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Endometrial Ablation

Reflections OB GYN / Health Education  / Endometrial Ablation

Endometrial Ablation

What is Endometrial Ablation?

Many women experience heavy menstrual bleeding at some point in their lives. But for one in four women, every period is heavy. Doctors call this condition “menorrhagia”. Endometrial ablation is used to treat menorrhagia by removal (or “ablation”) of the inner lining of the uterus. The procedure is minimally invasive and usually takes less than an hour. It’s usually done on an outpatient basis, so if you have an endometrial ablation, you’ll most likely be able to return home on the same day.

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Endometrial ablation is not recommended for women who:

  • suffer from uterine cancer, PID, or an active urinary tract infection
  • have certain types of uterine abnormalities
  • use an IUD
  • intend to become pregnant
  • are seeking to use the procedure for contraceptive purposes

After Endometrial Ablation

  • You may want to take it easy for the rest of the day. Most women can return to normal activities the following day.
  • You will most likely experience mild to moderate cramping (similar to menstrual cramping) and a pinkish watery discharge for up to three weeks after the procedure.
  • Take ibuprofen if needed for cramps after the procedure. If adequate pain relief is not obtained with ibuprofen, contact Dr. Sargent for additional advice. (If you are allergic or intolerant to ibuprofen, acetaminophen can be substituted.)
  • Contact Dr. Sargent if you experience any of the following after surgery: nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, persistent or increasing pelvic or abdominal pain, fever over 100.4°F or chills, or heavier vaginal bleeding than your normal period.
  • During the first several menstrual periods after your endometrial ablation, you may not experience the full eventual reduction in menstrual flow. Continue to keep a careful menstrual record chart.
  • A follow-up office visit is recommended three months after the procedure.

Other Questions about Endometrial Ablation

Will it hurt?

Most women don’t experience pain during endometrial ablation. You may, however, feel mild pressure or a sensation similar to menstrual cramps. Taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication or analgesic ahead of time can help reduce discomfort.

What are the risks?

Every medical treatment has risks and complications. Talk to Dr. Sargent to make sure you understand the potential complications and benefits of endometrial ablation.

Does my insurance cover the procedure?

Most private insurances cover endometrial ablation therapy. Be sure to check with your insurer prior to the procedure. In some cases a co-pay is all that’s required.

When will I see results?

Although some women see results immediately, it may take up to three months following the treatment before you experience a reduction in bleeding.

What will my bleeding be like?

The goal of endometrial ablation therapy is to reduce uterine bleeding to normal levels. Occasionally a woman may stop getting her period altogether after endometrial ablation therapy, or may experience light spotting for a few days each month.

Will there be any side effects?

Immediately following endometrial ablation, some women feel cramping similar to a menstrual period. A mild medication like ibuprofen and a heating pad can help minimize discomfort. You may also experience a watery discharge for up to three weeks following the treatment as the tissue heals. This is normal.

Many women who undergo endometrial ablation therapy report a reduction in PMS symptoms such as fatigue, irritability and cramping.

The treatment should not affect your desire for or enjoyment of sexual activity.

Can I get pregnant after undergoing the procedure?

You should only use endometrial ablation therapy if you no longer plan to have children. However, it is possible to become pregnant following the therapy. Because such a pregnancy would be high risk, you should continue to use a reliable form of birth control after your treatment.