablation is a viable treatment.
How to Prepare for an Endometrial Ablation
To ensure a smooth procedure and great results your doctor will work with you to prepare weeks or months ahead:
- Screen for cancer (Including a hysteroscopy or microscope exam of the uterus lining and an endometrial biopsy to check the tissue on the Inside of the uterus)
- Remove an IUD if you have one
- Take a pregnancy test
- Discuss anesthesia options
- Thin the endometrium with medication needed prior to specific types of ablations
Your doctor will discuss the exact steps required to complete the preparation protocol. Be sure to let your doctor know if you have any questions or concerns.
What to Expect During and After the Surgery
Different medications and measures are used by different doctors to increase your comfort during the procedure. General anesthesia is usually not required. The doctor places slender instruments into the cervical canal, a natural passageway from the vagina to the uterus lining. The exact instruments depend on the method chosen to ablate the endometrium. For example, the physician may utilize the following to carry out the procedure:
- High-energy radiofrequency (such as Novasure)
- Cold therapy (cryoablation)
- Hot fluid (hydrothermal ablation/ HTA)
- Gently heated water vapor (MARA)
During your initial consultation, the physician will let you know which method will work best for your condition. He/she will discuss the tools and procedure in greater detail.
What happens after endometrial ablation? There is minimal downtime. After certain types of ablation, you may choose to return to work or resume your regular activities, or you may choose to rest at home. Adequate hydration helps lessen any cramping that may occur. A heating pad on the abdomen is also helpful. At times there may be light spotting on and off. These effects are temporary and should subside over time. Depending upon the type of anesthesia you receive and any medications you are advised to take prior to the procedure, your doctor will advise what you can take for comfort after the ablation if there is cramping.
Endometrial Ablation Results
It may take several months to notice the full benefits. You may notice lighter periods or stop getting your period after the surgery. As with any medical treatment, results vary per person.*
Remember that endometrial ablation is not a sterilization treatment and will not prevent pregnancy. If you choose to have an endometrial ablation it is important to still use a method to prevent pregnancy. While it is possible to get pregnant after an endometrial ablation, it is not advised due to the decreased blood supply in the uterus lining.
Fix Heavy Periods at Women's Health and Gynecology of New England
Ready to stop excessive menstrual bleeding from impacting your life? Dr. Julia Edelman, MD, FACOG, NCMP, Medical Director at Women’s Health and Gynecology of New England is a board-certified gynecologist and certified menopause expert with extensive experience doing endometrial ablations. She is the first gynecologist in Massachusetts to offer MARA endometrial ablation, a safe, gentle office-based procedure using heated water vapor. General anesthesia is not required, and MARA is done in the office. If an ablation is medically indicated, it is typically covered in part or completely by medical insurance. Women in Greater Boston, Southcoast, MA, Newport, Providence, and Cape Cod come to see Dr. Edelman for women’s health and gynecology. Call 508-947-0800 for a medical gyn consultation of visit.