Friday, January 4, 2013

Uterine Ablation

I've been holding onto this post for 12 months now, I think it's time (now that I know the outcome) to share it.

I happen to be one of those people who thinks talking about feminine issues demystifies them.  Periods, PMS, menopause, and all that.  Let's face it, more than half the world is female, so why is all this so secret?  The other half of us should love all the females in our lives, so a little information can be helpful to everyone.

I'm also one of those people who is not at all medically inclined, so I'm going to write only of my experience, and you can research this from there.

For years, I had heavy periods.  There was always a day or two of each month when I had to wear a tampon and a pad.  I passed a lot of clots.  About ten years ago, though single, I went on a low dosage birth control pill to control some of the bleeding. It helped some, but I still had a "heavy day" each month.

Two summers ago, I went for my regular check-up with my gynecologist, and it happened to be on my heavy day.  We talked about it, rescheduled my appointment, and she showed some concern that this was, well, a concern.  So I went through some tests.  The two I remember were an internal ultrasound and a blood test to see if I was near menopause.  The former showed nothing of concern, and the latter showed I was seemingly years away from the cessation of my periods.

My gynecologist suggested a hysterectomy.  She said it wasn't medically necessary, she talked about the pros and cons, but she wouldn't tell me what she would do.  (That bugged me, as a woman, she should have an opinion, but she didn't share it.)

I did the math.  Major surgery.  Losing parts. Six weeks off school. Using up all my sick days.  Pain.  I added that up and measured it against maybe four more years of periods--perhaps 48 more heavy days--nearly equal to the days I'd be restricted after surgery.  Since there was no medical reason to go under the knife, I opted to keep those organs.

The next summer, right before my annual check up, my friend AB and I were talking, and she suggested I talk to my (different but still a woman) gynecologist about an ablation.  So I did.  In fact, this doctor brought it up where my other doctor had not.  I researched it, I talked with Brad about it, and I scheduled it.

One year ago, over winter break, I had my outpatient surgery.  I had a uterine ablation.  I went under general anesthesia, and I was home by one o'clock that day.  There was light bleeding for a week or two after, and since then I've only had random spotting once or twice.

No cramps.  No periods. It's been a year.

It was one of the best medical decisions I've made.  I didn't want to write about it right away because I didn't know how things would turn out.  Some women still have their periods after this procedure.  Most don't.  I don't.

This is something worth sharing.  In fact, I've since learned a few friends have had it done.  And this past spring, I mentioned it to my friend Jim whose response was to tell his wife who then had one this summer.

Heavy periods?  Cramps in your forties?  Done having babies?  Extreme fatigue during your periods?  Talk with your doctor.  I'm glad I did.


  1. Earlier this year when we were trying to narrow down what was causing my anemia, my gynecologist and I had this same discussion. (We haven't arrived at a decision yet, just waiting and seeing.) A good friend of mine had an ablation with very similar results to yours.

    I'm glad you had such a good experience. I hope this lets other women know there's no need to a.) go on suffering or b.) jump right into major surgery.

  2. actually an ablation is a very common first step procedure for any woman affected by mennorghia (i am sure i spelled it wrong). most women will either have a doc that goes straight for a hyster or a doc that lets you suffer. an ablation is a great alternative for most women. not every ablation is successful - but if it is, then you have had a minor procedure that is gonna serve you well for a long time. for those that have no relief - robotic hyster's are great. less than 24 hours in our hospital and while you still have a recovery period with no work and lifting - most people feel great and see it as an extended vacay from work.

    i fall into the same category you do. i have hit 40 and my periods have become more heavy and random. i don't have cramping or any other symptoms - but this last cycle after not having one for 5 months or so was horrible. i actually had to miss a day of work because i couldn't keep ahead of the mess. i have had hot flashes - but i have always blamed them on my thyroid, so this was a wake up call to get in touch with my mother lol.

    my mother was an early menopauser - she chose to suffer through her last years instead of having the hyster. i am not very good at the suffering part - so i contacted my nurse practicioner asap and got a script for the pill. i had a tubal almost 17 years ago and only took the pill for about 4 months when i got married - so i have no fear of being over hormoned and being put at a higher risk for clots or cancers. i just plan to pill it away until the end is here - if that doesn't work, i will seek the ablation. and after just over a week of the pill - no more hot flashes. no more wanting to strip naked at work!! it was an all around good decision in the short term - like you, i will see what the long term affects are!

    glad you had great results - amy magan - take care of yourself!!!

  3. Thanks for sharing your story. Something I will keep in mind. I haven't hit 40 but everything else is quite familiar.

  4. I was blessed with short light periods ever since I hit puberty. Even in my 40s things didn't change, I think it's because I've always worked out and have been active. However, I had a couple of friends who were so sick when they had their periods, they almost had stay in bed the whole time. I think it's great that you shared your experience because a lot of women have that same problem :)

  5. Thanks for sharing your story! I had never heard of this procedure and it seems that I should have. I tell hubby (every time "Aunt Flo" shows up for another visit) that there is something very unfair about the fact that my endocrine system never did work right, I never took birth control and only managed to get pregnant 3 times (2 were miscarriages) and yet ... at 54 (next week) I still have my period on a semi-regular basis! I'm almost looking forward to menopause. Though perimenopause has brought enough hot flashes to heat a small town in winter!

  6. As my friends are finishing having babies, I have a few that have opted to do this as well. I'm not ready yet, but its in the back of my mind, as my periods are starting to get shorter, but heavier and I'm not interested in BCPs...did that for years.

  7. I have appreciated your comments thus far and have answered those I could privately. It's simply important to know of this procedure for yourself or for other women. I am not endorsing it as a be all to end all, but had I done it a bit earlier, lots of discomfort could have been avoided. It is perplexing to me to have heard of it from my friend before my MD, and more perplexing is that my MD suggested major unnecessary surgery first.

    As much as we are the same, our bodies are all different. So the more we know...

  8. thats good to know. my periods are the exact same way, so i'll have to remeber this for the future

  9. I'm so glad to read this post! You know I'm done having so done. I have a Mirena IUD right now and Matt is still whining and pale at the thought of a vasectomy. I've heard of Uterine Ablation before but didn't really understand it. I'm going to research this further since I'd like to keep all my parts too!


I'd like to be humble and say I only blog to record the doings of my life, but really, I blog for conversation, and I would love to hear from you. It's okay if you don't agree with me, that's what makes life interesting.