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Things to know about endometrial ablation

Endometrial ablation aims at treating abnormal uterine bleeding by removing or destroying the lining of the uterus (endometrium). This procedure is typically considered for women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding that hasn't responded to other treatments. By removing the endometrial lining, it can significantly reduce or stop menstrual bleeding altogether. 

Endometrial ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed using different techniques, such as laser, heat, freezing, or other energy sources, and is usually done on an outpatient basis. Endometrial ablation is not recommended for women who wish to conceive in the future, as it can make pregnancy difficult or risky.

Who is a candidate for endometrial ablation?

Candidates for endometrial ablation typically include women who:

  • Experience heavy menstrual bleeding: Those who have tried other treatments for heavy periods (like medication) without success.

  • Are not seeking pregnancy: Women who no longer desire to have children or are done with childbearing, as endometrial ablation can make pregnancy difficult or risky.

  • Have a healthy uterus: Candidates should have a uterus of normal size and shape without significant structural abnormalities.

  • Have completed childbearing: Women who have completed their desired family size and don't intend to conceive in the future.

  • Understand the procedure: Candidates should have a clear understanding of the procedure, its benefits, risks, and potential outcomes.


Types of endometrial ablation

  • Radiofrequency ablation: This method uses a special device that emits radiofrequency energy to destroy the endometrial lining.

  • Cryoablation: Involves freezing the lining of the uterus using a probe, effectively destroying the tissue.

  • Microwave ablation: Utilizes microwave energy to heat and destroy the endometrial tissue.

  • Hydrothermal ablation: This technique involves circulating heated fluid into the uterus to remove the endometrial lining.

  • Balloon ablation: A balloon device is inserted into the uterus and filled with heated fluid, destroying the lining upon contact.

  • Laser ablation: Uses a laser to remove or destroy the endometrial lining.


Each method has its own advantages and considerations, and the choice of procedure often depends on factors like your medical history, the size and shape of the uterus, and the preference of your OB/GYN

Endometrial ablation recovery tips

  • Rest and recovery: Allow yourself time to rest following the procedure. Light activities are usually fine, but avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercises for a few days.

  • Manage discomfort: Over-the-counter pain relievers, as recommended by your doctor, can help manage any discomfort. Heating pads or warm baths may also provide relief.

  • Vaginal discharge: Expect some vaginal discharge for a few weeks, which may range from watery to bloody. Use pads instead of tampons as instructed.

  • Follow-up care: Attend any scheduled follow-up appointments to ensure proper healing and discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.

  • Avoid intercourse: Refrain from sexual intercourse for a certain period advised by your doctor to allow the uterus time to heal.

  • Monitor symptoms: Keep an eye out for unusual symptoms like severe pain, fever, or heavy bleeding. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience these.


Consult with a St. Luke’s Health OB/GYN to discuss a personalized recovery plan after a hysteroscopic polypectomy.

What are the risks and benefits of endometrial ablation?

  • Benefits:

    • Reduced menstrual bleeding: Endometrial ablation can significantly reduce or stop heavy menstrual bleeding in women who experience it.

    • Improved quality of life: For many women, reduced bleeding can lead to an improved quality of life, alleviating issues like anemia or discomfort caused by heavy periods.

    • Minimally invasive: It's a minimally invasive procedure compared to a hysterectomy, with a shorter recovery time and lower risk of complications.

  • Risks:

    • Infertility: Endometrial ablation can make pregnancy difficult or impossible. It's generally not recommended for women who wish to have children in the future.

    • Incomplete treatment: In some cases, the procedure might not completely stop bleeding, and further treatment may be needed.

    • Risks of anesthesia: As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with anesthesia, though they are generally low.

    • Possible complications: Rarely, complications such as infection, injury to nearby organs, or excessive bleeding might occur.

Each person's situation is unique, and consulting with a St. Luke’s Health OB/GYN can provide valuable insights and options tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.

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