What is it?
For many women, an endometrial ablation procedure can be the start of a new lease on life. This minimally-invasive, low-risk procedure can produce life-changing results that can be highly beneficial for women with heavy or abnormal bleeding. The goal of the procedure is to reduce menstrual flow for women who have unusually heavy periods, experience bleeding that lasts longer than eight days, or who develop anemia from excessive blood loss. If you find yourself changing sanitary pads or tampons every hour, for several hours or days during your period, and are done having children, an endometrial ablation may be extremely beneficial to your quality of life.
How Endometrial Ablation Works
Endometrial ablations are performed without the need for an incision. Rather, the endometrium (lining of your uterus) is destroyed using slender, specially-made tools that are carefully inserted through the passageway between your vagina and uterus. Destroying this uterine lining usually results in remedying heavy or abnormal bleeding.
Our board-certified OB/GYN, Dr. Aya Sultan, applies more than 20 years of experience as she personally conducts endometrial ablations. She may recommend proceeding with an endometrial ablation after discussing alternatives for symptom management options for heavy or abnormal bleeding such as prescription medications, or implanting an intrauterine device (IUD), or even a hysterectomy.
We understand the toll heavy or abnormal bleeding can take on your lifestyle and will work hard to find ways to regulate your cycle so that it is predictable and manageable. There are many potential underlying causes behind your heavy bleeding, which is why it is important to schedule an appointment if you feel you are a candidate for an endometrial ablation.
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What to Expect During an Endometrial Ablation
You should not be nervous about experiencing an endometrial ablation. They are typically performed in the comfort of our office, but can be performed in an operating room depending on your unique needs. You will be given medication to dilate your cervix and also receive analgesia or anesthesia care to ensure your comfort. Whether you are asleep under general anesthesia or awake under spinal or epidural anesthesia will depend on the type of ablation you receive. Dr. Sultan will discuss this with you prior to your procedure so you know exactly what to expect.
After Dr. Sultan performs the ablation, you will be sent home after your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing rates are stable. You should plan to have someone else drive you home. Experiencing vaginal bleeding for a few days after the procedure is normal and you may have a watery-bloody discharge for several weeks. You can also experience strong cramping, nausea, vomiting, or the need to urinate frequently for the first few days after the procedure. It is important to not douche, use tampons, or have sexual intercourse for four weeks after an endometrial ablation.
Outcomes of Endometrial Ablations
Endometrial ablation outcomes are usually extremely positive. It is a well tolerated and effective procedure for treating heavy menstrual bleeding. Most women are able to return to their normal routine within a week. After an endometrial ablation, it is common to have lighter or no periods, although your period may come back after a few years. For women who may be candidates for a hysterectomy, it can be a worthwhile treatment to avoid or delay a hysterectomy. Having an endometrial ablation instead of a hysterectomy allows you to keep your uterus and ovaries and hopefully resolve your heavy or abnormal bleeding issue without major surgery.
If you believe an endometrial ablation will enhance your quality of life, schedule an appointment today. Imagine no longer having to constantly worry or try to plan for your heavy or abnormal bleeding.