This page will give you information about a thermal balloon 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 thermal balloon endometrial ablation?
A thermal balloon endometrial ablation is an operation that uses a special balloon filled with hot water 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.
After the operation most women have a noticeable reduction in their periods and, for some women, periods stop altogether. About a third of women who have the operation will not have periods anymore.
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 thermal balloon into your womb. They will expand the balloon with fluid.
Your gynaecologist will heat the fluid to the right temperature. The fluid moves around the balloon with the heat reducing the thickness of the lining of your womb.
What complications can happen?
- feeling or being sick
- bleeding or discharge
- blood clots
- failed procedure
- thermal burns
- making a hole in your womb with possible damage to a nearby structure
- 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 3 to 4 days.
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