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Endometrial Ablation – A Treatment for Heavy Periods in Bethesda, MD

One in five women report heavy periods. Is heavy bleeding getting in the way of your everyday life?

Endometrial ablation is a minimally invasive procedure done to remove the lining of the uterine cavity, known as the endometrium.

The endometrium is the layer of tissue inside the uterus. The cells have a monthly cycle of growth and collapse, in preparation for the implantation of a fertilized embryo. If there is no pregnancy, the endometrial cells die and shed, starting your menstrual flow.

Endometrial ablation helps to remove or thin the lining of the uterus.

What Does Endometrial Ablation Help Treat?

The most common reason to seek an endometrial ablation is to treat heavy periods or menstrual flow. One in five women report heavy periods and bleeding can get in the way of everyday life. For most women, menstrual bleeding is dramatically reduced or stopped after the procedure. Don’t let your heavy period get in the way, ask about endometrial ablation.

How is an Endometrial Ablation Performed?

It’s a simple procedure that can be done in your doctor’s office, usually for the cost of a copay.

It is a one- time procedure that can lighten or end your heavy period. This is done without pills. No hormonal side effects.

Which Types of Endometrial Ablation are Available?

There are two types available. First and second generation.

First-generation ablation (Endometrial resection)

First-generation, resectoscopic techniques require general anesthesia. The instruments are bigger and more manipulation of the uterus is necessary.

The ablation is usually performed using an instrument called a resectoscope. The surgeon uses a loop electrode or a rollerball to destroy the endometrium one small area at a time. It takes slightly longer (20 to 40 min) and requires more surgical ability.

General anesthesia has the advantage of a completely pain-free procedure.

Second generation (Global ablation or non-resectoscopic)

These have become more common because they are simpler and faster and produce the same results. In addition, the whole procedure can be done under local anesthesia in less than five minutes.

These procedures are routinely used in your doctor’s office, getting you back with no downtime. Your doctor will give you some local anesthesia to help numb the pain, but you can recover quickly and be on your way.

Several devices are on the market, including:

  • Novasure – Bipolar radiofrequency
  • MEA – Microwave endometrial ablation
  • Thermal balloon
  • Cavatherm
  • Thermablate
  • Hydrothermablator – Circulating hot water
  • Cryotherapy

Talk to your doctor to see which treatment is the best for you. Many of them work in similar ways to enter the uterus and remove the lining.

Which Procedure Is Right for Me?

All devices show similar success when analyzed in the clinical studies. The choice of your procedure is between you and your health care provider.

You may discuss which products are available, which one is most commonly performed by your physician or your general preferences.

This procedure is not a form of birth control and is not recommended for women who want to get pregnant.

What Can I Expect Following the Procedure?

The procedure is very quick, and most women report little to no side effects.

You may experience:

  • Some bleeding for up to seven days, usually less than an average period
  • Light brown discharge for up to six weeks
  • A transition to establish a new bleeding pattern may take three or four months
  • Significantly less bleeding during menstruation
  • Complete elimination of periods
  • Increased satisfaction
  • No need for further treatment or surgery

After an endometrial ablation procedure, 90 percent of women report being satisfied with the procedure. 50 percent of women will have no periods at all and about 40 percent will have only very light periods.

Following an endometrial ablation, 90 percent of women will not require any further treatment.

Benefits of Endometrial Ablations

Endometrial ablation has been evaluated against the gold standard of removing the uterus completely (hysterectomy). An ablation is shown to be effective and associated with fewer complications.

Some additional benefits to lighter periods may include:

  • Reduction in period pain
  • Improvement in PMS symptoms
  • Increase in days you feel like having sex due to fewer symptoms

If you are considering an endometrial ablation to get relief from your heavy periods, reach out today. We can talk about your options and see which option is right for you.