Endometrial Ablation

Endometrial ablation is a safe, proven procedure for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding otherwise known as menorrhagia. Prior to endometrial ablation, the only surgical method available to treat heavy periods in women who had not responded to – or didn’t wish to utilize – other medical treatment was hysterectomy, which is major surgery requiring 2 to 4 days in hospital and up to six weeks recovery. Endometrial ablation is an outpatient procedure and recovery is usually less than 3 to 4 days.

Studies of women undergoing endometrial ablation show that 5 years following the procedure about 75% are satisfied with the results (approximately half of those have no menstrual bleeding at all and half have light periods).

Endometrial ablation uses any one of a number of techniques to destroy the endometrium, which is the 4-5 mm thick layer of tissue that lines the uterus. This is the tissue that grows and is shed each month resulting in menstrual bleeding.

The rest of the uterus is composed of thick muscle (the myometrium) and does not contribute to menstrual bleeding. Female hormones are produced by the ovaries, which are well away from the endometrium. Thus, endometrial ablation affects only menstrual bleeding and does not affect hormones or put a woman into menopause.

Women who undergo endometrial ablation are very unlikely to be able to get pregnant following the procedure. Therefore, this is not a procedure for women who want more children. At the same time, endometrial ablation is not a contraceptive method and women who get pregnant after an endometrial ablation (the risk is about 1% if contraception is not used) have very high-risk pregnancies. Therefore, some form of contraception is necessary following endometrial ablation in women who are sexually active.

Risks and Complications of Endometrial Ablation

Risks and complications with endometrial ablation are very rare but could include:

  • pelvic cramping
  • nausea and vomiting
  • infection
  • perforation of the uterus
  • thermal injury to other tissues

Women who should not undergo endometrial ablation are those who:

  • desire future pregnancies or may currently be pregnant
  • have an active genital or urinary tract infection
  • have a history of gynecologic cancer within the last 5 years

Dr. Allan has performed thousands of endometrial ablations using several different techniques. He is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Calgary and has been active in investigating and researching new techniques. He is the co-author of a published study evaluating the long-term success of endometrial ablation.

*Results may vary from person to person. We encourage you to come in for a consultation for specific advice.