The lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. This lining thickens every month and is shed if pregnancy does not occur.
Endometrial ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that thins the endometrium lining to reduce or in some cases completely stop the monthly bleeding without any effect on your hormonal system. You might benefit from this procedure if any of these are true:
- Heavy menstrual cycles – filling a pad or tampon in less than two hours
- Bleeding that lasts longer than eight days
- Anemia – blood loss that leads to low red blood cell count
Endometrial ablation is not recommended for women who:
- Desire future pregnancy
- Have gone through menopause
- Have had cancer or precancer in the uterus
- Have a current pelvic infection
While endometrial ablation is minimally invasive, you should still plan for a short recovery time. It is common to experience mild-severe cramping for the first 24 hours following the procedure. As the endometrial tissue comes off, you may experience watery discharge as well. Contact your provider right away if you experience:
- Pain not controlled by pain relievers
- Unusual heavy bleeding
- Unusual nausea and or vomiting
While pregnancy after endometrial ablation isn’t likely, it is still possible. Please note, endometrial ablation is not a form of contraception, and only women who no longer plan on becoming pregnant are eligible for this procedure. Ideally, a permanent form of birth control such as female sterilization or vasectomy of the partner is in place before you have an endometrial ablation. If pregnancy occurs following endometrial ablation, the placenta may not implant correctly which can lead to miscarriage. If the pregnancy continues, placentation can be abnormal placing the woman and fetus at high risk of complications.
An endometrial ablation procedure can be performed in your doctor’s office. Your cervix is dilated to allow room for the necessary tools to complete the procedure. These are the different methods that are used for endometrial ablation:
- The probe inserted into the uterus is cooled until the probe freezes the lining of the uterus in sections.
- Fluid is inserted into the uterus and heated for ten minutes. The heat destroys the uterine lining.
- Radiofrequency destroys the uterine lining in one to two minutes.
- A wire tool with an electric current is used to destroy the lining of the uterus. This method requires general anesthesia and is used less than other methods.
- Microwave energy is applied to the lining to destroy it.
In the weeks before the procedure, it is important to perform a pregnancy check. If you are getting an endometrial ablation, you should have a permanent birth control method or plan on using a reversible method until menopause. Endometrial ablation cannot be done if you are pregnant. Your doctor will also check for cancer by performing an endometrial biopsy. It may be necessary to have a pelvic ultrasound prior to the procedure to evaluate the uterine anatomy. If you have an IUD, it needs to be removed. After your consultation, your doctor will help guide you on the best method for your needs and determine if you are a candidate for an in-office procedure.
Our women’s healthcare providers are passionate about ensuring that all patients receive an exceptional quality of care. You can trust our team to address your needs, ensuring total patient satisfaction. Contact Capital Women’s Care today to schedule your appointment.