If you are experiencing heavy or persistent uterine bleeding, we will schedule an exam to evaluate the cause. If hormonal treatments or other therapies do not help, we may suggest a surgical approach called an endometrial ablation. This procedure involves the destruction of the inner lining of the uterus. It is less disruptive to a woman’s lifestyle than a hysterectomy, which is also sometimes used to resolve abnormal uterine bleeding. An endometrial ablation may be performed in our office or in the operating room, depending on your medical condition and personal preference.
With the NovaSure system, uterine lining cells are destroyed by electricity run through a mesh that has been placed in the uterine cavity. This procedure reduces or eliminates bleeding for 91% of patients.
In addition, CCOG can conduct other types of endometrial ablation at the hospital. A procedure called hydrothermal ablation is sometimes used for women who have an irregularly shaped uterus. Hydrothermal ablation uses hot water circulated inside the uterus to destroy the lining cells.
Advantages and disadvantages of endometrial ablation
Endometrial ablation is typically successful in reducing (and sometimes eliminating) uterine bleeding. Women can return to normal activities a day after the procedure, however nothing should be placed in the vagina for the next two weeks.
Hormones produced by the ovaries are not affected by an endometrial ablation, and it does not cause menopause. Effective contraception is essential after an ablation, since it is not a form of birth control, and may cause complications if a subsequent pregnancy occurs.
What to expect after endometrial ablation
After having an endometrial ablation, most women experience mild to moderate cramping and a pinkish discharge for up to three weeks. Some women will have reduced bleeding immediately, but it may take a few months before a significant decrease is noted. We typically schedule an office visit two weeks after the procedure is performed.
Following this or any other procedure, you should contact our office if you experience nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, persistent or increasing abdominal pain, fever, chills, or heavier vaginal bleeding than your normal period.