Complaints of heavy menstrual bleeding are common. In fact, about 30 percent of all women will bring this very concern up to their physician at some point. However, only a portion of these patients will go on to be diagnosed with menorrhagia, a condition marked by excessively heavy bleeding or bleeding that lasts more than seven days.
How Heavy is Bleeding Associated with Menorrhagia?
While there is no set amount of blood loss that constitutes a diagnosis of menorrhagia, there are certain signs that indicate a problem which should be further evaluated by a gynecologist. These may include:
- Bleeding and cramping severe enough to keep patients from normal daily activities
- The need to change sanitary pads or tampons every hour
- The need to use added protection such as a pad with a tampon in order to control bleeding
- Changing sanitary products during the night
- Presence of blood clots larger than a quarter in size
- Bleeding for more than one week
How does Endometrial Ablation Treat Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?
The endometrium is the inner lining of the uterus. Each month, this lining builds and thickens in preparation for pregnancy. When implantation of a fertilized egg does not occur, the endometrium begins to break down and be expelled from the body through the process of menstruation. Endometrial ablation treats menorrhagia at its source by destroying the lining of the uterus through extreme temperatures, preventing it from continuing to build and shed.
What are the Advantages of Endometrial Ablation?
The largest advantage of endometrial ablation is that it is a minimally invasive treatment option to correct heavy bleeding. During the procedure, no incisions are made. Instead, thin, specialized tools are guided through the cervix and into the uterus, where either heat or cold is delivered in order to ablate, or destroy, the endometrium. Because the procedure involves no incisions, it has many benefits over surgical alternatives, including:
- Shorter recovery times
- Less post-procedure bleeding and pain
- Less scarring
Who should have Endometrial Ablation?
Endometrial ablation isn’t right for everyone suffering from menorrhagia. Women who are pregnant or wish to become pregnant in the future should not have the procedure. Nor should those who currently have an intrauterine device (IUD). Furthermore, conditions such as the following should not exist in an ideal endometrial ablation patient:
- Cancer of the uterus, cervix, or endometrium
- An existing cervical, uterine, or vaginal infection
- Any form of uterine disorder
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
However, for those whose health and family planning allows it, endometrial ablation can be the answer that finally puts a stop to long, heavy, and painful periods that they have come to dread.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of menorrhagia and believe that this procedure may be useful for you, schedule a consultation with one of Lane’s skilled gynecologists. Our physicians can both confirm your diagnosis and expertly perform any necessary treatments, including endometrial ablation, to help alleviate your bothersome symptoms once and for all.