Endometrial ablation

A procedure called endometrial ablation destroys the endometrium — the lining of your uterus — with the goal of reducing your menstrual flow. In some women, menstrual flow may stop completely. No incisions are needed for endometrial ablation. Your doctor inserts slender tools through your cervix — the passageway between your vagina and your uterus.

The tools vary, depending on the method used to destroy the endometrium. Some types of endometrial ablation use extreme cold, while other varieties depend on heated fluids, microwave energy or high-energy radiofrequencies.

Some types of endometrial ablation can be done in your doctor's office, while others must be performed in an operating room. Factors such as the size and condition of your uterus will help determine which endometrial ablation method is most appropriate.

Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Each month during menstruation, you shed the lining (endometrium) of your uterus. Endometrial ablation treats excessive menstrual blood loss, which may be indicated by:

  • Unusually heavy periods most months
  • Enough blood loss to soak through a pad or tampon every hour on the heaviest days
  • Anemia from excessive blood loss

Several options exist to help reduce menstrual bleeding. Doctors may prescribe medications or a progesterone-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) as the first line of treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding, but endometrial ablation may be an option if medications or an IUD don't help.

Endometrial ablation is notrecommended for women who:

  • Wish to become pregnant in the future
  • Have significant cramping with menstrual periods
  • Have cancer of the uterus
  • Were recently pregnant
  • Are past menopause

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