Getting an endometrial ablation is something I’ve been thinking about doing for years, even before I was diagnosed with anemia and iron deficiency as a result of heavy periods. Endometrial ablation is a surgical procedure that is used to remove or destroy the endometrial lining of the uterus. The goal of the procedure is to decrease the amount of blood loss during menstrual periods.
I have heavy periods. I mean real heavy. I will spare you the details, but it’s not surprising I’m anemic. While it’s an inconvenience for exercising, wearing white jeans in the summer, sleeping through the night without leaking, traveling, and too many times being at the soccer field and realizing I forgot to bring a tampon, it also started to have a real impact on my health.
I was fatigued and tired a lot. My energy was zapped during my cycle and after, and I just felt downright awful. When I learned it was because of the anemia and iron deficiency, and I was going through more than a box of tampons during my cycle, I took it more seriously to find help.
Two years ago, I first went to speak to my gynecologist. He recommended an endometrial ablation. It sounded like the perfect solution, though not guaranteed to stop the bleeding altogether. There was a chance I could still get periods, and they could still be heavy, or they would be much lighter. It was worth a chance!
The first and required step was an endometrial biopsy which is used to screen for abnormal cells in the uterus. I would be lying if I said this was not painful. I think I have a high pain tolerance and have had two c-sections, but, wow! It was sort of excruciating for about a minute. My doctor did warn me and told me to take some Tylenol before I came, but I had forgotten. Once he was done, the pain was gone so at least it was quick. I scheduled my surgery on my way out of the office, and I was all set!
I made the mistake of joining a group on Facebook with other women who had the procedure done. I saw a lot of chatter about the procedure and it not working for many women, who then opted for a hysterectomy. Welp, that was enough to scare me off for over a year. I was ready to suffer through heavy periods before going that route.
Over a year went by, and I started having second thoughts and stopped following that Facebook group. I expressed my concerns to the gynecologist that I didn’t want to have a hysterectomy if it failed. He said I didn’t “have” to have one if I didn’t want to. I would just still have heavy periods to deal with. For some reason, I thought it was a medical necessity, so that made me feel better, and again I scheduled my surgery.
The doctor called a few days later and said because it had been over a year since I had the last biopsy, I had to do it again or insurance wouldn’t cover my procedure. Nooooooooooooooo! I knew how much pain I was in for (albeit a minute) and I again put it off a few more months — surgery canceled!
In January, I finally did it and I know many others are on the fence like I was so I hope by sharing my journey, you can make the best decision for your body.
Part II of this blog will talk about the procedure itself and the results — now six months post-op.