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Patient education: Endometrial ablation (The Basics)

Patient education: Endometrial ablation (The Basics)

What is endometrial ablation? — Endometrial ablation is a procedure that makes your period much lighter or stops it completely. It works by causing scarring in the inner lining of the uterus (figure 1).

Why might I get endometrial ablation? — Your doctor might recommend this if you have heavy periods that do not get better with other treatments, such as medicines.

Signs that you have a heavy period include:

Having a period that lasts more than 8 days

Having to change a pad or tampon every 1 or 2 hours

Passing large lumps or clots of blood

What happens during endometrial ablation? — Before the procedure, you will get medicines that block pain. You might also get medicines to make you unconscious so you can't feel, see, or hear anything during the procedure.

Doctors can do endometrial ablation in different ways. For most of these, the doctor puts a device into your vagina. Then they pass it through the cervix into your uterus (figure 1). The device uses heat, cold, or a special kind of electrical energy to scar the lining of your uterus.

What happens after endometrial ablation? — After the procedure, you might have:

Cramps for 1 to 3 days

Light vaginal bleeding or pink vaginal discharge for 2 to 3 days

In rare cases, endometrial ablation causes heavy bleeding or a hole in the uterus.

You will probably be able to do your normal activities 1 to 3 days after the procedure. Many people have irregular periods after endometrial ablation. After 2 to 3 months, most people have lighter periods and some stop having periods completely.

What if I want to get pregnant? — Scarring in the uterus can make pregnancy unsafe for the mother or baby. You should not have this procedure if you want to get pregnant. But it is still possible to get pregnant after endometrial ablation. For this reason, if you have had the procedure, you should use birth control afterward.

More on this topic

Patient education: Heavy periods (The Basics)
Patient education: Anesthesia (The Basics)
Patient education: Uterine fibroids (The Basics)

Patient education: Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Abnormal uterine bleeding (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Uterine fibroids (Beyond the Basics)

This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Oct 01, 2023.
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