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18th February 2015

When “that time of the month” becomes a nightmare

I’ve never met a woman who enjoys the inconvenience of her monthly cycle. But for women with menorrhagia, a two-day inconvenience would be a welcome relief. They live with monthly bleeding so severe and prolonged that it leaves them anemic and often unable to leave the house.

There are several approaches to treating menorrhagia. They include drug and hormone therapies and surgery. For a growing number of women whose child-bearing years are in the past, endometrial ablation is a popular alternative.

This procedure involves the destruction of the endometrium, the lining of the uterus. In a medical setting, you take a sedative and the procedure lasts about 45 minutes. There are several different approaches used to destroy the endometrium: burning it, freezing it, electrifying it, and even microwaving it. It sounds a little bit like something out of a horror movie, but most patients experience only minor discomfort. They are sent home shortly after the procedure.

Of the women who undergo endometrial ablation, slightly more than half hit the jackpot. Their periods come to an end. The others experience a significantly reduced flow. But that’s not such a disappointment if menorrhagia has been affecting your work and social life.


As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks. According to the Mayo Clinic, instruments can puncture the uterus, extreme temperatures can damage nearby organs, or infection can set in. These complications are rare. Most women recover without difficulty.

It’s important to point out that women who choose endometrial ablation must be sure they want no more children. They must consistently use birth control after the procedure. Pregnancy after endometrial ablation can be quite dangerous. It is possible to schedule a tubal ligation at the same time and deal with both issues at once.

Endometrial ablation offers relief from the soul-crushing fatigue of severe anemia. The return to normal daily activities can be life-changing. It may not be a day at the spa, but for some women it can be even more rejuvenating.

Get more info from the NHS.

Amy Rogers MD is not a practicing physician and nothing written here should be taken as medical advice from either Amy or This is MedTech. Medical decisions should be made with care in consultation with your health care provider.

You are free to share this article under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license.

Header Photo credit: Fotolia

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