Could an Ablation be Your Ticket to Period Relief?
If you suffer from long, heavy periods, an endometrial ablation could offer relief. The ablation procedure is used to treat excessive menstrual blood loss, and can offer women long-term relief from painful and long periods as an alternative to a hysterectomy.
Learn more about the various techniques for an endometrial ablation, who is a good candidate for the procedure, and what you can expect afterwards.
What is It, Exactly?
Endometrial Ablation (often referred to as just an “ablation”) is a procedure that destroys the endometrium, or the lining of your uterus, in order to reduce your menstrual flow. A normal menstrual cycle does not interfere with a woman’s ability to enjoy every day activities, but if you’re concerned about having to run to the bathroom frequently or are in a lot of pain, that’s not identified as normal. “Heavy periods” refers to more than just heavy bleeding, and can include such symptoms as:
- Periods that last longer than seven days
- Using more than three pads or tampons per day
- Periods that affect your social life, exercise routine, or sexual intimacy
- Missing work or other important functions because of your period
How Does the Ablation Procedure Work?
While there are a variety of procedures available that will remove or reduce the lining of the endometrium, Cherokee Women’s Health offers three main techniques that are all done at our Canton office. These include:
- Novasure – A one-time, in-office procedure performed with bipolar electric surgery
- HTA hydrothermal ablation (which is a hot water treatment)
- Cryoblation – This is a process that uses extreme cold to destroy the endometrial tissue.
Most women will have reduced menstrual flow following the procedure, and up to 50 percent will stop having periods altogether. Older women are more likely to respond to endometrial ablation, as younger women are more likely to continue to have periods and might require a repeat procedure. An endometrial ablation is not recommended for women who:
- Might want a pregnancy in the future (Ablation is not contraception, so pregnancy might still be possible; however, these pregnancies are a higher risk to both the mother and baby.)
- Have uterine cancer
- Were recently pregnant
- Are past menopause
What Can You Expect From the Experience?
After the procedure, recovery time is quick. Most women return to normal activity within a day or two. Side effects include cramping, nausea, and vaginal discharge (which may be watery and mixed with blood). The discharge can last up to two weeks.
If you’re interested in seeing how an ablation can dramatically reduce or eliminate menstrual bleeding, contact our Canton office to schedule an appointment to talk with one of our doctors.