Let’s say your cycles have always been regular. They’ve occurred about once a month, lasted 5 or 6 days, stopping only when you were pregnant. Now, for some reason, they’ve started to become less predictable – they come anywhere from twice a month to once every couple of months, lasting anywhere from 7 to 14 days each time. Your doctor recommended birth control to regulate them, but you’re not thrilled with the idea of putting synthetic medication in your body, especially ones with so many potential side effects. So what can you do?
For years, doctors have performed endometrial ablation procedures to help “stem the tide” of irregular and/or heavy periods. Essentially, what these procedures do is cauterize, or “burn”, the lining of the uterus so it doesn’t bleed (or at least, doesn’t bleed as much). Though ablations have been performed for decades, the last 10 years have seen a tremendous advancement in the technology used to achieve lighter, more manageable periods. With improved technology has come better results as well. Briefly, the most popular options include:
Electrical cautery (Novasure)
Heated fluid-filled balloon (Thermachoice)
Heated free-flowing fluid (Hydrothermablation)
All of these procedures are done on an outpatient basis (go home the same day), have minimal discomfort associated with them (which means they require minimal anesthesia), and a short recovery time (usually 1 day or less). If this sounds like something you might want, a brief consultation with your gynecologist can determine whether you are a candidate for these procedures.