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Learn What to Expect After Endometrial Ablation

written by: Jacquelyn Gilchrist • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 2/25/2010

Endometrial ablation is not a major surgical procedure, however all medical procedures carry some potential risks and side effects. Before undergoing this procedure, understand what to expect after endometrial ablation.

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    Definition

    Some women experience abnormally heavy bleeding during menstruation. Or the bleeding may last abnormally long. Endometrial ablation is a procedure that affects the lining of the uterus to treat heavy bleeding. In many cases, women who have undergone endometrial ablation no longer experience menstrual bleeding. Other patients may still bleed, but the amount of blood shed is reduced to a more normal level. Before considering endometrial ablation, you may choose to discuss medication options with your doctor.

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    Ideal Candidates

    Not all women are good candidates for endometrial ablation. Women who are past menopause should not undergo the procedure. Women who have had a recent pregnancy or who are planning to become pregnant again should also not consider the procedure. Additional conditions that will prevent a woman from undergoing endometrial ablation include cancer of the uterus, recent or current infection of the uterus, endometrial hyperplasia, or any disorder of the endometrium or uterus.

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    Initial Recovery

    Endometrial ablation may be performed as an outpatient basis, as it is a relatively simple procedure. Your doctor will not need to make any incisions. You will be able to go home on that same day. Sometimes, your doctor may be able to perform the procedure right in the clinic. You may need about two hours to recover before leaving, depending on the type of pain medication you choose to use. Before deciding on the type of pain medication, discuss any medication allergies with your doctor, as well as any other medications you are taking.

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    Side Effects

    What to expect after endometrial ablation may include some possible side effects. You may have cramping for one to two days. It may feel similar to menstrual cramps. You may also experience nausea, as well as frequent urination for the following day. You may notice a watery, thin discharge that may be mixed with blood. This discharge can be heavy for the first two to three days following the procedure. It may then appear less frequently for the next few weeks.

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    Activities

    You should be able to return to work within a couple of days. Your doctor can provide advice about when you will be able to engage in sexual intercourse or use tampons. You may also need to wait for a while before exercising.

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    Risks

    What to expect after endometrial ablation may also include certain risks. Not all women will experience complications from this procedure, however some women may contract an infection. Other risks include bleeding. Occasionally, depending on the procedure, a woman may experience burns to the bowel, vagina, and vulva. Another possible complication is that the device used for the procedure may penetrate the uterine wall or the bowel.

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    Pregnancy

    You should only consider endometrial ablation if you are not planning on becoming pregnant. It is possible to become pregnant after this procedure, however this is rare. Pregnancies following endometrial ablation carry a much higher risk of miscarriage and other complications. Use a reliable method of birth control after this procedure to avoid any pregnancy complications.

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