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Removing the womb lining

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Introduction

This information is for people who have heavy periods. It tells you about removing the womb lining, a treatment used for heavy periods. It is based on the best and most up-to-date research.

Does it work?

Yes. Removing the lining of your womb (the endometrium) will probably make your periods lighter. It works better than drugs, but the benefits of this operation don't last as long as the benefits of having your whole womb removed (a hysterectomy).

Between 1 in 10 and 4 in 10 women who have their womb lining removed will need another operation because their symptoms have come back. [31]

If you have this operation, you are unlikely to get pregnant in the future. But you should carry on using contraceptives, just in case. This type of operation isn't suitable if you want to have children in future.

What is it?

Depending on how the operation is done, removing the lining of your womb may be called endometrial destruction, endometrial resection, or endometrial ablation.

Your doctor will probably only suggest this operation if drugs haven't made your periods lighter.

Your doctor won't need to cut the lower part of your abdomen to operate on your womb. Instead, he or she will operate through your vagina.

This operation involves putting a small telescope (a hysteroscope) into your vagina and through your cervix so the doctors can see inside your womb. They then use the same route to put in tiny instruments to remove the lining of your womb. They may use:

  • A heated wire that burns away the lining (this is called transcervical endometrial resection)

  • A heated rollerball that burns away the lining (this is called rollerball ablation)

  • A laser beam that cuts away the lining (this is called laser ablation)

  • A special electrode that burns away the lining (this is called vaporising electrode ablation). An electrode is a device that carries an electric current.

Your doctor may suggest that you thin your womb lining with drugs before you have one of these operations. Thinning the lining makes surgery easier and improves the results. To learn more, see Thinning the womb lining before surgery to remove it.

Newer ways of doing the operation allow doctors to remove the lining of the womb without using a hysteroscope. They may use one of the following methods.

  • They may put an inflatable balloon with electrodes into your womb through your cervix. The electrodes touch your womb lining, making it die and fall away. This is called multi-electrode balloon ablation.

  • They may put a balloon into your womb through your cervix and then fill it with fluid. The fluid is heated up and left in place for about eight minutes to kill the womb lining. This is called thermal uterine balloon therapy.

  • They may put a microwave probe through your cervix and into your womb. The probe is turned on and moved over the surface of your womb to remove it. This is called microwave ablation.

  • They may inject heated salt water into your womb to destroy the lining. This is called hydrothermablation.

  • They may use electrodes on a frame. This is called NovaSure ablation.

Last Updated: August 15, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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