What Are the Side Effects of Endometrial Ablation?

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Endometrial ablation is a procedure that removes the inner lining of the uterus, or endometrium. This procedure, which is for women who have heavy menstrual periods that are not able to be controlled with medication, is an option to the complete removal of the uterus. Endometrial ablation carries several risks, including infertility and the chance of damage to the uterus or bowel. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) report that several common, mild side effects may be experienced after the procedure as well.

Abdominal Cramping

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that abdominal cramping is common after endometrial ablation, which is similar to menstrual cramps. During endometrial ablation, the cervix is dilated and the inner lining of the uterus is disturbed, which can cause uterine muscle spasms and cramps. Cramping is generally mild and can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medications.

Severe abdominal pain or cramping, or pain that radiates into the lower back after the procedure may indicate a more serious side effect, however, and should be checked by a physician.

Vaginal Discharge

Some women experience vaginal discharge after endometrial ablation. Discharge may be thin, watery and may contain blood. Discharge can also be heavy up to three days following the procedure and resemble a menstrual period. However, excessive or heavy bleeding beyond two days, the passing of blood clots, or foul-smelling vaginal discharge, are abnormal side effects and warrant medical attention.

Increased Urination

Disruption of the uterus during endometrial ablation can irritate the bladder and cause the urge to urinate more frequently. Some women may feel bladder spasms or have the sensation of being unable to empty the bladder completely. A woman should watch for signs of a urinary tract infection after having endometrial ablation, which include painful urination, bloody urine and lower back pain.

Other Side Effects

Lancaster General Hospital advises that women may experience nausea and vomiting after endometrial ablation, especially if general anesthesia was used. These side effects generally clear up within a few days. Some women may feel fatigued or easily tired after the procedure as well. Women are often instructed to rest and they are put on an activity and lifting restriction for two to three days after the procedure to allow the uterus to heal.

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