If you read my first blog about my endometrial ablation journey, then you’re probably wondering how it went. Let’s start with the procedure itself.
Endometrial ablation is a surgery that destroys the lining of the uterus. The goal of the surgery is to reduce how much you bleed during periods. In some people, menstrual flow may stop completely. I think my doctor told me about 30% of women will experience no bleeding at all and a larger percentage of women will notice a significant decrease in bleeding. There is also a smaller chance it won’t have any impact, and you’ll still experience your full-blown period, in which case a hysterectomy may be needed.
On the day of your surgery, you can’t eat — much like any other surgery because there is anesthesia involved. It’s a very light twilight but it’s still enough so you don’t feel or remember a thing. In my case, the doctor performed the ablation in his office which was nice not having to go to a hospital. I entered a room I’d never noticed in the office before, and it was set up with all the equipment the team needed.
There are no cuts or incisions for the procedure. Your cervix may be dilated to allow more room for the tools — I honestly have no idea if I was dilated or not. There are a few different ways to remove the endometrium:
- Cryotherapy ablation: A probe is inserted inside the uterus and the extremely cold tip freezes the lining in sections, ultimately destroying it all. Each freeze section can take about six minutes, all dependent on the shape and size of your uterus.
- My doctor performed a hydrothermal ablation where piping hot fluid is inserted into the uterus for about 10 minutes, which destroys the lining. Easy peasy.
- Radiofrequency ablation: A special instrument opens a flexible, triangular device inside the uterus and sends out energy that destroys the lining in one to two minutes.
- Microwave ablation: A device is inserted into the uterus and applies microwave energy to the uterine lining to destroy it.
I was all prepped and ready to go, listening to my doctor talk about his upcoming vacation, and the next thing you know, I was in La La Land. I woke up in the recovery room after what seemed like five minutes but was probably closer to 20–25 minutes. I was wheeled out in a wheelchair, not because of pain, but because you are a little wobbly from the anesthesia.
Recovering after surgery
I went home, took some Advil, and had a nice nap. I woke up with slight cramping, which is normal. This lasted only a day or two. Vaginal discharge is also normal and can occur for a few weeks. I probably experienced it and wore a pad for about two weeks. It was never heavy discharge but it was a little bloody. Some people may experience frequent urination in the first 24 hours, but I didn’t. The whole thing was pretty uneventful, thankfully.
One thing I didn’t know until I was leaving was the limitation on exercise for a good month. I guess everything needs to heal and jumping around or motion in that part of your body is no bueno. So, that was the hardest part for me.
My life-changing results
I’m now six months post-op and am enjoying the lightest periods I’ve had since I was a teenager. I’m mad at myself for waiting so long to do this.
When I say the endometrial ablation has been life-changing, I REALLY mean it’s been life-changing! Every month since surgery gets lighter. Before, I’d have to grab a huge pile of tampons and keep some in my car, my purse, my work bag, my gym bag — I couldn’t be without one nearby. Now, I forget to bring a tampon and most of the time don’t need one. Last month, I used maybe 4–5 tampons throughout my entire cycle. And no more getting up in the middle of the night multiple times because I’ve bled through my underwear, again.
My doctor is very happy with my results — not as happy as me, though! He said the procedure can last up to 10 years which should take me through menopause, so here’s hoping I’m nearing my final days of periods, forever.