What is Endometrial Ablation?

Endometrial ablation is an outpatient, nonsurgical procedure used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding in women who do not plan to have children after the procedure. During endometrial ablation, the lining of the uterus, the endometrium, is removed. In some cases, your physician will use a hysteroscope, which allows him or her to see inside the uterus during the procedure. Your physician will insert small tools into your vagina and will use one of the following methods to remove the endometrium:

  • Electricity
  • Fluids
  • Balloon therapy
  • High-energy radio waves
  • Cold (cryoablation)
  • Microwaves (microwave ablation)

The specialists throughout Northwestern Medicine offer a comprehensive array of medical and surgical treatments and are dedicated to working closely with the patient to determine the most appropriate approach for her condition. As clinical and academic leaders, our specialists remain at the forefront of surgical innovation and are able to offer the most advanced surgical techniques and technologies. Our comprehensive (and growing) list of treatment options is a commitment to providing innovative and exemplary care to our patients.

Who is a candidate for endometrial ablation?

You may be a candidate for endometrial ablation if you have:

  • Heavy periods (requiring you to change your tampon or pad each hour)
  • Excessively long periods (lasting more than seven days)
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Anemia from excessive vaginal bleeding

Because the procedure removes the endometrial lining required to nourish a fetus during pregnancy, it may be difficult for you to become pregnant after the procedure.

What causes abnormal menstrual bleeding?

There are several factors that may increase your risk of heavy menstrual bleeding:

  • Hormone issues (particularly if you are in or near menopause)
  • Polyps
  • Fibroids
  • Endometrial or uterine cancer

Through our work with patients as well as available research, we understand that gynecologic conditions and treatments can take an emotional toll on individuals, couples and families. These conditions and treatments may also interfere with relationships, work, future family building and one’s self esteem. Because of the emotional toll of pelvic pain, bleeding and treatments for gynecologic conditions, our faculty includes a PhD clinical psychologist that can help you cope with the emotional toll treatment can cause on you, your spouse and other members of your family.

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    Related Resources

    Learn more about what to expect during an endometrial ablation procedure.

    Northwestern Medicine Endometriosis Program Guide