What is Endometrial Ablation?: How to Treat Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

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Dealing with heavy menstrual bleeding isn’t fun, but fortunately there are options that allow you to reduce blood flow or even say goodbye to your period for good. Endometrial ablation is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure designed to give you freedom from leaks, tampons, and all the other not-so-great aspects that come with periods. 
Experts in women’s sexual health and wellness, our medical team at Amy Brenner, MD & Associates have experienced overwhelming success with our MyFlow® endometrial ablation treatments. We truly believe the procedure is a great option for women suffering from heavy bleeding who are done having children. 
If you’re wondering, “what is endometrial ablation?”, keep reading for all the answers you need about the procedure, how it works, and what to expect. 

What causes heavy menstrual bleeding?

Menstrual cycles are as diverse as the women who have them. Some women may experience very light bleeding with little to no side effects while other women lie on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. So what exactly causes heavy periods? 
Heavy bleeding (medically known as menorrhagia) definitely isn’t a single-faceted issue, meaning there could be a variety of underlying factors including:

  • Benign uterine tumors or growths
  • Hormones
  • Genetics
  • Certain medications
  • Bleeding-related disorders and illnesses

Before you seek treatment for heavy bleeding, make sure you speak with a physician. Some women assume they have heavy periods, when in reality, they are quite normal. Although getting a clear diagnosis from a medical professional will give you a surefire “yes” or “no,” here are a few signs you could look for:

  • Period lasting for more than seven days
  • Having to change your pad/tampon every couple of hours
  • Doubling pads to avoid leaks
  • Dealing with frequent leaks
  • Can’t go through the night without changing pad or tampon
  • Passing quarter-sized (or larger) blood clots 
  • Constant cramping 
  • Excess fatigue or shortness of breath
  • Periods negatively affecting daily life

What is endometrial ablation and how does it work?

Endometrial ablation, such as NovaSure (the FDA-approved device used at Amy Brenner, MD & Associates), is a quick procedure that removes the inner layer of the uterine wall (endometrium).
How does the endometrium affect my period flow? 
Great question! During the menstrual cycle an increase in estrogen levels causes the endometrium to thicken. This inner lining is made up of blood and nutrients to nourish an embryo after fertilization. After ovulation, the ovary releases the hormone progesterone, which further thickens the endometrium. However, when pregnancy doesn’t occur, it breaks down and leaves the body—hence the period. 
Understanding how endometrial ablation works is pretty straight forward. Depending on the device used, the procedure either uses radiofrequency energy to heat and ablate the tissue. With endometrial removal, most women never have periods or the periods they do get are much lighter and shorter.

How do I know if I’m a candidate for endometrial ablation

The only true way to understand whether or not you’re a candidate for endometrial ablation is by getting examined by a physician. While the procedure works great for many women, it’s not for all women. Candidates are typically women who:

  • Suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Have heavy periods that are not due to malignant factors
  • Are finished having children

Why is it important for me to be done having children?
We do not perform endometrial ablation procedures on women who want to get pregnant in the future because it greatly reduces the chances of pregnancy. In the rare chance that a woman gets pregnant after endometrial ablation, it would be a high-risk pregnancy that could negatively impact both mother and child. Therefore it’s still important to use contraception or get a sterilization procedure. 
If you still plan on having children, we recommend alternative solutions to lighten periods such as:

  • Birth control 
  • Hormone therapies
  • Dilation and curettage

Learn more about endometrial ablation and pregnancy. →

What to expect when you get endometrial ablation at Amy Brenner, MD & Associates

When you come into our Cincinnati office for MyFlow® endometrial ablation, our doctors and medical staff will always put your needs first. We want to ensure you remain comfortable and safe from start to finish. You can always expect the best care through board-certified gynecologists who truly make a difference. During your initial consultation, we will work with you to decide if an ablation treatment will work best for your body and the results you’re after. 
On the day of your procedure, you can expect to be in the office for about two hours. By this point, we would have already reached out to your insurance company to help determine your benefits. You also want to make sure you have someone to drive you to and from your appointment. 
Before your ablation treatment, we will numb the area based on your choice of a local anesthetic (you will stay awake) or an IV sedation (you will be asleep). From there, we use NovaSure to perform your procedure. 

If you get a NovaSure endometrial ablation treatment… 

At the start of our NovaSure procedure, we will insert a wand inside your vagina, which releases a net-like expandable frame into the uterus. Through the net, radiofrequency energy hits the endometrium with quick pulses for 90 seconds. The energy then heats and ablates the tissue. After the quick, one-time session (you won’t have to come back!), you should be able to return to normal daily activities without heavy downtime. 

After your endometrial ablation treatment, you may experience some light cramping, similar to menstrual cramps. You may also notice some discharge that appears similar to your period. During this time, we ask that you don’t use tampons for at least a week to avoid infections. Endometrial ablation significantly improves heavy periods for most women or gets rid of the period all together.

What Can I Expect After an Endometrial Ablation? →

Endometrial Ablation frequently asked questions 

There are a lot of questions and misconceptions surrounding endometrial ablation, which is exactly why Amy Brenner, MD & Associates strive to answer each patient question we receive to ease concerns and fears. We want you to feel comfortable about your decision so by time you come to our office, you are relaxed and ready to go. 
Here are a few of the most common questions women ask before their treatment. 

Will my period completely go away?

Whether or not your period will completely go away depends on the patient. Many women will lose their periods while others may experience lighter, more manageable periods. Either way, endometrial ablation has a high success rate, and most are happy with the results and freedom it brings. 

Does getting an endometrial ablation hurt?

Getting an endometrial ablation will not hurt. During the procedure you can choose between local anesthetic or an IV sedation. This ensures that you won’t feel anything during your quick procedure. However, after your treatment, you may notice mild cramping similar to menstrual cramps. 

Does endometrial ablation come with downtime?

Endometrial ablation does not necessarily come with downtime, though some patients may choose to rest after the procedure. In many cases, once the sedation wears off, patients can return to their regular daily activities. So if you need to pick up the kids from soccer practice, you can do so! 

Can endometrial ablation be reversed? 

No, endometrial ablation cannot be reversed. That is why you should be 100% sure you want the procedure before moving forward. You should also take careful consideration as to whether or not you may want more children. Anytime you go through a surgery, no matter how invasive it is, you want to evaluate all of your options carefully. You should never make a rash decision that you may regret later down the line. 

Schedule an endometrial ablation consultation with Amy Brenner, MD & Associates

Our health experts and gynecologist provide the best endometrial ablation procedures for premenopausal women. We can also better help you understand what endometrial ablation is so you are more educated and prepared for your appointment. With our vast array of sexual wellness procedures, we can not only alleviate discomfort, but also boost confidence by helping you reach your goals. 
We’re here to offer a warm, friendly environment while providing the highest quality surgical procedures and aesthetic treatments to help you look great and feel great. No matter what, we will stick with you throughout your entire journey, because your goals are our goals. 
Get started today by using our virtual consultation tool or scheduling an appointment. 
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