It’s estimated that about one-third of all women seek help for heavy menstrual bleeding. Some find relief with medication, but when necessary, endometrial ablation is an effective treatment. Dr. Anna Le and the team at Annandale Ob-Gyn offer expert help for heavy bleeding, safely performing endometrial ablation in the office, so you don’t have to worry about going to the hospital. If you have any questions, call one of their offices in Annandale or Alexandria, Virginia, or book an appointment online.
What is heavy menstrual bleeding?
If you’re like many women, you’re not sure when menstrual bleeding is heavy enough to justify seeing your doctor at Annandale Ob-Gyn & Primary Care. If you have any of the following, your bleeding is abnormally heavy:
- Bleeding that lasts more than seven to eight days
- Bleeding soaks through a tampon or pad every hour
- Need to wear more than one pad at a time
- Have to change pads or tampons during the night
- Pass blood clots that are the size of a quarter or larger
What causes heavy menstrual bleeding?
You can develop heavy menstrual bleeding from many underlying gynecological conditions, such as:
- Uterine fibroids: benign growths of muscle in uterine wall
- Uterine polyps: growths on uterine lining
- Endometriosis: uterine tissues grow outside the uterus
- Adenomyosis: uterine lining found within the wall of the uterus
- Irregular ovulation: often caused by polycystic ovary syndrome or hypothyroidism
- Gynecological cancer: heavy bleeding is an early sign of endometrial cancer
Other causes of heavy menstrual bleeding include leukemia and disorders where blood doesn’t clot the way it’s supposed to. A miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy may cause bleeding as well.
How is heavy menstrual bleeding treated?
Your doctor at Annandale Ob-Gyn & Primary Care may initially recommend hormones or other medications that help stop heavy bleeding. When medication isn’t effective, endometrial ablation is usually the next treatment considered.
What is endometrial ablation?
Endometrial ablation is a procedure in which a thin layer of the tissue that lines your uterus is removed. The uterine lining, called the endometrium, is a rich source of blood vessels that thicken to support a fertilized egg, then shed to produce your menstrual period, if you don’t become pregnant. When the top layers of the endometrium are destroyed, bleeding is reduced or stops entirely.
How is endometrial ablation performed?
Endometrial ablation can be done in the office using specialized instruments that are inserted through your cervix and into the uterus. Several techniques are used to remove the endometrium, including:
A probe sends radiofrequency energy into the uterine lining, which heats and quickly vaporizes the tissues. Gentle suction is used to remove the treated tissues.
Guided by ultrasound, a small probe freezes the uterine lining. Several freezing cycles may be needed to remove endometrial tissues in layers.
A balloon-type device is placed in your uterus, then filled with heated fluid until it expands and touches the uterine lining. After about 10 minutes, the heat destroys the uterine lining.