Endometrial Ablation Surgeon in Colorado Springs, CO
The medical term for menstrual periods with abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding is Menorrhagia. Although heavy menstrual bleeding is common among women of all ages, some women experience heavy menstrual bleeding that is more than an inconvenience. Menorrhagia prevents women from maintaining their usual activities of daily living when they are menstruating, due to excessive blood loss and cramping.
Although most women can manage to live with heavy bleeding, if you have been diagnosed with menorrhagia, you’ll be glad to know that there are many effective treatments for this condition. In a normal menstrual cycle, progesterone, the female hormone most responsible for keeping cycles regular, is produced when the ovaries release an egg. When no egg is released and anovulation occurs (lack of ovulation), heavy menstrual bleeding can result due to the lack of progesterone in the body. In adolescent girls who experience anovulatory menstrual cycles in the year after their first menstrual period, menorrhagia is not uncommon.
Common Causes of Menorrhagia:
- Hormonal imbalance
- Uterine fibroids
- Uterine polyps
- Dysfunction of the ovaries
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Pregnancy complications
- Inherited bleeding disorders
- Liver or kidney disease
- Other medical conditions
What is Endometrial Ablation Surgery?
Generally, your doctor will prescribe medications or an intrauterine device (IUD) to help reduce your menstrual flow as a first step before performing surgery. If these options don’t solve the problem or you are unable to tolerate them for some reason, your doctor may recommend endometrial ablation surgery. The lining of the uterus is known as the endometrium; endometrial ablation for bleeding is a surgical procedure that destroys (ablates) that lining, reducing or completely stopping menstrual flow.
Who Needs to Consider Endometrial Ablation Surgery?
You should ask your medical provider about ablation for periods if you experience:
- Vaginal bleeding that soaks at least one pad or tampon an hour for more than two hours
- The need to change sanitary protection during the night
- Irregular vaginal bleeding
- Bleeding for longer than a week
- The need for double sanitary protection to control your menstrual flow
- Bleeding between periods
- Passing blood clots larger than a quarter
- Restricting daily activities due to heavy menstrual flow
- Symptoms of anemia, such as tiredness, fatigue or shortness of breath
- Any vaginal bleeding after menopause
Endometrial ablation is not the right option for all women who experience heavy and/or excessive menstrual bleeding. Women who have had a C-section are not advised to undergo the endometrial ablation procedure, and women who are pregnant or considering getting pregnant in the future should not have this surgery due to the risks involved in post-procedure pregnancy.
What the Procedure Entails
The endometrial ablation procedure can sometimes be performed in your doctor’s office, as no incisions are needed. Specially designed tools are inserted through the passageway between the vagina and cervix to perform the ablation. Depending on the method used, the tools can vary and may include free flowing heated fluids, extreme cold, heated balloon, microwave energy, or high-energy radio frequencies. Your situation may require an operating room procedure, depending on the size and condition of your uterus.
What to Expect
If you and your doctor agree on endometrial ablation surgery, you might be prescribed medication prior to surgery to thin the uterine lining. If you have an IUD, it will be removed prior to the procedure, and your doctor will likely obtain a small sample of your endometrium to be tested for cancer. If your doctor uses electrosurgery, the procedure will be performed in a hospital and you will be administered general anesthesia. After the surgery you might experience cramps for a few days, which can be treated with over the counter pain medication. During the first 24 hours after surgery, you may experience more frequent urination and notice a watery vaginal discharge possibly mixed with a small amount of blood. This should abate within a few days after the procedure.
Potential Risks and Side Effects of Endometrial Ablation Surgery
Complications of endometrial ablation are rare but possible, and can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Possible complications with pregnancy, including miscarriage
- Heat or cold damage to nearby organs
- A puncture injury of the uterine wall from surgical instruments
If you experience any complications, see your doctor immediately. Certain sterilization procedures can also be done at the time of endometrial ablation. Due to the risk of complications with pregnancy which can occur following this procedure, long-lasting contraception or sterilization is recommended.
Most women experience a noticeable reduction in menstrual blood flow or a complete cessation of their period. Since endometrial ablation surgery is not a sterilization procedure, pregnancy is still possible but not recommended due to the likelihood of complications including miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. In order to minimize discomfort and allow rapid return to your usual activities, the Colorado Springs office of North Springs OB/GYN offers advanced surgical techniques designed to cut down on your recovery time.
If you are in need of treatment for gynecological problems such as heavy and painful periods, ovarian cysts, pelvic pain, bladder control problems, menopause or hormone issues, Dr. Christian York of North Springs OB/GYN can help. Contact us today at (719) 327-3229 for more information on endometrial ablation surgery or to schedule an appointment!