Endometrial ablation is a procedure used to treat heavy, prolonged menstrual bleeding.
The procedure works by destroying (ablating) the lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium, that is shed each month through menstrual bleeding. It is typically used after medication has failed to control the bleeding.
Endometrial ablation does not involve any incisions. During the procedure, small instruments are passed through the cervix to destroy the endometrial lining. There are several methods that may be used to destroy the lining, including:
- Heated fluid
- Heated balloon
- Microwave energy
Depending on the method used, the procedure may be performed in your doctor's office or in an outpatient setting.
Most women will have lighter menstrual flows following endometrial ablation. In some cases, the woman will stop having periods.
Endometrial ablation isn't a sterilization procedure, therefore pregnancy may still be possible although it will likely end in miscarriage. Birth control is still needed if the woman has not finished menopause.
Endometrial ablation is not recommended for women who wish to become pregnant in the future. The procedure is also not recommended for women who:
- Have cancer or precancerous conditions of the uterus
- Have severe pelvic pain or severe cramping with menstrual periods
- Are pregnant or were recently pregnant
- Have a high risk for endometrial cancer