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Uterus ablation is a procedure in which the endometrial lining of the uterus is burned, frozen or otherwise destroyed in an effort to stop excessive bleeding. There are pros and cons to this procedure that must be considered before having a uterus ablation. The pros are that excessive bleeding stops, no hysterectomy is required, and the procedure usually can be performed in an outpatient setting. The cons are that pregnancy is contraindicated after the procedure, there are risks of the bleeding not stopping, and there are risks of burns to the uterus or bowel during the procedure.
The process of uterus ablation is actually endometrial ablation, because it is the endometrial lining of the uterus that is destroyed during the procedure. This procedure is indicated for patients who have extremely heavy periods to the point of anemia from the blood loss. It is considered an alternative to hysterectomy. It is not recommended for patients who want to have children, who have significant cramping, who have uterine cancer or who are postmenopausal. In some of these cases, a hysterectomy might be necessary.
There are many advantages to having a uterus ablation. If heaving bleeding is the only problem, avoiding having a hysterectomy is an enormous advantage of having an ablation. Keeping the uterus and ovaries intact means that the hormonal systems are intact as well. Excessive bleeding is also stopped with the ablation, so the anemia is treated in a definitive way. Finally, the procedure can be done in a doctor's office or same-day surgery center, which makes it very easy on the body compared with the intensive surgery that a hysterectomy would require.
Although uterus ablation is a great alternative to a hysterectomy, there are some disadvantages that one should consider consider before proceeding. Pregnancy is a huge risk after an ablation procedure because any pregnancy can end in a miscarriage or danger to the mother. There must be some other form of birth control in place in addition to ablation, because pregnancy is such a high risk. The dangers of the procedure itself are burns to the uterus and bowel from the mechanism used during endometrial ablation. There also have been reports of the endometrial lining growing back and the bleeding continuing as heavily as before despite the procedure.