A typical menstrual period occurs every 28-35 days and lasts 4-7 days. When the cycle stretches past 7 days or includes bleeding that requires a pad change every 2 hours or contains quarter-sized clots, this is considered heavy menstrual bleeding. Heavy menstrual bleeding, also called menorrhagia, can not only interfere with the quality of life but can cause fatigue due to anemia and should be worked up by a qualified provider
While some women are prone to heavier menstrual bleeding, there may also be underlying causes such as fibroids, adenomyosis, bleeding disorders, endometrial polyps, or complications with contraception. It is important to let the provider know the length of time of symptoms, as well as the quality of the symptoms so that they can develop an individualized plan of care for you.
If you suffer from painful or heavy periods you may benefit from this procedure. Do your periods often last more than seven days—sometimes more than two weeks? Do you find yourself changing your protection every hour—hour after hour? Do you avoid certain activities that might cause embarrassing accidents—or miss too much work? Are you tired, moody or depressed during that endless "time of the month"? If so then endometrial ablation may help. This procedure destroys your endometrium or the lining of your uterus. Over time, this process reduces or completely eliminates excessive uterine bleeding.
There are a variety of ablation methods and Dr. K will help select the best method to fit your needs. Ablations can be done by using:
After your in-office procedure, you’ll be able to move about when you get home, although you’ll be sore or cramping for 24 hours. You will want someone to drive you home and then expect to rest for the rest of the day. Some women need a few days to get back into their regular activities however in general expect to take a day off following the procedure. During your healing, you’ll likely have some vaginal discharge that will start out bloody but will eventually become clear. Your recovery period may involve occasional bouts of nausea. Within 2 weeks you should be completely back to normal.
Many women do just fine with local anesthesia and oral medications to help them relax. Depending on your needs and surgical expectations, it’s a possibility that you might need general anesthesia, which may extend your recovery time.
Yes! You can still get pregnant after an ablation procedure however it is more difficult and in most cases unlikely. However because pregnancy is contraindicated with ablation it is important to consider a permanent form of birth control like vasectomy, tubal ligation, salpingectomy or ESSURE procedure. Endometrial ablation is a safe and minimally invasive technique to help you get rid of heavy periods and menstrual bleeding. If your family is complete, ablation might be right for you. But if you have even the smallest inkling that you might want to add to your family, wait to have this procedure done.
The majority of women who have an endometrial ablation report that vaginal bleeding improves. About half of the women who have had the procedure completely stop having menstrual periods. If you’re younger, you are more likely to continue having some light periods continue however the heavy bothersome periods should go away.
*Individual results may vary