This page will give you information about a radio-frequency endometrial ablation. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.
You can also download and print a PDF version of this factsheet, with space for your own questions or notes.
What is a radio-frequency endometrial ablation?
A radio-frequency endometrial ablation is an operation that uses radio-frequency energy to remove the lining of your uterus (womb).
What are the benefits of surgery?
The most common reason for having an endometrial ablation is to relieve the symptoms of heavy periods (menorrhagia).
After the operation most women have a noticeable reduction in their periods and, for some women, periods stop altogether.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
Heavy periods can be treated using a variety of oral medications. Other alternatives include an IUD (intra-uterine device).
What does the operation involve?
Your gynaecologist will place a radio-frequency probe into your womb. They will expand a mesh from the probe and then pass radio-frequency energy through the mesh. The radio-frequency energy will reduce the thickness of your endometrium.
What complications can happen?
- feeling or being sick
- bleeding or discharge
- blood clots
- failed procedure
- making a hole in your womb
- thermal burns
- continued bleeding or pain
- if you have been previously sterilised, tubal sterilisation syndrome
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home the same day.
You may get some cramps and mild bleeding similar to a period. Rest for 1 to 2 days and take painkillers if you need them.
You should be able to return to normal activities after 2 to 4 days. Most women are fit for work after about a week.
You should expect to have some bleeding or discharge for up to 4 weeks.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
An endometrial ablation is a common gynaecological operation. It helps relieve the symptoms of heavy periods. You should get less bleeding and pain.
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Last reviewed: September 2018