Destruction of endometrial lining tissues in the uterus during surgery is known as Endometrial ablation. This process is a type of treatment to prevent abnormal bleeding in the uterus. Let’s learn more about how the procedure is performed, risks, and complications.
People who need to undergo endometrial ablation:
Medication sometimes does not control excessively heavy menstruation. Physicians consider this too heavy menstrual flow as a result of sanitary pad or tampon soaked through for 2 hours regularly.
Other reasons to recommend this procedure:
- Bleeding between periods
- Anemia as a result of menstruation
- heavy menstruation that lasts for 8 days or longer.
The endometrium of the uterus is destroyed in most cases. And the regrowth of the endometrial lining occurs in normal and abnormal ways. Younger women have tissue regrowth after months or years. This procedure is helpful for many but not for everyone.
Reason to perform endometrial ablation
As said before endometrial ablation is a treatment for abnormal uterine bleeding which is because of a non-cancerous (benign) condition. Endometrial ablation is not suffice when cancer of the uterus is the cause. Because cancer cells keep growing and spreading to all other layers, the procedure cannot be repeated again.
- Females who do not plan to have pregnancy in the future and who are not pregnant are only the ones eligible to undergo the procedure.
- If the patient has a genital tract active infection the physician will not agree to perform the treatment.
- When hormonal and medical therapies do not succeed women undergo endometrial ablation. And hence, endometrial ablation is not a first-line therapy for heavy bleeding.
The physician checks the medical history including allergies of the patient before scheduling the treatment.
If the person and the healthcare provider decide to go forward with the procedure. They discuss all the aspects and details of it before time.
Do’s and Dont’s in the weeks and days prior to undergoing the procedure.
- Standardized protocols before the procedure
- Undergo removal of IUD
- Take a pregnancy test.
- Testing for cancer in the endometrial lining.
- Dilation and curettage (D and C) procedure or medication makes the uterine lining thinner. This makes the procedure more effective.
- The person does not eat and drink for 8 hours, in case of general anesthesia. Not every ablation of endometrium procedures requires anesthesia.
Preliminary tests like electrocardiogram may be needed to be done.
Procedure – endometrial ablation
Younger women in particular undergo hormonal therapy before the procedure. This is to shrink the endometrium as there are greater chances for successful ablation.
Endometrial ablation begins by dilating the cervical opening and make passage for instruments into the uterine cavity. Different procedures like a laser beam, freezing, heating, and electricity were also used.
The type of procedure chose depends on varied factors, including
- The status of pretreatment medication
- Surgeon’s experience and preference
- Patient’s desired type of anesthesia.
- Shape and size of the uterus, the presence of fibroids
Post endometrial ablation symptoms
If the person needs general anesthesia, the physician will ask them to remain for few hours later. So the type of procedure undergone will decide the duration of recovery.
The patient should bring a sanitary napkin to wear after the procedure is done. Seek medical recommendations for treating the after symptoms.
After symptoms are:
- Cramps are similar to when on menstruation for several days.
- Surplus urination for a day.
- Bloody and watery vaginal discharge for some weeks.
Seek emergency medical attention if you experience:
- Heavy bleeding
- Facing trouble to urinate
- Extreme abdominal cramping
- Foul-smelling discharge
Complications and risks of endometrial ablation :
It is advisable for women to continue the usage of birth control even after the procedure. Because, if pregnancy occurs, the woman is more likely to have a miscarriage because of removed or thinned endometrial lining. So, the healthcare provider may suggest an added procedure of sterilization.
Complications for abdominal ablation are rare, other than the risk of fertility such as
- Bleeding or infection after the procedure
- A condition of regrowth of the endometrium after the procedure. This is called late-onset endometrial ablation failure
- Damage to vulva, vagina, or bowels because of cold or hot applications.
- Absorption of the fluid used in the procedure by the bloodstream
Results according to studies:
The majority of women who underwent ablation of endometrial lining reported a victorious reduction in abnormal bleeding. About 50% of the women will eventually stop having menstruation after the procedure. Studies also indicate that a rate of about 16 percent to 30 percent required reablation or hysterectomy.
Women with five or more children, women below 45, history of aching menstrual cramps, and prior tubal ligation. They were more prone to have a failure of the procedure endometrial ablation.
Removal of endometrial lining involves the above procedure, complications, and risks like infertility. But this resulting infertility should not make the procedure considered as a birth control measure. Since pregnancy is more likely to occur in the small endometrial portion that remains or regrew. Women who want to get pregnant in the future should not follow this procedure.