What is Endometrial Ablation?
The deliberate surgical destruction of the uterus lining is called as endometrial ablation. It is a relatively straightforward procedure that may need to be done for a number of different reasons. The most common cause for undergoing an endometrial ablation is abnormal bleeding from the uterus due to non-cancerous causes.
Since endometrial ablation is limited to the removal of only the endometrial lining, it is not useful in suspected cancer cases where the cancer cells may have spread deeper into the body. The chances getting pregnant reduce drastically after getting an endometrial ablation so it is usually not done in younger women or those looking to get pregnant.
Endometrial ablation can be performed with the help of laser, cryotherapy or electrosurgery or the conventional manner depending upon a number of factors including the preference of the surgeon, the age of the patient, economic limitations etc.
Risks and Complications of Endometrial Ablation
Even though this procedure is considered relatively straightforward, like any other surgical procedure, there are some risks involved.
There could be an unintended perforation of the uterus, the cervical opening could get damaged or there could be an infection, bleeding, and injury to the nearby structures as the surgery is being performed. It is also very difficult to know if the entire layer of the endometrium has been removed and this is why almost 30% of the women will have a regrowth of this lining and a possible return of the symptoms within 5 years.
Short term complication may include some cramping, nausea and the urge to urinate frequently.
Post ablation syndrome
This appearance of severe pain in the pelvis, severe cramping, and intermittent vaginal bleeding has been referred to as post ablation syndrome. The most likely cause for this to occur is thought to be the presence of entrapped tissue or scarring that has occurred during the ablation procedure.
Women have a history of fibroid or polyp growth are much more likely to suffer from a re-growth of the endometrial lining and thus suffer from the symptoms associated with post ablation syndrome.
In a study conducted on women who had undergone endometrial ablation as well as tubal ligation, the following findings came to light. All of these women underwent hysteroscopy and laparoscopy to try and determine the cause behind their symptoms and it was found that there was definite endometrial scarring that had occurred. The fallopian tubes of the affected women were also found to have swollen up.
The symptoms associated with this syndrome could also be associated with the occurrence of an ectopic pregnancy.
The treatment of symptoms for post ablation syndromes can range the use of birth control pills to stop the cycle completely, a hysterectomy or even a salpingectomy (the removal of a fallopian tube).
Many people suffering from post-ablation syndrome will choose to undergo these additional procedures to relieve themselves of the symptoms because they can severely affect the quality of life of the affected person.
Make sure that you spend time with your health care provider about the short term and long term risks of undergoing an endometrial ablation before you decide to get it done.
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