Endometrial Ablation

What is Endometrial Ablation? Endometrial ablation is a procedure which destroys a thin layer of the lining of the uterus (the endometrium).  This stops or markedly decreases the menstrual flow in many women.  It is a surgical procedure which can be performed in an office or an Operating Room. Who should have Endometrial Ablation? Endometrial ablation is generally considered if heavy bleeding cannot be controlled with medication or more conservative, non-surgical treatments. Who should not have endometrial ablation?

  • women who desire future pregnancy
  • women who are postmenopausal
  • women who have uterine cancer or  precursors of  uterine cancer
  • women with significant risk factors for uterine cancer

During the Procedure: You will receive medications to relax you and relieve pain.  You may be asleep during the procedure. A pelvic exam is performed and a speculum is placed to hold the vagina open.  A device is placed into the uterus and expanded to contact the entire uterine wall.  Heat is then used to destroy the endometrial tissue. After the Procedure: Some minor side effects are common after Endometrial Ablation:

  • Cramping like menstrual cramps, for 1 to 2 days
  • Thin, watery discharge mixed with blood, which can last a few weeks.  The discharge may be heavy for 2 to 3 days after the procedure.
  • frequent urination for 24 hours
  • nausea

What are the risks of Endometrial Ablation? Endometrial ablation has certain risks.  There is a small risk of infection and bleeding.  The device used may pass through the uterine wall or bowel.  There is a small risk of burns to the vagina, vulva, and bowel.  Rarely, the fluid used to expand the uterus may be absorbed into your bloodstream.  This can be very serious.  To prevent this problem, the amount of fluid used is carefully checked throughout the procedure.

Can I become pregnant after Endometrial Ablation? Pregnancy is not likely after an ablation, but it can happen.  If it does, the risk of miscarriage and other problems are greatly increased.  If a woman might ever wish to be pregnant again, SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE THIS PROCEDURE.  Women who do have an ablation should use reliable birth control until after menopause.  Sterilization may be a good option after an ablation.

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