Hydrothermal Ablation Explained

Published on: February 13, 2014

Menstrual periods are rarely comfortable or convenient, but when they’re accompanied by abnormally heavy bleeding or last longer than normal, it may be necessary to seek medical attention. This condition, known as menorrhagia, can be disruptive to your daily life and may lead to anemia over prolonged periods. Advances in gynecological treatment, particularly in the field of endometrial ablation, may be the best possible solution.

What is Hydrothermal Ablation?

There are several different types of ablation, each of which takes different steps to achieve the same end result: permanent removal of the uterine lining.

Hydrothermal ablation, which is one of the more common procedures, destroys the endometrial lining through the use of heated fluid. The use of heated saline is a safer and far less invasive alternative to hysterectomy, which was the preferred course of treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding in years past. It’s also a more effective option for women with small, enlarged or differently-shaped uterine cavities, as the heated saline can flow through the uterus where balloons and other ablation methods may prove difficult.

Is Hydrothermal Ablation Right for You?

Research indicates that up to 54% of women who have undergone hydrothermal ablation are no longer having periods within twelve to twenty months of the procedure. The overalll success rate for hydrothermal ablation procedures is about 91% for women suffering from menorrhagia.

While hydrothermal ablation is a proven and effective method of managing abnormallly heavy and prolonged menstrual periods, it’s not right for every woman. Those who plan to have more children should not undergo the procedure, as the destruction of the uterine lining can make pregnancy difficult or impossible. Because it doesn’t completely eliminate the possibility of future pregnancies, however, it’s also not a substitute for birth control or tubal ligation.

Because most women are able to resume normal activities in two to three days after the procedure, hydrothermal ablation offers a relatively short recovery time when compared to hysterectomy. If you suffer from heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding and don’t plan to have more children, make an appointment with your gynecologist to discuss whether or not hydrothermal ablation is right for you.

Posted on behalf of Carlos Alarcon, M.D., Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.


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