Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor. This blog is simply a description of my personal experience with this procedure and my understanding of this procedure. If you have further questions, please do your research and speak to a medical professional.
What is Uterine Ablation?
Uterine ablation is basically where the doctor inserts a mesh into your uterus and burns (destroys) the inner lining of the uterus and its blood supply. By doing this, they can stop or significantly reduce the bleeding during your menstrual cycle. It is not for women who plan on having more children. It is not reversible.
So, this is going to be TMI (Too Much Information), I’m sure, but for the sake of full disclosure, I’m going to explain what lead me to go to the OB/GYN. I am 39 years old, and I had a tubal ligation (got my tubes tied) back in 2013 after my fourth child. Recently, my monthly menstrual cycles had been acting weird. I chalked it up to old age, early menopause, who knows. It started with me developing all the symptoms of a menstrual cycle. I would be emotional, would have cramping, bloating, headaches, general overall feeling bad. All of the things that would occur during a typical cycle, but instead, I would just have spotting. For a whole week, it was a sputter. Then suddenly, a heavy flow would start, usually at the worst times. It was so bad that I started wearing a tampon and pad during work so I wouldn’t bleed through onto my clothing. I would also have to make frequent trips to the restroom to change these items to prevent the bleed through. Once that passed, I would have spotting again for several days. Ultimately I was on my cycle for well over two weeks every month. On the worst day, I had to run home for a wardrobe change. It was awful. So, I scheduled an appointment with my OB/GYN, and he recommended a Uterine Ablation.
**This is not a procedure for women who are planning on having more children. It is not reversible**
I had to register at the hospital a couple of days before for the pre-op procedure. They took urine and drew blood to make sure I was okay and ready for the big day. Before the uterine ablation, I needed to be NPO (which means I couldn’t take anything by mouth) after midnight. Being NPO is required when you will be placed under general anesthesia to prevent food or fluid from your stomach from coming up and going down into your air pipe while they are working on you. I had to wash my body with a disinfectant shampoo. I did this once the night before and again in the morning before my procedure. Your body has natural bacteria that live on your skin. This bacteria is usually harmless, but if you get a wound, that provides an opportunity for this bacteria to enter your body and cause trouble. So by washing with the disinfectant they give you, it helps to further reduce the chance of infection by eliminating some of these bacteria.
I checked in at the front desk and waited until they called me back. Once I was in the pre/post-surgical area, I placed all my clothing and items in a bag, put on a hospital gown, and the nurse started an IV. An IV is a plastic-type catheter that is inserted into a vein using a needle. It is usually then hooked up to some kind of IV fluid. The IV allows the medical staff to have direct access to your vein. Should an emergency occur, the IV gives the medical staff a portal to quickly and effectively provide you with medicine if needed.
Again, to further prevent the risk of infection, I was given some IV antibiotics before the procedure.
They wheeled me to the operating room on the bed that I was on. Once I was in the operating room, everything went quickly. I moved over to the operating table with the nurse’s direction and help, the anesthesiologist was talking to me, and the next thing you know, I was waking up, and the procedure was finished. I’m not sure exactly how long it took but for me, it was no more than a moment.
Day of the procedure:
Immediately, once I opened my eyes, I could feel a weight in my lower abdomen. As I pulled further out of the anesthesia, the weight turned more and more into a raw pain. The pain felt like a contraction, complete with the pressure in the rectal area. Only, this contraction didn’t ease up. It became intense enough that I became nauseated. My nurse gave me some pain and nausea medication. This helped reduce the pain, but it didn’t completely take it away, and I just couldn’t get comfortable. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst pain, my pain level never dropped below a seven while I was at the hospital.
The doctor’s office called in some pain medication to my local pharmacy, and I left the hospital still feeling uncomfortable. It wasn’t until I got home and was able to lay in my bed and take a pain pill that the pain finally started to ease enough for me to rest. There wasn’t much discharge or spotting this day.
2nd Day after the procedure:
I was pretty sore, able to move around and do things, but my uterus felt heavy, and the whole southern area just felt open. I took a couple of pain pills that day to take the edge off of the discomfort. For the most part, the pain wasn’t too intense. There was some light blood-tinged discharge, so I wore a panty liner.
3rd Day after the procedure:
I was pretty much back to normal by this day. The blood-tinged discharge lasted a couple more days, but it eventually stopped.
By the time I went for my one-week post-op check-up, I no longer had discharge and felt normal. The doctor informed me that it would be about six weeks before we would know for sure if my menstrual cycles would completely stop or just be light spotting.
If I had to do it again, I would get it done. From what I understand, the bleeding would have just worsened over time. I could have ended up with other health issues such as anemia because of the excess bleeding. And really, who wants to be on their cycle for 2-3 weeks at a time. I discovered later that my mother had a similar issue when she was young and had started going into early menopause around her mid-thirties. Back then, uterine ablation wasn’t a thing, so the solution was to remove her uterus. I’m lucky that technology has advanced enough for this to be an alternative in my situation.
That being said, no two bodies are the same, and my situation may be very different from yours. Please, be sure to consult with a medical professional to determine what is the best solution for you.
May you have health and happiness!
Uterus: Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
Doctor in scrubs: Photo by Thirdman from Pexels
Medical Staff: Photo by (Naben Copoknh) from Pexels