When menstrual bleeding occurs for more than seven days or when a person might have to change their menstrual product after less than two hours, it might be clinically called heavy menstrual bleeding or menorrhagia. The condition can be challenging and can affect one's quality of life. When the periods are heavy and prolonged or if there might be bleeding in between, it creates discomfort and can lead to blood loss or conditions like anaemia.
In some cases, a doctor might prescribe endometrial ablation, a procedure in which a thin layer of the tissue endometrium is removed. This tissue lines the uterus or the womb and during the menstrual phase, it is this tissue that is shed alongside the unfertilized egg. However, not everyone is eligible for the procedure, especially those who might be planning for pregnancy in the future.
What happens during the process?
Heavy menstrual bleeding can occur for many reasons. It could be due to abnormal tissue growth such as fibroids, polyps and even cancer of the endometrium or uterus. The reason why the procedure might be recommended to some people is to reduce menstrual bleeding, especially in conditions where it might be leading to significant loss of blood. Also, for some women, the removal of the thin lining can lessen the bleeding and discomfort.
This procedure is not suitable for women with cancer and other conditions. Hence, a healthcare provider might first check for cancerous cells before going ahead with the procedure.
There are many ways of conducting the procedure. Sometimes a hot fluid can be pumped into the uterus that might destroy the lining. High-energy radio waves, microwaves, or electricity can also be used for the same. A technique called cryoablation can also be used in which a thin probe with a freezing tip destroys the lining of the uterus.
Endometrial ablation and pregnancy
The endometrial lining of the uterus is where the fertilized egg gets implanted after conception. So, thinning of this lining or removal might affect pregnancy. Even if the person is able to conceive successfully, the possibility of a miscarriage remains high. Studies are also being conducted on carrying out partial endometrial ablation that won't lead to the complete removal of the lining. However, currently, this procedure is not advisable for people who might be planning for pregnancy in the future. There are a few other conditions that might make this procedure unsuitable-