Am I a Good Candidate for Endometrial Ablation?

Endometrial Ablation, Marsha K. Howerton, MD

Between 10 and 30% of women of reproductive age suffer from abnormal menstrual bleeding. The effects of heavy, painful periods can have a huge impact on quality of life and confidence.

Women often feel that their only option to end their gynecological problems is a hysterectomy - an invasive procedure with a minimum six-week recovery period. Women of reproductive age often have jobs and families to manage, and the time required to recover from a hysterectomy is just too long for them to be out of action.

Marsha K. Howerton, MD has provided relief from heavy and painful periods to women throughout the Tulsa, Oklahoma area with a technique called endometrial ablation. Ablation can put a stop to abnormal periods, but is far less invasive and has a much faster recovery time than a hysterectomy.

Reasons to consider endometrial ablation

Unusually heavy menstrual flow can severely affect your quality of life. It may restrict your activity, cause great anxiety about leaking, and often result in your needing to take time off work, which can potentially leave you in trouble with your employer.

Very heavy periods, or periods that last longer than eight days, can result in a woman suffering from anemia secondary to blood loss. Anemia can leave you feeling tired, weak, dizzy, and breathless.


How endometrial ablation helps

Endometrial ablation helps to reduce heavy menstrual bleeding by destroying the lining of the uterus, also called the endometrium. As the surface of the uterus heals, it produces scar tissue, which prevents the endometrium from growing back and therefore reduces or entirely eliminates the amount of menstrual bleeding that occurs each month.


How endometrial ablation works

Endometrial ablation is usually performed as a day case and depending on the method that will be used, you will be administered either local or general anesthesia. The procedure itself takes around 45 minutes, but varies depending on the technique to be used. Usually, Dr. Howerton inserts a tiny camera through your cervix to look inside your uterus. She then uses one of the following methods to destroy or remove the lining of your womb:

Thermal ablation using radiofrequency, laser, or microwave energy - a probe sends either a laser, radiofrequency or magnetic energy into the endometrium. The energy produces heat, which destroys the womb lining.

Electricity - using a resectoscope, which has an electric wire loop or rollerball

Freezing - using ultrasound to guide her, Dr. Howerton uses a probe that emits extreme cold to destroy the uterine lining


Recovery and results

After endometrial ablation, you can usually go home the same day. The major benefit of this procedure above hysterectomy to combat heavy periods is the recovery time. You should feel well enough to return to work within two to five days of your procedure, depending on how physically demanding your job is.

For a few days after your procedure, you may experience cramping similar to menstrual cramps. You may also experience frequent urination, nausea, and some disruption to your bowel habits.

After the procedure, you may experience a watery, bloody discharge, and you may need to use feminine hygiene products to absorb this. It should settle within a few weeks.

It may take a few months, but you’ll begin to notice a marked reduction in your monthly bleeding. Some women even experience total cessation of their period.

How do I know if endometrial ablation is right for me?

The best way to find out if you are a candidate for endometrial ablation is by making an appointment with us. Dr. Howerton will discuss your symptoms and circumstances and help you make a decision.

Ablation surgery is not appropriate for everyone. If you have previously had uterine surgery, a Cesarean section, or have previously suffered from uterine cancer or fibroids, endometrial ablation may not be an option for you.

Although endometrial ablation leaves the uterus and ovaries intact, it’s important that you’re certain you don’t want to add to your family before opting for endometrial ablation. Pregnancy is possible after the procedure, but carries many risks for both mother and fetus. It is best to discuss permanent contraception options and make careful considerations prior to deciding to go ahead.


For a full evaluation of whether endometrial ablation could end your heavy periods, make an appointment at our Tulsa, Oklahoma clinic to consult with Dr. Howerton.

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