Endometrial ablation surgery: FAQ

Written by: Mr Paul Hooper
Edited by: Aoife Maguire

While menstruation is a universal experience for women, not every woman is fully informed about its variations. Factors such as flow intensity vary among individuals; some experience heavier flows, while others have lighter ones. For those grappling with excessively heavy flows causing inconvenience, there's an option called endometrial ablation surgery. Renowned consultant urogynaecologist Mr Paul Hooper offers insights into when this procedure might be suitable for you.



What is endometrial ablation surgery?


Endometrial ablation is a minimally invasive surgery for women whose heavy periods have not improved with first-line treatments like medications or hormonal coils.


What does the procedure involve?


Endometrial ablation is a minimally invasive surgical technique aimed at treating heavy periods. The procedure targets the lining of the womb, which is responsible for heavy menstrual bleeding. By using an energy source, such as heat or microwaves, the lining is thinned and destroyed to prevent heavy periods.


Is endometrial ablation surgery painful?


During and after the surgery, women may experience crampy pain. To minimise this, medication is usually prescribed beforehand. Local anaesthetic is injected into the cervix during the procedure to reduce pain, and adequate pain relief is ensured afterwards. The procedure can be performed either as an outpatient procedure with local anaesthesia or, in some cases, under general anaesthesia.


How long does it take to recover from endometrial ablation surgery?


For women undergoing the procedure with local anaesthesia, they can usually move around shortly afterwards. Once they can empty their bladder, they should be able to go home. Some discomfort, similar to painful period cramps, is expected and typically lasts for a day or two.


Who should not have the surgery?


Endometrial ablation is generally considered for women who have completed their families. If pregnancy occurs after the procedure, it is very high-risk due to the altered blood supply and lining of the womb. Therefore, it is intended only for women who do not plan to have more children and is sometimes combined with sterilisation to minimise this risk. Typically, a hysteroscopy, which involves inserting a camera into the womb, is performed before the procedure to check for any underlying issues, such as large polyps or irregularities, that could affect suitability.


Can periods return after endometrial ablation surgery?


The primary goal of endometrial ablation is to completely stop periods. This is known as the amenorrhea rate. With most modern techniques, this rate typically ranges between 60 to 70%. Approximately 20% of women may experience lighter but regular periods, while another 20% may find the procedure ineffective, leading to continued heavy and irregular periods.




If you would like to book a consultation with Mr Hooper, you can do so by visiting his Top Doctors profile today.

By Mr Paul Hooper
Obstetrics & gynaecology

Mr Paul Hooper is a leading urogynaecologist who sees patients at Spire Nottingham Hospital. He carries out various different types of gynaecological surgeries, and treatment of conditions such as, incontinence, vaginal prolapse, post-birth problems, pelvic pain and menstrual disorders.

He has been in his current consultant post for over 20 years, having established and developed the urogynaecology service at Nottingham University Hospitals. This service was one of the first units in the East Midlands that is accredited by the British Society of Urogynaecologists. This accreditation ensures that the team delivers, develops and maintains standards that are externally assessed.

Mr Hooper's approach to urogynaecology is to work with women to define troublesome symptoms, carry out necessary investigations and to offer suitable treatment options. Mr Hooper values time to explore the benefits and risks of any proposed treatment. Within general gynaecology, he offers a similar symptoms based approach to most gynaecological problems, including pelvic pain and menstrual disorders.

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