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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

105

The Best Time I Got an Endometrial Ablation

Now that was a good time. Last November I had the endometrial lining of my uterus basically razed to the ground, and it only took like 20 minutes. Pizza delivery takes longer, and you don’t even get anesthesia.

Endometrial ablations (removing the lining of the uterus) are generally performed on super-heavy bleeders, to help reduce the flow. Various methods are used, some of which sound more frightening than others: lasers (!), microwaves, radio waves, extreme cold, or extreme heat. My doctor uses the mesh method, brand name: Novasure, which you’d best believe is a registered trademark. This mesh is somehow positioned along the uterine wall (by a certified mesh-positioner, I am guessing?) and then — check this out — ELECTRIFIED. Burns that endometrial lining right off, and the resulting scar tissue makes it much harder for any more lining to attach (and then be ejected) in the future.

I may have exaggerated tales of my flow to get this procedure. Any flow is too damn much, I tell you. I’m quite done with babies, but too young for menopause; I just didn’t want a period anymore.

The first two days of my cycle were always marked by bone-deep fatigue. Like, fall asleep if I sit down fatigue. I missed work every month because I couldn’t stay awake that day or two. It made me go into “junkie mom” mode, too — Mama’s gonna be face down on the couch for a while, so go have some cereal for dinner. I do quite a few athletic events each year; nothing is more maddening than training for three to six months for an event only to have race day tanked by getting my period. And then if race day was a Red Flag day, I could get through it with adrenaline propping me up, but it was no damn fun. And all those 6 a.m. Saturday training runs were for nothing!

I first heard about this procedure at a triathlon expo seminar titled “Managing Your Cycle during Training,” presented by a gynecologist with the delightful nom de practice of OBJen.

OBJen proposed a handful of methods, some of which I’d already tried: skip-the-placebo-week birth control pill, hormone-fortified IUD, progestin implant, and then endometrial ablation. I’d tried the first option for about six weeks, gifting me with six straight weeks of PMS, so I wasn’t cool with hormonal intervention. I already had a non-hormonal IUD in place, which was not helping matters any. An endometrial ablation is no guarantee of total period stoppage (only about half the women who have it done stop cycling entirely), but I was desperate for any help in this area. A 50% chance? I’d take those odds.

One downside is that I would still have to use birth control, because if an errant egg does find purchase in my womb without that lining, it’s apparently a very nasty business for all involved: there are higher rates of miscarriage, tubal pregnancies, and all sorts of pregnancy complications. On the upside, I’m not getting laid any time soon anyway, so that was not a big issue. Okay, maybe that’s kind of a sad upside. Still, I could take the money I was spending on those pricey OB tampons and buy Qream instead.

A few months after the expo, I had my annual gyno exam. “I’m not coming back to the office 'til I get the go-ahead for my endometrial ablation!” I told my co-worker. “Oh. Kay,” she said. “Good luck with that.” Most of my friends had the same reaction of confused, slightly concerned wonderment when I told them I was getting this procedure. Like me, no one had ever heard of it before. But my mom had! An old hand with surgical matters as an OR nurse and boss lady, she responded the way she does to news of most procedures we might tell her about. “Oh, we’ve been doing that since '98. It’s no big deal. Go for it.”

Turns out I had to persevere over the next six months or so after the exam where I first asked for an ablation, as the doctor told me to first schedule an IUD removal and wait to see how that helped. Removing the IUD did decrease the flow somewhat, but did nothing about the face-melting fatigue.

I impatiently waited a few months, then went back for another consultation to move the process along. Having ruled out the IUD effect, my doctor was quite open to the ablation option. She scheduled me for an ultrasound and an endometrial biopsy to check for any funny business. (Fun fact: the day these procedures were performed, my daughter started her period: CIRCLE OF LIFE.) The sonogram showed a wee burst of something off one of the ovaries, which my doc said is normal and probably indicated a recent ovulation — but I still had to wait another six weeks and get another sonogram before we could schedule an ablation. Ponying up a $35 co-pay each time I went near this doctor’s office was getting me mighty irritated with this stop-and-go process, but six weeks later, the second sonogram was all good and I was scheduled for the next month.

On the morning of, the prep for the procedure took about an hour. I had to go sit in an exam room to get robed and IVed up, sign waivers, meet the disconcertingly attractive anesthesiologist, and so forth. Then I went into another room for the procedure. The room was full of people, but a lovely twilight sleep quickly knocked me out and then left me clearheaded afterward to stare at the clock in wonderment. Finally, off to another room to sit in an armchair for about 30 minutes before I was cleared to go home.

This lack of pain or bleeding made me suspicious, as I had only been under for about 20 minutes. My mom, the day’s designated driver, had been hanging out in the waiting room, so I asked her if maybe the surgical team had put me under and then just snuck out for a smoke break. “They didn’t walk past me,” she said, and I believed her because she too is a medical professional, she was sitting near the door, and the office has no second exit.

Really, the whole thing was a bit anticlimactic, because the result was essentially nothing. I had no pain, no bleeding, no cramping, and after one more super-light period, no more periods either. And no more life-destroying fatigue, most importantly. There was, as prophesied, a slightly singed smell issuing from my nethers and some clear discharge for about six weeks. The discharge is supposed to stop after two or three weeks, but I never bothered to go to my post-op appointment to ask about it (don’t do this! Go to your post-op appointments, everyone!). During the pre-op appointment, my doctor issued me a hefty prescription for Percodan, so I assumed I’d be in pain afterwards. I took half a Percodan when I got home, just in case, but really I was just sleepy that afternoon. The rest of the Percodan languishes in my medicine cabinet, awaiting its day on Craigslist (KIDDING).

Obviously, this process probably won't be such a breeze for everyone. I'm guessing the gals who get cramps on the regular (I rarely did) would be more likely to have them after this procedure. Also, some people's anesthesiologists won't be dreamy and their periods won't come to a screeching halt, but we have to do the best we can with what we've been given.

Maureen Kelly lives in Austin with a variety of mammals and rides her bike a lot.



105 Comments / Post A Comment

sovereignann@twitter

Dreamy anesthesiologists. Seriously, is there no other kind? The two procedures I've had done they have both been very attractive. One of which I apparently relayed that message to over and over again. Ah, "twilight" anesthesia.

Tragically Ludicrous

@sovereignann@twitter My friend's boyfriend is an anesthesiologist. His name is Jean-Luc and he's from around Liege and he is, indeed, dreamy.

EpWs

@Tragically Ludicrous Of course he is, of course it is, of course he is, and of course he is. :)

sovereignann@twitter

@Tragically Ludicrous I think my ovaries exploded! And I concur with the everpresent wordsnatcher...of COURSE he is. Of course.

jams

I was intimidated by whatever animal that is that has such huge, fearsome eyes. bubblegum casting

kickupdust

hot damn! I have also never heard of this, and for some reason thought I was the only one who got sooooooo tired during the first few days of bleedage.

robotpony

@kickupdust Every month, I exclaim, "I must be coming down with something. I'm soooo achey and tired, all I want are ZzzZZzz." And then I get my period the next day or so. You'd think I would remember this every month, but nope. Every month I think I must have caught the flu or a cold.

fondue with cheddar

@kickupdust I get tired, but not sleepy-tired. Just sluggish. Still not good, though. I'd never heard of this procedure either, and I have pretty heavy, long periods so it sounds wonderful!

parallel-lines

I have never heard of anyone doing an elective endometrial ablation--so many questions! Does it totally eliminate your period forever or just on a temporary basis?

And I hear you big time about training and having your period--totally weaker than usual. I've learned to use iphone period tracking apps to plan races and large events around it as much as possible.

queenieliz

@parallel-lines what apps do you use? I am still using monthlyinfo.com but they don't have an app and even with multiple reminders I still sometimes miss logging a start date...

Mandalas

@queenieliz I use PeriodTracker Lite. There's a fancier "non-lite" version that you can pay for that tracks a lot more stuff. The free one tracks your period, how long your average cycle is, when you're fertile/ovulating, and how you're feeling.

Xanthophyllippa

@Mandalas "Lite." Hee.

/twelve

MsChilePepper

@parallel-lines It's meant to be a permanent reduction in flow, but everybody's experience is different. My first ablation was done with a different mechanism, basically a balloon filled with scalding saline, and it was not as successful as I'd wanted.

Whether my endometrium grew back, or whether it just didn't burn it away well enough, I don't know, but about a year later, I had a second ablation done by a different doctor who used Novasure, and that worked FABULOUSLY! Didn't have any bleeding for about six years, but then I ended up having a hysterectomy in 2010, so the point was moot.

noReally

I was very happy with my ablation. I got it because my period was crazy heavy, and I had awful cramps, with sciatica down both legs. My doctor said, basically, you might have some period, you might have no period, it might help the pain, it might only last a couple of years. He pared off some polyps while he was in there, too.

I felt like crap for two days, and had the yucky discharge. Dr. said, "That's serum. You've got third degree burns all over the inside of your uterus." Nice.

I now cannot tell my period from my ovulation-time spotting. It did nothing for the cramps and sciatica. If my period does come back, I think I'd do it again. The whole pregnancy thing sucks. He said it would be almost impossible to get pregnant (it was nearly impossible when I was trying) but carrying to term wouldn't happen, and it might get ugly. Mine said nothing about tubal pregnancies.

Additional fun fact, I asked if I was fit for egg retrieval if Mr. Finally knocks on the door the day after the procedure, and got thumbs up. So it's not just not effective sterilization, you've still got the Last Chance Saloon, IVF with a gestational carrier.

nyikint

Thanks so much for writing this.

I am a little hesitant to bring this up, because I think it might be taken as a criticism of you and that is NOT how I mean it.

I do think that your story raises some interesting questions regarding the responsibilities of a patient. Do patients have a moral obligation to represent the whole truth to their doctors? Under what circumstances is it appropriate to lie or exaggerate to your doctor for a certain end? What makes an ethical patient?

Nicole Cliffe

@nyikin And, too, the ways in which ob-gyn care is a little different, because of how weird and intimate the issues can be. 'How many sexual partners this year?' And then you say 'four?' like it's a question, like, 'is this an acceptable answer?'

PatatasBravas

@nyikin I think it is an interesting question. It is also interesting, for me, to keep in mind that doctors are people, not Doctors Of Objective Science!

Personally, I have experienced a range of personalities and opinions across medical sub-fields:

"Hi yes I am a doctor, interesting question you've raised, let us think about what courses of treatment might work best -- together!"

"I am a doctor. Here is a Medical Edict Of The Only Appropriate Decision. I have already written you a prescription. Follow it."

"Hoor."

"Hmmm insurance debacle? Maybe we can work around that."

ETA, in case that wasn't clear, that each of those doctors got slightly tailored information as to my health. I didn't hide anything horrific, but I sure as hell was more "truth, the whole truth" with the first and last doctors.

NeverOddOrEven

@nyikin I don't know, but what I do know is that I was completely open about my drug use when a rather serious medical issue was at hand, and then when I really needed it they refused to give me any painkiller worth a damn.

TheLetterL

@nyikin My thinking always falls along the lines of the power dynamic between doctor and patient -- the sick role, the surrender of autonomy, the gatekeeping, the otherwise inaccessible knowledge/resources of the doctor.
I'm still mulling over how this power dynamic affects the idea of a patient's ethical obligation to their doctor. Is the obligation to the doctor as a professional, that is to say the powerholder? Or is the obligation to the doctor as a person, i.e. lying to another person is wrong?

wharrgarbl

@NeverOddOrEven A friend's mom--a retired nurse, mind--wound up getting delayed medical attention for a stroke because she was open with the doctor about her casual pot use. The doctor-patient relationship is not even close to one of equals; the power differential is enormous. Not that patient ethics completely fall off the map, but holy fuck is the landscape altered by the self-protection aspect.

NeverOddOrEven

@wharrgarbl That's so fucked. But come to think of it, my health problems were brushed off for years before I got a (very fucking serious!) diagnosis, and probably not a small part due to the fact that my symptoms came primarily when drunk or high.
It's too bad they can't see past their own assumptions and realize that these things can exacerbate an existing problem instead of causing.
Or maybe even that it might not factor in at all? Naw, too reasonable.

wharrgarbl

@NeverOddOrEven She wound up being more or less fine, no thanks to Your Persistent Blinding Headache Is Just the Munchies, MD, but it could have so easily been catastrophic.

I mean, I get that there can be financial and professional consequences for doctors when treatments go preventably wrong, but the consequences of doctoral dickishness to patients go immeasurably farther than "I had to defend against a malpractice suit because they refused to disclose their opiate use before I prescribed an anti-anxiety medication." Like, death and/or maiming is on the table.

odd number

@NeverOddOrEven Glad you mentioned this. I've been hesitant to tell my doctors(including my therapist)about past drug use (which I'm not really regretful over) because I'm afraid it will get filed away somewhere and will make it difficult to get treatments that I need in the future.

also our screen names are eerily similar? but mine references an old dnb tune and i'm guessing yours does not

carolita

@nyikin why should any woman HAVE to lie? The fact is, she did it to get what she wanted. A woman shouldn't have to lie to get that ablation, she should be able to have it if she wants it. So the ethical question is for the doctors: is it the woman's body to manage themselves with the doctor's help, or are they in charge of it?

frenz.lo

@nyikin I don't know about the ethics, but my GYN history has been a web of lies since I exaggerated about the heaviness of my periods in order to get birth control pills when I was a teenager. One day, my nurse practitioner is going to notice that I just throw out a random single digit number when they ask for my life time total of sex partners. I understand why they ask, but past a certain point, it seems like an invasive, pointless question.

NeverOddOrEven

@odd number Nope, it's a palindrome! I love them. My favorite:
No sir, away! A papaya war is on.
or
I, madam. I made radio. So I dared. Am I mad? Am I?

But seriously, unless you think the drug use may directly relate to your health issue, which I did, I wouldn't bring it up.
The worst part is that I never had a history of abusing painkillers or any Rx medication, but they still wouldn't do it.
So, ironically, I started smoking weed again because it was the only thing that helped the non-narcotic they would give me work

lue
lue

@NeverOddOrEven
So, you probably know about this, but now I'm obligated to make sure that you do:
PALINDROMES!

NeverOddOrEven

@lue Yep, but it had been a while. Thanks!

Nicole Cliffe

I will take your Percodan! Email me.

(kidding OR AM I?)

This was really interesting.

Smallison

My mom had ridiculously heavy periods that required her to wear two jumbo tampons at a time (and she'd still bleed through, if left in for longer than one hour). She had an ablation a couple of years ago, and was immediately happier.

Mine aren't nearly as heavy as hers, thanks to BC, but if I ever go off it, or they get worse on their own, I will absolutely have this done!

Lauren0819

I'm getting ready to have endometriosis surgery, and was wondering if they ruled out that diagnosis for you? I guess that it relates more to pain than to fatigue.

laurel

@Lauren0819 I wondered that too. I had all the same symptoms the author describes before my endo surgery, including the massive fatigue.

anachronistique

"a slightly singed smell issuing from my nethers" - I can't decide if that is horrifying or awesome. Maybe both.

Xanthophyllippa

@anachronistique Honestly, I'd be worried other people could smell it.

WaityKatie

@Xanthophyllippa Gives a new meaning to "firecrotch"?

annev6

Ahhhhhh I had an ucler repaired - or whatever they do to ulcers - a few months ago, and my anesthesiologist was also dreamy. Hopefully that's a thing. It would make me a believer in intelligent design if that were a thing.

wharrgarbl

@annev6 Being dreamy is a requirement to graduate. "I'm sorry, you're not dreamy enough to be an anesthesiologist. Why don't you go for MRI technician instead?"

NeverOddOrEven

Can anyone enlighten me as to why this would affect cramping and fatigue?
It seems like a purely physical change but it's influencing stuff I associate with hormones....?

Also, I can't have kids and take blood thinners for health reasons. I wonder if it would be as effective with anticoagulents.

noReally

@NeverOddOrEven
My doctor described heavy flow + bad cramps as having to do with muscle contractions that constrict the blood vessels being stronger. More flow, more to constrict.

And the endometrium actually generates some hormones.

NeverOddOrEven

@noReally Well I'll be damned. Didn't know that!

ba-na-nas

Hate to burst everyone's bubble: when I had my baby, the anesthesiologist was NOT dreamy. She was also coughing so violently that I was really afraid that she was going to mess up my epidural and/or give me some horrible disease.

frigwiggin

I pondered this procedure during my last OBGYN visit--there was a little poster on the wall for doing it with hot water. If it makes cramping worse, though, maybe not, since that's usually the worst part of my period. (Well, that and mood swings, but I really don't know at this point if they're the cause of the natural hormones, my BC, or just me having therapist-needing problems. Ayyyy.)

frigwiggin

@frigwiggin Also, we may soon be having our cat's half-a-leg amputated; I will try to keep an eye on whether the anesthesiologist is dreamy or not, although I suspect I will not be allowed to see them or watch the procedure.

MsChilePepper

@frigwiggin In my experience, I had basically no bad cramps before my ablation (except when I was hemorrhaging and throwing HUGE clots), and still had none after the ablation. My doc explained that cramps are caused by hormones secreted both in the endometrium and elsewhere. The only way to know is to have the procedure done; if your life is being affected negatively by bleeding and craps, go for it!

And so you know, the hot saline balloon method is a much older technology and isn't anywhere near as reliably successful as the Novasure (it's computerized!). My first ablation was done with the balloon, and the second with Novasure, which totally did the trick.

ALS24

Has anyone ever seen the show Green Wing? Because that has a SERIOUSLY dreamy anesthesiologist. Green Wing > Grey's Anatomy, any day.

camanda

@ALS24 GREEN WING!

charmcity

@ALS24 Green Wing!!! So weird and wonderful.

ALS24

@charmcity @camanda Yes! I was so hooked. But once my dad walked into the room while I was watching it and he was all, "Is that lady humping a vibrating bed?" and I was all, "Oh, don't worry, that's just Joanna, she's upset about Alan," and he was all, "..." and I was all, "You just don't understand!!!" #teenagerebellion

Xanthophyllippa

@ALS24 YES. Oh man, I was so upset when I realized I'd watched all the episodes on Hulu.

@serenityfound

@ALS24 SERIOUSLY. I've been scrolling through the comments waiting for someone to bring up the Mangan! (although I am Mac/Jake fan, all the way)

ALS24

@Xanthophyllippa Riiiiiiiiight?! And the ending is all... well, you know how it ends. I was pretty sad for a while. I've drowned some of my sads by watching Black Books, though.

ALS24

@@serenityfound Wow, I just looked up Stephen Mangan. I did not realize he was a total nerd. I am in a happy sort of shock. Also, yes, Mac. I, for some reason, I liked Guy much more while watching it, but looking back, HOW DID I NOT GO FOR THE GORGEOUS GINGER?

Xanthophyllippa

@charmcity It's like "Scrubs" with sexy accents.

@serenityfound

@ALS24 I really love Mangan (Dirk Gently, Episodes...everything) and Guy is a great character. But, even if he didn't accidentally shag his smoo, I couldn't get properly worked up about him - such a TOOL. Also, the aforementioned gorgeous ginger and the lanky blonde complementary therapist. #YUM

ALS24

@@serenityfound Sigh, yes. Guy was a TERRIBLE idiot. But he had this idiot-y charm, I guess? I don't know. Mac is indeed so much more wonderful. But who is the lanky blonde? Is it Boyce? He's the only blonde I can recall off the top of my head. I was TOTALLY obsessed with him.

@serenityfound

@ALS24 JAKE THE COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIST! The one who dates Caroline and gets a pen knife lodged in his head thanks to Guy. The same actor stars in Dirk Gently with Mangan and also stars in the delightful 'Whites' and 'Spy'.

ALS24

@@serenityfound Oh, THAT guy! Thank you, Google images. Guess what I just found in the Recently Added category on Netflix?

Verity

@ALS24 I love Green Wing! (Also, they filmed the ambulance/campervan-over-a-cliff scenes just outside my town. Moment of fame!)

katiethegreat

@ALS24 Green Wing is the best, I still occasionally quote it in inappropriate situations. Although Mac > Guy.

Gwdihw

I have a friend who is an anesthesiologist. Appropriately, he is very handsome.

Shortly after I met him, he grabbed my arm, looked deep into my eyes, and said, "Make sure to get an epidural. You don't want to go natural," which was interesting since I was neither pregnant nor particularly interested in kids at the point.

StandardTuber

@l'esprit de l'escalier: maybe he was hitting on you, you know, "anesthesiologist-style."

Gwdihw

@Mabissa
I wouldnt have minded--after all he was a real knockout!!!

/sorry
//I'll show myself out

MmeLibrarian

The anesthesiologist who administered my epidural last month was not, to my recollection, dreamy. He was a huge pain in the ass who insisted on talking to my husband about yoga and DRUMMING ON THE GODDAMN BED while he was waiting for my local to kick in/I was having a contraction. He is the only person I yelled at in the course of my rather lengthy childbirth experience.

That being said, the epidural worked extremely well. He shall be allowed to live.

LotaLota

My endometrial ablation is definitely on my Top 5 list of the best things I've ever done in my life. I always had heavy and extremely painful periods. Diagnosed with endometriosis and had surgery, which made no difference at all. Ended up in the ER with chest pains, which turned out to be from severe anemia (really: you can have an anemia-induced heart attack), and after ruling out every other possible cause of the anemia, they suggested I get an endometrial ablation.

I was overjoyed, because I'd wanted one but didn't think I could just ask for it. I, too, had the Novasure method done. The best they could predict for me was normal periods, and that sounded pretty good. I ended up with no more periods, and no more pain. No pain at ovulation, no more days of horrible cramps.

I am free to do whatever I want, whenever I want. No more scheduling my life around my cycle. And no more pain!

Honestly, this is something more women should look into, and probably do. You never have to even think about that time of the month, because it isn't there for you anymore. No big loss, amirite?

carolita

@LotaLota I'm seriously thinking about it. I'm patiently waiting for menopause to hit, but I'm worried it might take its sweet time. So tired of my heavy, painful periods. I'm out of commission for two to four days every cycle. Using Gladrags and the Diva Cup have at least lessened my footprint of pollution due to my periods, but that's the only thing that I've been able to change for the better. And I've tried EVERY herb, vitamine, exercise, whatever, everything. So tired of it.

planforamiracle

@Carolita My mom had an endometrial ablation for a similar reason—at 50ish she'd been being "teased" by menopause; going months without a period and then having a ninja period appear. I think she just got sick of the uncertainty and having an ablation helped move that part of the menopause process along for her. I would totally do it if I had a good reason to.

Xanthophyllippa

@planforamiracle "ninja period." HA! (Except not, because that would SUCK.)

MsChilePepper

@LotaLota YES YES, that was my experience, too! Well, after my second ablation, anyway. I had such heavy bleeding toward the end there, I literally ended up in the ER multiple times, because I couldn't control the bleeding and I was throwing such HUGE clots and was in so much pain, I was afraid to go to sleep. Oh, yeah, middle of the night ER visits are suuuuper fun! Bless my Dad for making those treks.

And I straight up TOLD both my doctors we were doing the procedures. I'd done my research, I know what I was getting into, and I had no desire to ever have kids, so that was that. I wasn't gonna breed, so I didn't need to bleed! I lucked out with my doctors; they were both pleased to have a patient who was informed and who advocated for herself.

Xanthophyllippa

I actually let out a mighty woooosh of relief when I saw this post -- my endocrinologist has suggested ablation for me because I am currently enjoying a 16-day cycle for no reason that we can figure out and I have bad enough mood swings that buproprion can barely cut off the peaks and valleys. I'm terrified by the prospect, though, as it sounds both gruesome and medieval, like after my ablation I'll head across the hall for a little trepanning.

But I'd love to hear more from anyone else who's done this, though, as this two-week thing just is NOT. ON.

OxfordComma

@Xanthophyllippa : I almost choked on my own spit at the trepanning comment. *highfive*

Xanthophyllippa

@OxfordComma History nerds unite!

MsChilePepper

@Xanthophyllippa *SNORK* I know a chick who is quite miffed at her husband because he has forbidden her to get trapanned. :D

Seriously, and I am not making this up AT ALL, but the recovery from both my ablations was SO EASY. The first day, I took a couple of ibuprofen, but I totally could've gone without. The next day, no pain at all. The discharge is the worst part of it, and even that wasn't bad. Just used pads for a few days, and badda bing! No more gushing blood and clots. SO AWESOME! DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT! You won't regret it!

schmaudrey

Hmm. OK. This sounds great. I have had heavy, painful periods my whole life. Birth control helped somewhat but turned me into a depressed cookie monster. Now that I'm off it, I feel great, but hey what's this? I can barely function at work 2-3 days out of the month? I am not having that. Unfortunately I haven't had children yet and plan to some day, so in the interim, horse pills of acetaminophen/caffeine are my only option. Bullocks.

NeverOddOrEven

@schmaudrey Hehe, cookie monster.

OxfordComma

@schmaudrey : Me too with the birth c

Marm

If you are a woman who is hovering around perimenopause (age 35+) there is a lot that your doctor probably didn't tell you. I had a crazy flooding period that didn't let up -- like overflowing my Divacup within one hour heavy for over a month. New crazy, heavy periods can be a symptom of some really serious stuff like uterine cancer. I had biopsies, got checked out, and was diagnosed with endometrial hyperplasia(basically a massive overgrowth of the endometrium -- probably due to not ovulating). Ablation CAN take care of endometrial hyperplasia -- but a 14 day on, 14 day off dose of generic progesterone x 6 mos. took care of my problem with few side effects. For you heavy flooders, etc. there is a site from the University of British Columbia called CEMCOR -- the Center for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulatory Research. There is a ton of information for women dealing with this AND their health care professionals. Ablation can be one solution. However -- in my panic about possible uterine cancer, treatment possibilities, etc. I read several times over that while ablation scars the endometrium, and stops the period bleeding, a sinister possibility is that cancer can grow beneath the scar tissue, deeper into the uterus itself, and the most common symptom of uterine cancer (ie unusual new heavy bleeding or periods after menopause)will not happen, so the cancer will not be detected until it is much further advanced. So -- ablation is not without a drawback that is not being discussed. Not to rain on your period-free parades -- BUT -- this is a serious concern.

WaityKatie

@Marm What? Perimenopause starts at 35?? That is the most depressing thing I've heard all day (says the about to turn 36 lady)...

Lu2
Lu2

@Marm --Oh, gosh, by "crazy heavy" do you mean necessarily on the order of 16 days like you? Or would very heavy, super-plus tampon every couple of hours for a day or so be "normal" for someone peri-menopausal? Do you know? I just got scared. My Ps are pretty regular, but they've gotten quite heavy in the last couple of years.

Marm

@WaityKatie The timing of perimenopause can be quite variable. I had just turned 44 when the crazy period began. Talking with family I discovered that my older sister had gone through complete menopause at age 43. There seems to be lots that is not actually known about perimenopause, like women frequently have very HIGH levels of estrogen at this time. I discovered this through the CEMCOR site, and discovered lots of other papers that support this. The high unopposed estrogen levels(ie when a woman doesn't ovulate) is what causes endometrial hyperplasia, and has been linked to breast, endometrial and uterine cancers when it is left untreated. Despite this, I had to argue with my GP, who wanted to give me a prescription for estrogen, and claimed that progesterone would make me "bleed and bleed". The progesterone finally stopped my 55 day bleedathon in its tracks after two days. The old school gynecologist I had been referred to had zero bedside manner, hardly explained a thing, and casually tossed me a couple of possibilities like adenocarcinoma after describing my bleeding as "grossly abnormal" with treatment possibilities like hysterectomy.He also wanted to prescribe the Pill for me, which also contains more estrogen. WTF ? My GP gave me samples of Marvelon, which after about 2 minutes of Googling I discovered was contraindicated for endometrial hyperplasia. Obviously, there needs to be some educating of physicians, etc.

Lu2 -- by crazy heavy I mean that I was suddenly (this had never happened before) overflowing my Divacup within one hour. Before I had been able to wear it for 8 -12 hours before I had to empty it. I had also begun having giant thick clots. It got so alarming that I started emptying my cup into the bathtub, and photographing what I was passing, with a coin as reference for size(ie almost the size of my palm and as thick). I really didn't feel like my GP or the gynecologist were taking my complaints or symptoms very seriously at all. Literally -- I would be sitting in front the computer, and when I would stand up I would have to run to the bathroom with my hand between my legs as the torrent instantly began.

The weirdest thing was that I was not having any other unusual symptoms -- no heavy cramps or discomfort -- just bleeding so severe that within a couple of weeks I was anemic. Then I started to get really scared.

There is a drug called Cyklocapron (Tranxemic Acid) which is given to patients after dental surgery, heart surgery, etc. It can slow down and temporarily stop bleeding, but it does not treat the cause -- only the symptom.

Aggro-Pina

When I was in my teens older women were having that done all the time, for all kinds of reasons, I think. I personally had a hysterectomy at 40 (super heavy bleeder) and it´s the best thing I ever did, seriously. It changed my life. All that energy that just bled out of me before, I now have it to spend on doing stuff. Great.

MsChilePepper

@Aggro-Pina *high five for uteruslessness* I adore being uterus-free!

Marian Driggers@facebook

@Aggro-Pina I had the nova sure done if this doesn't work next is a hysterectomy!

Jane Dough

My experience was different. I had to go to the hospital for the procedure, I was there for most of the day, and it took me a couple days to feel normal again. It wasn't a very pleasant experience, but it was worth it.

Waiting

I really, really, really, REALLY hate menstruating. Really. Mostly because on the first day of my period and the first day only, I get HORRIBLE HORRIFIC cramps. So bad that I have to cancel all of my plans for the day and/or leave work early unless I have some extra strength Tylenol handy. I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but I got my period a little later than most - 14 and a half - and I swear I have never gotten used to it! I have only just recently begun to pack myself tampons and stuff when I go away and to even think about my cycles. My period just always catches me by surprise. My cycles are VERY unpredictable. I have only had a regular cycle maybe three times in a row in my whole life. The rest of the time it just shows up and I'm like RIP cute underwear. Would I ever do this? Since it involves taking birth control my whole life, probably not. But I'll say it again: I HATE my period!!

WaityKatie

@MalPal I used to have this - horrible cramps the first day of my period, like, crippling, have-to-stay in bed pain, that used to make me miss class (when I was in school) and be late for work (thereafter). I went on the pill and it all went away. My periods became clockwork, much shorter (they used to last 7 days, now they are down to 4-5 after years of taking it), and MUCH lighter. Crippling cramps went away and now I get just minor cramps. Advil kills them. I know a lot of people don't want to be on hormones, but it was really life changing for me. I know I"m never going to be one of those lucky people whose period just "goes away" on the pill, but it has really made my life so much better!

Marian Driggers@facebook

@Waiting No one gets used to it get the ablation duh

TSWSarah

For everyone with the heavy periods and the anemia that goes with, ask your doctor about Lysteda. I finally was able to get my hands on the drug when it was approved in the US a couple of years ago (had been available in Europe for some time) and it's made a significant difference in my heavy flow due to my adenomyosis.

(I mean, I still have a heavy flow that would make most women weep with fear, but at least it's manageable enough now I can actually leave the house and not have my overnight maxipad go out in the middle of a meeting with my boss and leave a puddle on the seat behind me, which yes, was awful.)

fondue with cheddar

@TSWSarah Ooh, I totally get that. I'll check it out, THANK YOU!

FickleMoon

I read once something about it was being quite common to have a casual womb scrape in some countries pre your wedding night, if your period was coming at the wrong time. But they didn't make it sound as permanent or serious.

Donovanesque

My doctors and I discussed this but I just had them take my uterus out instead, since it kept getting cysts anyway.

Hether@twitter

I'm having this procedure done tomorrow! hoping for good results...as for the singed smell - has that gone away now? my main concern is that it will affect sex in some way :)

franci

You have just described my life. I just had my procedure done yesterday. The fatigue and being involved with athletic events and not being able to stay awake even. Me.
My daughter started through the whole process of me getting here. Aside from the feeling odd still having Meds in my system, I have had no pain at all and no real spotting either. Here's hoping mine takes as well as yours.Anything is better than what I have been dealing with.thanks for your post.

ethyl

Well, if you are doing this to avoid periods, don't. I just had this done (Novasure) two weeks ago. Discharge, cramps everytime I do anything - go shopping, go downstairs, pick up something... and today in celebration of the new year I STARTED MY PERIOD! I pray it is not as bad as they have been, but I was really hoping never to have to buy feminine products again. I have not had a day without a pad or pantyshield since they did the biopsy in October. I am highly disappointed, and may have to go the hysterectomy route anyway. THIS SUCKS.

Claire Greensill@facebook

Hello everybody, could i be so rude to ask, how old were you when you got your Endometrial ablation?

Marian Driggers@facebook

@Claire Greensill@facebook I'm 42 had it done yesterday

elizabethburns

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elizabethburns

my roomate's sister-in-law makes $60 every hour on the internet. She has been out of a job for nine months but last month her pay was $17511 just working on the internet for a few hours. Going Here ...www.max38.com

jack89

I'm having this procedure done tomorrow! hoping for good results...as for the singed smell - has that gone away now? my main concern is that it will affect sex in some way. High PR Backlinks

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Marian Driggers@facebook

I had it done yesterday I feel nothing I'm wondering if they did anything had very little light red discharge after very light cramps and today I feel and see nothing I hope it works!

Cintina Strong@facebook

Thanks for this post I go in this week and was having second thoughts but you have made me feel at ease. I can relate to the fatigue but my periods are two weeks on very heavy one week off and two on again. So thanks for taking time out to post your experience it has helped me with my decision.

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