Excessively heavy menstrual periods can be very disruptive to a woman’s everyday life, and even lead to heath problems like anemia. Endometrial ablation is a relatively common procedure that surgically ablates or “burns” the lining of the uterus – or the endometrium. By destroying the lining, menstrual flow will be greatly reduced and sometimes even stopped for good.
Endometrial ablation procedures have improved greatly over the last several years. The procedure is short (usually takes just a few minutes!), relatively low-risk, and is often performed in an outpatient setting or even in the office. Ablation has very high rates of patient satisfaction and efficiacy (>90%), and is a less invasive alternative to a hysterectomy with fewer days away from work.
Women who are having heavy menstrual bleeding and are finished having children may benefit from an ablation. The reasons for the heavy menstual bleeding must be evaluated prior to the procedure to be sure you are a good candidate. This usually includes studies such as a pap smear, ultrasound and an endometrial biopsy.
For patients who are considering future pregnancy, ablation is not a good choice. Ablation of the endometrium can make it difficult or impossible to carry a pregnancy (although it is not considered a contraceptive method). Patients with a history of pelvic pain should talk with their OB-Gyn about the pain; there are some situations when an endometrial ablation may cause an increase in pain. Also, if you are at risk for endometrial cancer, the ablation procedure may make it difficult to diagnose this condition in the future.