Prior to any ablation, hysteroscopy and D&C are performed to evaluate the lining of the uterus. We will use a device to permanently remove the cells that grow a lining in the uterus. Each month during a period, the uterine lining is shed and a new starts to grow. By preventing the re-growth of this uterine lining, we can stop periods permanently. An ablation procedure usually takes five minutes or less depending on the device we choose and the shape of your uterus.
What to Expect After Endometrial Ablation?
Following the procedure, you might have some moderate to intense uterine cramps that can last 4-6 hours following the procedure. For some fortunate women, they do not experience any cramping at all.
You may return to work the day following your procedure, but we ask that you avoid sexual intercourse for 4 weeks to avoid infection of the uterus. You may have a watery or bloody discharge for up to 6 weeks following your procedure until the uterine lining heals. If you are not happy with your bleeding pattern after 6 months, you may opt to try hormonal therapy or consider a hysterectomy to control your abnormal bleeding. Repeating an ablation procedure is not generally recommended.
It is also important to understand that while ablations may stop your periods, ablations do not prevent pregnancy. We encourage our patients to consider permanent birth control such as total tubal occlusion, tubal ligation, or vasectomy prior to having an ablation procedure. If a women opts not to have permanent birth control, she is at higher risk for an ectopic or tubal pregnancy or a high risk uterine pregnancy.
Do you have heavy periods? Do you change you pad or tampon more than every 2 hours? Here are some options:
The simplest treatment is the use of hormones such as birth control pills or progesterone pills. However, many women are unable to use this option due to side effects or other medical conditions that inhibit hormonal use, as well as some women do not want to take a birth control pill.
Another option is the use of an intrauterine device called Mirena. The Mirena is used to either prevent pregnancy or treat heavy bleeding. The device has a small amount of progesterone within its T-shaped structure and is placed at the fundus or top of the uterus in a short office visit. This progesterone does circulate throughout your body and affects the lining of the uterus to thin it down and eliminate periods. Some women may experience hormonal side effects from this IUD. It is very safe and you can become pregnant within 1 month of its removal. Mirena prevents pregnancy in many ways, however we must make it very clear that it will also prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. It is important that you understand and agree to this before we place the device.