This page will give you information about an endometrial ablation. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.
What is an endometrial ablation?
An endometrial ablation is an operation to remove the lining of your uterus (womb).
What are the benefits of surgery?
Most women have a noticeable reduction in their periods and, for some women, periods stop altogether.
An endometrial ablation has fewer complications and a quicker recovery time than a hysterectomy.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
Heavy periods can be treated using a variety of oral medications, or an IUD (intra-uterine device).
What does the operation involve?
The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes about 30 minutes.
Your gynaecologist will pass a hysteroscope (telescope) through your vagina, across your cervix into your womb. They will pass fluid through the telescope to swell your womb (see figure 1).
They will use electricity or laser energy to remove the lining of your womb and any polyps or small fibroids they find.
What complications can happen?
1 General complications
- Feeling or being sick
- Bleeding or discharge
- Blood clots
2 Specific complications
- Bleeding during the operation
- Fluid overload
- Making a hole in your womb
- Failed procedure
- Blood and fluid collecting in your fallopian tubes
- Continued bleeding or pain
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home the same day.
You should be able to return to normal activities after two to four days. Most women are fit for work after about a week.
You should expect to have some bleeding or discharge for up to four weeks.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
The operation is not recommended for women who still want children. However, even if your periods stop, there is still a risk of becoming pregnant.
An endometrial ablation is a common gynaecological operation. It helps relieve the symptoms of heavy periods. You should get less bleeding and pain.
Author: Mr Jeremy Hawe MBChB MRCOG
Illustrations: Hannah Ravenscroft RM
This page is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.