Endometrial ablation is a treatment option commonly used to relieve heavy menstrual bleeding. The procedure involves removing the uterine lining (endometrium). Each month the uterine lining thickens in preparation for pregnancy. When pregnancy doesn’t occur, the lining sheds during your period.
Women with heavy menstrual bleeding often have a uterine lining that is thicker than normal. Removing this lining results in lighter, easier-to-manage periods.
At Ideal Gynecology in Atlanta, Georgia, OB/GYN Lillian Schapiro, MD, FACOG, offers NovaSure® endometrial ablation for women who experience abnormally heavy periods that interfere with their daily life.
Let’s go over some questions you may have if you’re considering endometrial ablation and give you some much needed answers.
What is endometrial ablation and is it right for me?
Endometrial ablation is a quick, five-minute procedure that removes the uterine lining to treat abnormally heavy periods. The NovaSure technique significantly lessens or completely stops bleeding.
NovaSure may be a good choice for you if you don’t plan on having children in the future and your heavy menses are disrupting your daily life. Dr. Schapiro will perform a thorough evaluation to rule out more serious causes of heavy periods and to discuss your treatment options.
Will my hormones change?
Unlike treatments such as a partial or full hysterectomy, endometrial ablation does not disrupt your hormones. You may still experience mild premenstrual symptoms such as bloating and cramping. Because endometrial ablation doesn’t change your hormones, you won’t be at risk for issues related to estrogen deficiency.
How will my period change?
To truly predict how your new and improved period will be, it may take up to three cycles. Most women who undergo endometrial ablation experience regular, mild periods. In some cases, your period may stop altogether. You can expect your heavy bleeding to improve, and that’s what’s important.
Can I still become pregnant?
Your chances of becoming pregnant following NovaSure will be lower because it affects the endometrium. Though rare, pregnancy is possible. However, after an endometrial ablation, the uterine lining cannot adequately support fetal growth, making pregnancy extremely risky for you and the fetus. That’s why we only recommend endometrial ablation if you are done having children.
What can I expect right after endometrial ablation?
It’s normal to have some minor cramps, nausea, and discomfort right after the NovaSure procedure. You may notice a bloody or watery discharge as well. It could begin as early as right away following the treatment or a few weeks later. The discharge could linger for a few days or up to a few months.
It might even come and go, becoming more noticeable after certain activities. With any endometrial ablation procedure, this is completely normal. Within a day or two, most women feel like themselves again and may continue their regular activities. No matter how great you feel, make sure to follow any post-procedure recommendations from Dr. Schapiro.
Dr. Schapiro can discuss other options if you are not finished having children or if you have endometriosis, a condition that causes endometrial tissue to grow outside of the womb. Although endometriosis often causes unusually heavy bleeding, endometrial ablation is not the initial course of treatment.
When to consider endometrial ablation
Your doctor might suggest an endometrial ablation if your menstrual flow is so heavy that it interferes with your daily activities. Women with abnormally heavy menses often have to arrange their activities around having to change tampons and pads every hour or every two hours. This type of bleeding can have a major impact on your ability to carry on with your day normally, and it can cause significant distress.
Our compassionate women’s health professionals can speak with you about treatment options for your heavy periods. If you’re struggling with heavy menstrual flow every month, call our Atlanta, Georgia office. A member of our team is waiting to assist you in scheduling a visit with Dr. Schapiro.