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What problems can thermal ablation of the uterus cause?

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Endometrial thermal ablation can burn or puncture the uterus or cause cervical laceration, according to WebMD. Although uncommon, pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism and burns on the bowel are also possible risks. Bleeding, infection and pain are complications of thermal ablation, and women who become pregnant after the procedure have a higher risk for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies in the fallopian tubes or cervix, adds Mayo Clinic.

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The uterine lining, or endometrium, can regrow after a thermal ablation, and women at high risk for endometrial cancer are not good candidates for the procedure, notes WebMD. Because the risk for dangerous pregnancy complications is high, menstruating women should use birth control after an endometrial ablation. Common side effects after the procedure include bloody vaginal discharge, cramping and nausea, and although women typically return home on the day of the procedure, full recovery can take up to two weeks.

Thermal endometrial ablation treats abnormal uterine bleeding by destroying the lining of the uterus with heat, explains WebMD. To perform the procedure, doctors use a balloon filled with a hot saline solution, radiofrequency or a laser beam. Approximately 50 percent of women stop menstruating after a thermal ablation, and most experience some reduction in menstrual bleeding. The procedure is most effective in older women.

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