Menstruation is a physiological process in women where the inner lining of the uterus, also referred to as endometrium, is shed and replaced with a new one. This is a monthly cycle seen in women, till a woman attains menopause. Some women tend to experience a heavy flow, sometimes accompanied by extreme pain and discomfort. To address this issue, endometrial ablation was developed. This surgery reduces the excessive menstrual flow and also reduces the pain. However, there are some risk factors related to this process, since not all women may qualify for the ablation.
Endometrial Ablation: A Brief Overview
Some women often complain of heavy menstrual flow during their period, a condition known as menorrhagia. A heavy period brings with it a number of health issues like anemia, severe pain and nausea induced vomiting. To avoid these problems, earlier women were suggested to undergo a hysterectomy, a surgery where the womb is removed. Once a woman has undergone a hysterectomy, she will stop getting her monthly period altogether.
However, there were a few complications in undergoing this surgery. Hence, with the advancement of medical technology, endometrial ablation has come into existence. In this procedure, the endometrium (or uterine lining) is destroyed using tools that inject cold or heated fluids, high-energy radio frequencies and microwave energy. In this out patient procedure there are no incisions since the tools are introduced into the body through the cervix. Though the success rate is high, in some cases, women have experienced endometrial ablation side effects. This is because the body is unable to adjust to the new change and it may also react to the chemicals.
Side Effects of Endometrial Ablation
There are a few risks of undergoing endometrial ablation, as with any medical process. Though this procedure is performed to alleviate the problems caused due to heavy menstruation, women have experienced pain and discomfort, in some cases, post this surgical process. Mentioned below are a few negative effects on the body of undergoing endometrial ablation.
- Severe abdominal cramping is often observed as a common side effect after ablation. This is because the overall structure of the inner wall of the uterus is disturbed. The cervix is also dilated to reduce blood flow. Weakening of the uterine wall can increase the intensity of cramps and spasms followed by pain, similar to the ones experienced during a menstrual cycle.
- Some women also experience unwanted weight gain, especially around the waist region, as one of the side effects of endometrial ablation. The hormonal levels are altered due to this procedure which may cause the hormones to suffer a spike, resulting in weight gain.
- Women are also susceptible to infection and inflammation of the uterine wall, as a result of continuous pressure applied to the walls while administering microwave energy or high-energy radio frequencies. The walls of the uterus may also suffer from perforations due to this mode of treatment.
- There are also chances of damage to the nearby organs in the abdominal region due to the application of extremely cold or heated fluids. Organ damage can lead to further complications which may disrupt the normal functioning of the body and also prove to be life-threatening in some instances.
- Other problems related to endometrial ablation include blood tinged vaginal discharge, nausea induced vomiting, frequent urination, feeling lethargic or fatigued all the time etc. Potential risk factors of a uterine ablation may also be seen as development of scar tissue, puncturing nearby organs, burns and electrolyte imbalance etc.