Heavy menstrual bleeding can affect your quality of life and even your health. Defined as soaking a sanitary pad or tampon in an hour, this condition can impact your daily routine. In some cases, it can cause a low blood count, known as anemia. Endometrial ablation is a treatment for excessive menstrual bleeding that removes the thin layer of tissue that lines the inside of the uterus, known as the endometrium. Elimination of the lining significantly reduces monthly bleeding and even stops it entirely in some women.
If you are preparing to undergo endometrial ablation, it is understandable you would have some anxiety going into the procedure. Dr. Silvers and his staff understand that worry and will do everything possible to ensure your ablation treatment is comfortable for you. Many endometrial ablations are performed right in our office, and you will be able to return home shortly afterward. The procedure offers substantial, long-lasting improvement in heavy bleeding that makes the treatment worthwhile for the right patients.
Endometrial ablation is a nonsurgical method of treating excessive menstrual bleeding. The procedure involves the insertion of a device called a hysteroscope into the vagina and through the cervix to the interior of the uterus. Different techniques can then be used to ablate (remove) the lining to control the bleeding. Dr. Silvers will determine the right method for you.
Endometrial ablation may be done using local or general anesthesia, depending on the technique used and the complexity of the procedure. Whichever anesthesia is used for your procedure, you should be comfortable and not feel any pain throughout your procedure. Most ablations occur in our office, although more complex treatments may be performed in an outpatient surgical center.
Dr. Silvers may suggest an endometrial ablation for women who are experiencing any of the following concerns:
This procedure is not recommended for post-menopausal women or women that are not finished having children. While ablation is not a sterilization technique, it does make it very difficult for a woman to get pregnant afterward. If pregnancy does occur, there is a much higher risk it will develop in the fallopian tubes or that the woman will miscarry. Because of the dangers, a pregnancy test may be done before the endometrial ablation and women are advised to use birth control afterward.
You will be given the appropriate medication, so you are comfortable throughout your procedure.
The cervix will be dilated to allow for the insertion of the probe, which may be accomplished with medication or the use of different sizes of thin rods to gently coax the cervix open. The hysteroscope or another probe will then be inserted into the uterus to deliver heat or freezing that will destroy the uterine lining. Once the procedure is completed, fluid will be pumped out of the uterus if necessary, and the device will be removed.
Since anesthesia is used for endometrial ablation, you will need to remain in our office for a short time after your procedure, so we can monitor you. At that time, we will release you to recover in the comfort of your own home. It is not unusual to experience cramping, nausea or a frequent need to urinate for the first couple of days, but these side effects usually do not last long. Be diligent with following the medication protocol for the first 24 hours after the procedure, this is done to be proactive so the discomfort is minimal.
You will be able to return to your routine as soon as you feel ready, with just a few exceptions. Dr. Silvers will advise you to refrain from heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for a few days to avoid putting undue strain on the uterus. You will also need to avoid douching, tampons and intercourse for about two weeks to give the area ample time to heal fully.
After endometrial ablation, you should notice a significant improvement in your blood flow during your menstrual cycle. For some women, bleeding stops completely. Since the lining does not return, these benefits should be long-lasting. To learn more about this procedure, contact Dr. Silvers’ office today at 305-535-9600 to schedule your consultation.