Performed in office, under anesthesia, an endometrial ablation is a procedure done to curb dysfunctional uterine bleeding. During this procedure, a thin layer of the uterine lining is destroyed, which stops or reduces menstrual flow. If ablation does not successfully control heavy bleeding, further treatment may be required. Ablation should not be performed on postmenopausal women, or those experiencing any of the following:
- Disorders of the uterus or endometrium
- Endometrial hyperplasia
- Cancer of the uterus
- Recent pregnancy
- Current or recent infection of the uterus
Because part of the uterine lining is destroyed during this procedure, it makes pregnancy very unlikely. However, if pregnancy does occur, there are extremely high risks of miscarriage and other complications. Women who desire to become pregnant should not have an ablation.
Undergoing an ablation takes only a short time, while recovery lasts approximately two hours, depending on which method and pain relief are used. There are no incisions involved during ablations. Women who undergo this procedure still have all of their reproductive organs, meaning routine pap smears, and pelvic exams will still be necessary.
Before deciding to have an ablation, patients will discuss the procedure with their doctor, and a uterine lining sample will be collected.