What is Endometrial Ablation?

Endometrial ablation is a procedure that destroys and removes a thin layer of the uterine lining. It is usually performed to treat heavy menstrual bleeding, especially if bleeding cannot be controlled by medications. After an endometrial ablation, periods often stop completely. If they do not, they are much lighter and easier to manage.

There are many different ways that the uterine lining can be removed, including radiofrequency, heat, microwaves, and cold. Ablations are usually performed with local anesthetic by an OB/GYN. A probe is inserted into the uterus through the vagina, and the end of the probe is expanded or moved around to access the uterine lining. Cramping and discharge afterwards are normal, but the procedure is not particularly painful.

Endometrial ablation is not for everyone. It shouldn't be done by women who have reached menopause, or women with uterine cancer or uterine infections. It is important to remember that an endometrial ablation does not remove the uterus or ovaries, so regular pelvic exams are still important after this procedure. Women who are considering endometrial ablation should also be done having children. Pregnancy is possible after an endometrial ablation, though not likely. If pregnancy does occur, an ablation increases the risks of miscarriage and other problems, so reliable birth control must be used after endometrial ablation all the way through menopause.
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