What is an endometrial ablation?
A uterine or endometrial ablation is an alternative procedure to a hysterectomy for women seeking to reduce heavy uterine bleeding. A thin layer of the lining of the uterus is destroyed, reducing menstrual bleeding to lighter or normal levels.
Endometrial ablation is a treatment for various causes of heavy bleeding. In most cases, women are first administered medication to treat the effects, but if the medication has little or no effect, an endometrial ablation may be used.
Who should receive the treatment?
Women past menopause are not good candidates for endometrial ablation. It is not recommended for women with recent pregnancy, current or recent uterine infection, disorders of the uterus or endometrium including: endometrial hyperplasia, or uterine cancer,
Women who have had an endometrial ablation are not likely to become pregnant, but there is a chance. Birth control should still be used until after menopause. Women who desire to become pregnant should not have this procedure. If pregnancy occurs, the risk of miscarriage and other complications are greatly increased. Unlike a hysterectomy, a woman who has had an ablation still has all reproductive organs. Therefore, routine screenings for cervical cancer and pelvic exams are still required.
Procedure and side effects
Various methods exist for conducting endometrial ablations. Seek the advice of your OBGYN to find the method that best fits your needs. After the procedure, you should expect some minor side effects such as cramping, like menstrual cramps, for 1-2 days. Thin, watery discharge mixed with blood can last up to a few weeks. Discharge may be heavy for 2–3 days following the procedure. Frequent urination for up to 24 hours and nausea are also commonly reported side effects.
If you suffer from heavy uterine bleeding and medication has not helped, you may be a good candidate for an endometrial ablation. Contact OBGYN Associates of Iowa City and Coralville to speak about your options.