When a woman experiences excessive bleeding during or in between her menstrual periods, she can begin to experience other health problems, such as anemia. Heavy bleeding can interfere with her life, forcing her to curtail work and/or pleasure activities. Heavy bleeding can also cause her to stop being intimate with her partner. If she does not want to have her reproductive organs removed, she can undergo endometrial ablation.
Endometrial ablation is performed on a woman who is experiencing heavy bleeding; she may have very long episodes of bleeding or may experience bleeding in between her periods. A doctor should prescribe medication to stop the bleeding before suggesting an endometrial ablation, which allows most women to return to their normal level of activity within one or two days.
Endometrial Ablation Defined
If a woman has no other problems other than abnormal bleeding, endometrial ablation can be considered as an alternative to undergoing a hysterectomy. This procedure, which destroys the endometrium (uterine lining), is accomplished using a resectoscope, or small telescope, which allows the gynecologist to see into the uterus and can also be used to remove small polyps and fibroids during the actual ablation. The resectoscope works via a small wire loop that uses electrical energy to remove or coagulate the endometrial tissue.
Who Can Benefit?
Women who are experiencing heavy bleeding with no other gynecological problems can benefit from this procedure. The "ideal" patient for this procedure should not have uterine or endometrial disorders, including an endometrium which is too thin; not have contracted uterine cancer or endometrial hyperplasia (excessive cell growth of the endometrium); not have suffered a recent uterine infection or pregnancy; and not be post-menopausal. All the reproductive organs will be kept; only the endometrial lining will be removed and/or cauterized.
Post Procedural Bleeding
After an endometrial ablation, bleeding can be reduced to a normal level, or stop completely. Dr. Paul D. Indman, M.D. reports that 58 percent of patients who have undergone endometrial ablation have no bleeding whatsoever within one year; the balance will have no bleeding or very light periods after the procedure. If a woman has a condition called adenomyosis, which is a growth of the endometrium into the uterine wall, she may experience regrowth of the endometrium along with a resumption of heavy bleeding. If this is the case, endometrial ablation is not recommended
Reasons to Curtail Bleeding
Endometrial ablation is primarily done to stop abnormally heavy bleeding. The woman needs to discuss her wishes regarding post-procedure bleeding with her gynecologist; does she want lighter menstrual flows, or does she want the bleeding entirely stopped? For some women, endometrial ablation is a safe, possibly permanent way to end bleeding, having the same effect as other elective surgeries.
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