What is endometrial ablation?
Endometrial (the inner lining of the uterus) ablation is a medical procedure which is used for the removal of the endometrial lining of an uterus to minimize abnormal uterine bleeding. Abnormal uterine bleeding is referred to the major change in the menstrual flow like bleeding after menopause and prolonged or excessive bleeding at regular or irregular intervals. Abnormal uterine bleeding is normally observed at any age however it affects the women in their late 30s to early 40s.
Why is endometrial ablation done?
While diagnosing abnormal uterine bleeding, it is important to find the source and ensure that bleeding is not caused due to infection, fibroids, pregnancy, or malignancy. Initially, hormonal therapy is recommended to manage the condition. If it does not work then, endometrial ablation is considered for the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding.
The hysteroscope is a device used for the endometrial ablation which functions by heating freezing or using lasers on your endometrial lining. This procedure helps to destroy a layer of endometrial lining and monthly menstrual period will stop for a while.
Many women may experience irregular bleeding due to the procedure, however; it takes approximately 8-12 weeks to get the desired effects. After undergoing an endometrial ablation almost 85% of women do not have any periods or have reduced bleeding. However, repetition of the procedure or hysterectomy is required in 10-15% women. The rate of recurrence is more among women under 45 years.
Who should undergo an endometrial ablation?
It is a non-surgical procedure in which a thin layer of tissue is removed from the uterus. Following types of patients are considered a good candidate for the procedure:
- Are pre-menopausal
- Suffering from abnormal uterine bleeding and do not respond to other treatments
- Do not wish to have further children
- Want to avoid hysterectomy (removal of uterus)
Benefits of Endometrial Ablation
Endometrial ablation can be a very successful procedure. The procedure can help to make periods shorter and lighter or eliminate periods totally. The process is more successful in older women.
Risks of Endometrial Ablation
There are certain risks with endometrial ablation which include:
- Accidental perforation (puncture) of the uterus
- thermal injury to the uterus or the surface of the bowel
- infection, bleeding or overloading of fluid into the bloodstream
- Often masks the symptoms of endometrial carcinoma
- Certain side effects including cramps, nausea or discharge, can be experienced after this procedure.
Pregnancy after endometrial ablation could be risky for both mom and baby. Hence, it is crucial to use an effective birth control method before this procedure.