What are the side effects of endometrial ablation?

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What are the side effects of endometrial ablation?
(CC photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharynmorrow/205306264/)

Endometrial ablation is an outpatient procedure which utilises various methods for burning and destroying the endometrial tissue. The procedure is commonly used to alleviate heavy bleeding but is less severe than hysterectomies, which were the choice procedure before.

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Significance

The average woman looses 56.7gr of blood throughout her period. Menorrhagia, which is excessive menstrual bleeding, occurs in one out of five women. Endometrial ablation is the most common medical procedure used to remedy these situations.

Types

There are six procedures that can be used to perform the enodometrial ablation. Which of the six procedures is performed depends on the medical professional and the needs of the patient. Whether through radio frequency, liquid or mesh, all procedures seek to burn the endometrial tissue by entering through the vagina, leaving no incisions.

Side Effects

The most common side effects to endometrial ablation is cramping. Although the pain can last for a few days, it is similar to those experienced during typical menstruation. Some patients may experience a blood-tinted, watery discharge that can last for a few weeks. Some patients experience feelings of nausea, but most of these side effects go away within a few days.

Recovery Time Frame

Because endometrial ablation is a no-scalpel procedure, recovery time is only about 2 hours. Pain reducing medication is usually utilise to ease discomfort. The outpatient procedure rarely takes more than an hour and usually patients are kept for a few hours as a precaution.

Warning

There are severe risks which should be considered. Although rare, it is possible to experience burns to areas exposed throughout the procedure like the vulva and bowels. Embolisms are always a possibility and are extremely dangerous. Although pregnancy is not likely after the procedure, it can occur. Reliable birth control is indicated.

Considerations

Endometrial ablation is usually considered for pre-menopausal women, but it is becoming more common for woman who are finished with child bearing or who do not plan to have children. It is best to have a gynaecological consultation to evaluate the procedure's availability.

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