Understanding Endometrial Ablation

Endometrial ablation is a surgical technique that destroys and removes a thin tissue layer that lines the uterus. The purpose of this technique is to lessen menstrual bleeding. Endometrial ablation is useful in abnormal bleeding, painful periods, or bleeding due to abnormal tissues like fibroids. Ablation is only performed in women who do not plan to conceive in the future.

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What does heavy bleeding mean?

Heavy bleeding refers to bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days or the need to change the tampon or pad every 2 hours or less. Heavy menstrual flow can lead to anemia and weakness, causing an interruption in daily activities.

Who is and is not a candidate?

A patient may undergo endometrial ablation in situations with heavy menstrual flow and painful bleeding. Some conditions that cause abnormal bleeding, such as fibroids or polyps, may be considered for ablation. There are certain circumstances where the procedure cannot be performed, such as recent pregnancy, infections, cancer, and previous c-sections. Other reasons include weakened uterine muscle wall, intrauterine device, post-menopause, and atypical shape of the uterus. Inform the doctor of any past or pre-existing medical conditions to make the right decision and avoid future complications.

Options to destroy the layer of the uterus

There are a variety of ways to ablate the layer of the uterus. The ablation procedure uses heat, cold, or different types of energy to disrupt the tissue layer. The different types of energy used include microwave, electrosurgery, and radiofrequency. Heat and cold applications include a heated balloon, heated fluid, and cryoablation, respectively. The healthcare provider will use the most appropriate technique according to the patient’s case.

The effects of ablation

Endometrial ablation helps reduce or stop menstrual bleeding, but there are associated consequences. Some associated risks include infection, bleeding, damage to adjacent organs, and accidentally injuring the uterus. These risks are rare but may happen to some patients. After the procedure, one may experience cramps, vaginal discharge, frequent urination, and nausea.

The recuperation time and signs of infection

After the procedure, one may resume normal activity after 2-3 days. Within 2-3 months, periods will get lighter or cease. However, complications such as fever, heavy bleeding, foul discharge, cramps, and difficulty in urinating require immediate medical attention. Speak to a doctor to learn more about the benefits and risks of the procedure.

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