ENDOMENTRIAL ABLATION

What is endometrial ablation?

Endometrial ablation (EA) is a procedure that makes a woman's period much lighter or stops it completely. It works by causing scarring in the inner lining of the uterus.

Why might a woman get endometrial ablation?

Your doctor might recommend EA if you have heavy periods that do not get better with other treatments, such as medicines. Signs that you have a heavy period include:

  • Having a period that lasts more than 7 days
  • Having to change a pad or tampon every 1 or 2 hours
  • Passing large lumps of blood, called clots

What happens during endometrial ablation?

Before the procedure, you will get medicines that block pain. You might also get medicines to make you unconscious so you can't feel, see, or hear anything during surgery.

Doctors use different techniques for EA. For most of these, the doctor puts a device into your vagina and passes it through into your uterus. The device uses heat, cold, or a special kind of electrical energy to scar the lining of your uterus.

Another technique is called "electrosurgery." It uses a device with an electric wire loop or a roller ball to scar the lining of the uterus.

What happens after endometrial ablation?

After the surgery, you might have:

  • Cramps for 1 to 3 days
  • Light vaginal bleeding or pink vaginal discharge for 2 to 3 days

In rare cases, EA causes heavy bleeding or a hole in the uterus.

You will probably be able to do your normal activities 1 to 3 days after the surgery. Many women have irregular periods after the surgery. After 2 to 3 months, most women have lighter periods and some stop having periods completely.

What if I want to get pregnant?

Scarring in the uterus can make pregnancy unsafe for the mother or baby. You should not have this procedure if you want to get pregnant. But because women can still get pregnant after EA, doctors advise women who have the procedure to use birth control afterwards.