If your extra heavy or long periods haven’t responded to other therapies, such as hormonal birth control, you may decide to undergo a procedure called endometrial ablation, which permanently destroys the lining of your uterus to make your periods lighter and more comfortable.
Although endometrial ablation is nonsurgical and minimally invasive, you still need to plan for a recovery period. Expert gynecologist Rachel Spieldoch, MD, FACOG, and our medical team at McDowell Mountain Gynecology in Scottsdale, Arizona, have provided this guide to help you recover and gain the most from your endometrial ablation.
About one hour before your procedure, we may give you some medication to subdue pain and keep you comfortable aftwerwards. We inject anesthetics into the treatment area so that you don’t feel any discomfort during the endometrial ablation. We also give you a sedative to keep you calm and relaxed.
You’re awake for your ablation, but the sedative makes you groggy, so we keep you at our center for observation for about an hour after your procedure, to make sure you’re okay to go home.
You won’t be able to drive or walk home on your own, or take public transportation, either. You should arrange beforehand to have someone reliable bring you to our office and take you home after you’ve had your ablation.
You may feel nauseated after your procedure. It’s also common to urinate much more frequently during the day of and day after the procedure, or to feel an increased urge to urinate. You may also experience cramps and some spotting for 1-3 days.
Because your uterine lining is destroyed by the ablation, you may have some light bleeding or a pinkish discharge for the first 2 or 3 days. Days 2 and 3 tend to be heaviest. The spotting should taper off after that, and usually ends completely after three weeks.
Arrange to miss work and other responsibilities the day of your endometrial ablation. You’re weak, groggy, and possibly sore after your procedure.
Many women return to most of their normal activities by the next day. However, it’s best to avoid strenuous activity until you’ve given your body a few days to recover.
You probably won’t feel much like having sex after your procedure, and you shouldn’t. In fact, don’t put anything in your vagina at all. That means no:
Your gynecologist must give you the all-clear before you can have sex, use a tampon, or douche.
Some discomfort and spotting is normal after endometrial ablation. However, you should not be in intense pain or experience symptoms such as:
You should contact us right away if you have any unusual or painful symptoms.
Before your endometrial ablation, you must ensure us that either you or your partner has been sterilized or that you will use birth control assiduously and without fail. Once your uterine lining has been destroyed, a pregnancy could be dangerous for you and for a potential baby.
Even though endometrial ablation destroys the uterine lining, some endometrial tissue may remain. Your ovaries still release eggs each month, so unless you’re careful it’s possible that you could become pregnant.
However, any pregnancy would probably end in a miscarriage, since the baby doesn’t have enough of a “home” to nourish it. A pregnancy could also cause serious complications for you. We recommend having a tubal ligation (i.e., your tubes tied) along with your endometrial ablation if your partner hasn’t already had a vasectomy.
To book your endometrial ablation so you can say goodbye to long, heavy, irregular periods, contact our friendly team by phone or online form today.