Most women experience what is considered to be fairly normal bleeding during their menstrual cycles. However, some women– a number as high as one in five — experience very heavy bleeding during their menstrual cycles. Oftentimes, those women simply endure the inconvenience and frustration of it, without being aware they have an option to get their menstrual bleeding under control, endometrial ablation.
The condition, medically known as menorrhagia, is when a woman has prolonged, abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding. Symptoms of menorrhagia can include:
- Periods that last longer than 7 days
- Soaking through more than one tampon or pad in an hour
- Having a menstrual flow heavy enough to interfere with normal daily activities like work, exercise, social engagements, or sexual activity.
If you have any of the above symptoms, you may be a candidate for endometrial ablation.
During the Endometrial Ablation Procedure
Endometrial ablation is a surgical procedure performed by your doctor in the office while you are placed under general anesthesia. At Oasis Obstetrics and Gynecology, we perform an endometrial ablation procedure called Genesys HTA. During an endometrial ablation, the thin endometrial tissue layer lining the uterus is permanently removed in order to stop or significantly reduce the excessive menstrual bleeding a woman is experiencing.
During the Genesys HTA procedure, your physician will dilate the cervix slightly and insert a device called a procedure sheath in the cervix. She will then fill your uterus with a saline solution that will circulate throughout the procedure. Next, your physician will examine the inside of your uterus with a hysteroscope, inserted via the procedure sheath. She will then begin to heat the saline circulating inside your uterus, using the heated solution to ablate the endometrial lining of the uterus. This portion of the procedure typically lasts approximately ten minutes. After the heated saline has circulated, your physician will flush your uterus with a cool saline solution. Finally, once your uterus has been flushed with the cool saline, your physician will drain the remaining solution, remove the procedure sheath, concluding the endometrial ablation procedure.
After the Endometrial Ablation Procedure
After the procedure, you may experience some light cramping. Some women experience nausea and vomiting after the procedure, possible side effects from the anesthesia. You will want to take it easy and rest for the remainder of the day following your endometrial ablation procedure. You won’t be out of commission for long; most women are able to return to their normal daily activities the following day. Your doctor will instruct you on when you will be able to resume intercourse and the use of tampons since waiting to resume these activities will help prevent infection following the procedure.
In the days and weeks following your endometrial ablation procedure, the endometrial lining of your uterus will be “sloughing off,” so you may experience vaginal discharge and light bleeding during that time. If you have excessively heavy bleeding, abnormal pelvic pain, a fever, or experience any pain that increases in the 24 hours following the endometrial ablation procedure, you should call your doctor. It is important to note that your menstrual flow may continue to be heavy for the first couple of weeks following the procedure as your uterus is healing. Overtime, your bleeding should begin to decrease to a level that is mild to moderate.
If you have any questions or would like more information about endometrial ablation and if the procedure is right for you, please call our office.
- Dr. Shelly Messer