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Endometrial Ablation

Endometrial ablation is an outpatient surgery that can reduce or stop heavy menstrual bleeding. Ablation destroys the lining of the uterus. This surgery is for women who do not want to have any more children and who have not yet entered menopause. It should not be used by women with endometrial hyperplasia or cancer of the uterus.  Treatment takes less than an hour, and you can go home later that day.

Preparing for surgery

  • You may be given medicine by mouth or injection for a few weeks or months before your ablation. This thins the lining of the uterus and reduces bleeding.

  • Your health care provider may recommend other procedures to check the inside of your uterus before the ablation is done. 

  • The day before surgery, you may be given medicine or a special substance (laminaria) may be put into your cervix (the opening to the uterus). This widens the opening.

  • To help prevent problems with anesthesia, do not eat or drink anything 10 hours before surgery.

View of lining

Image of surgery
Destroying the lining with heat, freezing, or electric current prevents the lining from growing back.

Your surgery

  • You’ll be given anesthesia so you stay comfortable and relaxed and feel no pain during surgery.

  • Then, your uterus may be filled with fluid. This puts pressure on the lining to help reduce bleeding. It also allows your health care provider to see inside your uterus.

  • Next your health care provider puts a small telescope-like instrument through the cervix. This scope may be connected to a video monitor. This helps your health care provider see and control the ablation process. At the end of the scope, a device using heat, freezing, or electric current destroys the uterine lining. Instead of the scope, your health care provider may use a device that both expands and destroys the uterine lining. After being inserted into your uterus, it also uses heat or other energy to destroy the lining. Your health care provider will choose the device that’s best for you.

Call your health care provider if you have any of the following after surgery:

  • Persistent or increased abdominal pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding

  • Fever over 100.4°F (38°C) or chills

  • Nausea

  • Frequent urination for 24 hours

Your recovery

  • You may have cramping or aching in your abdomen after surgery. Your health care provider can give you pain medicine.

  • You may also have a bloody or watery discharge or bleeding for days or weeks. Use sanitary pads, not tampons.

  • Don’t have sexual intercourse or play active sports for 2 weeks after surgery.

  • You can likely return to work in 2 days.

  • Ask your health care provider about using contraception after an ablation.

  • Your health care provider will see you in about 6 weeks to be sure you’re healing well.

Online Source: Endometrial Ablation, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists <a href="" target="_blank"></a>
Online Editor: Geller, Arlene
Online Medical Reviewer: Bowers, Nancy, RN, BSN, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Sacks, Daniel, MD, FACOG
Date Last Reviewed: 5/10/2015
Date Last Modified: 6/11/2015
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