From the time girls starts to menstruate and up until the time they reach menopause, many women have a love/hate relationship with their menstrual period.
On the one hand, it’s a wonderful monthly reminder that a woman’s body has the amazing capability to bring a new life into the world.
But for some women, this amazing blessing seems a little less miraculous when it comes in the form of heavy bleeding, month after month after month. If you’re among the estimated 10 million American women who suffer from heavy bleeding, aka menorrhagia, you know all too well how it can take a toll on your quality of life.
The good news is that effective treatment options are available, including a procedure called endometrial ablation. Our OB/GYN, Dr. Brandon Lingenfelter, provides his insights on endometrial ablation and who can benefit from it.
Treatments for heavy bleeding
Common symptoms of heavy bleeding include soaking through tampons or pads on an hourly basis, having periods that last more than a week, or suffering from anemia or fatigue as a result of your period.
The first-line treatment options for this condition are birth control pills or a hormonal intrauterine device, which may lessen or stop menstrual flow. Previously, if that didn’t work, your doctor generally turned to surgical options like dilation and curettage (D&C) or a hysteroscopy.
But that all changed in 2015 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved endometrial ablation. Since then this minimally invasive procedure has helped more than 50,000 women suffering from heavy bleeding. Endometrial ablation addresses heavy bleeding by using a heat source to treat the root of the problem – the lining of the uterus, also known as the endometrium.
If you’re experiencing heavy or lengthy periods, anemia, or severe fatigue around your periods, endometrial ablation may be a solution for you. However, the treatment is for women who have completed their families, so if you plan on having more children, it’s not appropriate.
What happens during endometrial ablation treatment
At our practice we perform the procedure right in our office using the Minerva® ablation system. The treatment takes less than five minutes.
First, we administer a local anesthetic to numb and dilate the cervix. Then we insert a slender wand into the vaginal opening until it reaches the uterus. The tip of the wand holds the heat source, which treats the uterine lining.
You can go right home after your endometrial ablation treatment. You may experience some mild cramping and discharge afterward. Most women choose to take it easy for a day and then resume normal daily activities.
The best part is that about 72% of all women who get this one-and-done hormone-free treatment experience no menstrual bleeding after their endometrial ablation procedure.
If your childbearing years are in the rearview mirror, and you suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding, endometrial ablation may be right for you. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Lingenfelter by using the online booking tool here on the website, or call our office in Princeton, West Virginia.