Parting with Periods: June 9, 2013

For decades, hormone pills or a hysterectomy were standard treatments for excessive menstrual bleeding. Now there is a less invasive procedure that is helping women put an end to their periods.

“Endometrial ablation is an excellent, low risk office procedure that can be done to eliminate the majority of those symptoms in patients,” says Dr. Edward Halpren, OB/GYN on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.

Less traumatic than surgery, endometrial ablation destroys a thin layer of the uterus, which stops or greatly reduces a woman’s menstrual flow. Here’s how it works:

“We use a radio frequency probe which takes about 90 seconds. The patients sometimes do it under local anesthesia, meaning they get an injection, so they’re numb. The instrument is placed into the uterus and the electrical current is used that removes the endometrio,” says Dr. Halpren.

For women who are ready to part with their periods, this is an option. But endometrial ablation is not for someone who wants to have children. The procedure permanently destroys the uterine lining, making them infertile.
“This is not a sterilization procedure, but the uterus can no longer carry a pregnancy,” says Dr. Halpren.

However, the ablation technique may ‘deliver’ a welcome bonus.

“Patients that have good results from endometrial ablation may have some decrease in subjective symptoms like migraines, PMS. But we don’t do it for that reason,” says Dr. Halpren.

A minimally invasive treatment, endometrial ablation is giving many women, maximum relief.