What is endometrial ablation?
Endometrial ablation is a treatment option for heavy periods.
It works by removing the lining of your uterus. This lining is called the endometrium. The procedure is an alternative to having a hysterectomy, where your entire uterus is removed. Endometrial ablation is less invasive and has fewer possible complications.
It is not the right choice for every woman. For example, it may not be recommended if you have large fibroids or endometriosis. Endometrial ablation is only an option if you are certain that you do not want to have a baby in the future.
For many women, though, it can provide relief from a problem that has a serious impact on everyday life.
What happens during endometrial ablation?
There are different types of equipment and procedures for endometrial ablation. At Circle, we offer a procedure called NovaSure ablation, which destroys the endometrium using radiofrequency energy.
The operation is done under a general anaesthetic so you sleep through it. This means you will need someone to drive you home afterwards.
Your doctor will start by looking inside your uterus with a small camera (this is called hysteroscopy) to check everything is as expected.
Then the ablation instrument is passed through your cervix and into your uterus. This is done through a slender tube. The device allows your gynaecologist to deliver a precisely calculated amount of energy to the inside of your uterus, usually taking less than two minutes.
After having endometrial ablation, women can usually go home the same day without an overnight stay in hospital.
Afterwards you might have cramps that feel like period pains, and your doctor will recommend simple painkillers for a couple of days.
You’ll probably feel tired for a while, so allow yourself extra time to rest at first. Recovery from endometrial ablation is usually quick. Most women can return to work within two to five days, depending on the physical demands of the job.
It’s common to experience some vaginal bleeding or a watery discharge for a few weeks, and this should get lighter over time. Many women want to know when they can have sex again. Your doctor might advise waiting until the bleeding or discharge has stopped, and you feel ready.
How can endometrial ablation help with heavy periods?
Heavy periods can seriously reduce your quality of life, affecting your ability to work, pursue your education, and enjoy physical activity. The heavy blood loss can also cause anaemia. That’s why effective treatment is important for your health and wellbeing.
Your periods should get lighter after having this type of endometrial ablation, and they might stop altogether.
In several research studies, most women were satisfied with the results after having endometrial ablation with the radiofrequency method.
What are some of the risks?
Endometrial ablation is only recommended for women who are certain they will not want to have a baby in the future. That’s because after an endometrial ablation, it’s still possible to get pregnant and this can be dangerous for you and the baby. So you will need to use effective contraception and really stick with it. Some women may choose to have sterilisation (an operation to prevent you getting pregnant) at the same time.
Sometimes the heavy periods come back, and it might be necessary to have a hysterectomy.
During the procedure, there is a very small risk that the uterus or surrounding organs could be injured. As with any operation, it’s possible to have problems with bleeding or infection, and some doctors routinely prescribe antibiotics post-operatively.
Your gynaecologist will talk to you about your treatment goals, explain the possible risks and benefits of the various options, and help you decide on the best choice for relieving your heavy periods.
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Make an enquiry by email, ask us to call you back, or fast-track your treatment by booking an appointment with one of our skilled gynaecologists, for quick and expert care.