Heavy menstrual bleeding is a common problem, with approximately one in three women who get their periods seeking treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding. Bleeding over 80 milliliters (1/3 cup) is considered excessive or heavy. If you saturate your pads or tampons each hour or bleed for more than a week, you may be having heavy menstrual bleeding. Other signs of excessive bleeding include using a tampon and pad simultaneously and missing activities like work or social events due to menstrual bleeding. The good news is that OBGYN Trinity Florida at Women’s Care Trinity offers endometrial ablation to reduce menstrual flow to normal or lighter levels.
What is endometrial ablation?
Endometrial ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that destroys your endometrium (uterine lining) using heated fluids, extreme cold, microwave energy, or high energy. Because the lining of the uterus causes bleeding during your menstrual periods, destroying it can reduce menstrual flow; in some women, bleeding stops completely. No incisions are necessary during endometrium; your provider inserts small tools through the cervix to the uterus. Endometrial ablation can be performed at your doctor’s office, but sometimes you may need to go to the operating room. The endometrial ablation method your provider uses depends on the size and condition of your uterus. Usually, physicians prescribe medications or devices like IUDs to reduce heavy menstrual bleeding. But if these treatments do not help, you may discuss the possibility of endometrial ablation with your doctor.
Who is a good candidate for endometrial ablation?
An initial consultation with your provider can help you establish your eligibility for endometrial ablation. Your doctor may caution against this procedure if:
· You are pregnant or are planning to conceive in the future. Pregnancies following ablation are at high risk to the mother and baby.
· You’ve had endometrial ablation in the past. Repeat ablation may result in severe injuries like internal burns.
· You are on medications that could thin your uterus muscles like steroids.
· You have a diagnosed or suspected pelvic, abdominal, or gynecological disorder
· You have had a C-section in the past; this could weaken your uterus muscles.
· You have abnormal vaginal bleeding and have not sought medical attention.
Postmenopausal women are also not ideal candidates for endometrial ablation, as are individuals with an active genital, pelvic, or urinary tract infection.
What are the risks of endometrial ablation?
Endometrial ablation hardly results in any complications, but when present, they may include:
· Damage to surrounding organs due to heat or cold
· Puncture of the uterine walls from surgical tools
· Pain, bleeding, or infection
Women can get pregnant after endometrial ablation, but these pregnancies might be a higher risk to the baby and mother. There is also a high chance of a miscarriage because of damage to the lining of the uterus. The rate of ectopic pregnancy is also higher after endometrial ablation. For this reason, you may consider some types of sterilization during endometrial ablation. Healthcare providers recommend sterilization or long-lasting contraception for women undergoing this procedure.
In the weeks before the procedure, your provider will perform a pregnancy test and check for cancer. If you have an IUD, your provider will remove it and may prescribe medications to thin your endometrium.
If you have heavy menstrual bleeding, consult your doctor at Suncoast Women’s Care to know if endometrial ablation is an option for you.