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Endometrial ablation is a type of procedure that's often used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding. It can also be used for other types of bleeding in the uterus. It's not recommended if you plan to get pregnant.
Ablation works by destroying the lining of your uterus. As it heals, the lining will scar. This scarring reduces or prevents bleeding.
Your doctor may give you medicine to help you relax. You may also get medicine to help with pain. First, your doctor inserts a special tool into your vagina. This is called a speculum. It gently spreads apart the sides of your vagina. Next, the doctor may put a lighted tube through your cervix. This is called a hysteroscope or scope. It helps the doctor see inside your uterus. Then the doctor inserts a device to destroy the lining. This device may work in one of many ways. It may use a laser beam, heat, electricity, freezing, or microwaves.
Ablation can be done in a doctor's office. Or it may be done in a hospital. It usually takes less than an hour. You can go home after the procedure.
After the procedure, you may have some side effects, such as cramping, nausea, and vaginal discharge that may be watery and mixed with blood. This discharge will become clear after a couple of days. It can last for around 1 to 2 weeks.
It takes a few days to 2 weeks to recover. You will probably go home the same day.
Endometrial ablation is used to control heavy, prolonged vaginal bleeding when:
Most women will have reduced menstrual flow after an endometrial ablation. And up to half will stop having periods.footnote 1
The procedure is less likely to work in younger women than in older women. After an endometrial ablation, younger women are more likely to still have periods and need a repeat procedure.
Young women may be treated with gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues (GnRH-As) 1 to 3 months before the procedure. This will decrease their production of estrogen and help thin the lining of the uterus (endometrium).
Problems that can happen during endometrial ablation include:
These problems are uncommon but can be severe.
Fritz MA, Speroff L (2011). Abnormal uterine bleeding. In Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, 8th ed., pp. 591–620. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Current as of:
February 11, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Sarah Marshall MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineKevin C. Kiley MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of: February 11, 2021
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Kevin C. Kiley MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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