During thermal balloon ablation, the doctor dilates the woman’s cervix and then passes an instrument with a balloon attached through the vagina into the uterus and inflates it with heated fluid that destroys the endometrium, reports Mayo Clinic. The procedure does not require incisions and is usually completed in 10 minutes. Some types of endometrial ablation are outpatient procedures, unless the woman requires general anesthesia.
A computer controls several aspects of a balloon ablation procedure. The process can cause mild to strong cramping, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. After the procedure, the patient's vital signs are monitored and then she either returns to her hospital room or goes home. Vaginal bleeding, watery discharge, cramping and nausea are common after an endometrial ablation. The procedure reduces bleeding or stops it completely in women with heavy menstrual periods that require an hourly change of tampons or sanitary pads. It can also benefit women who experience menstrual periods that last longer than seven days and women who have abnormal uterine bleeding between periods.
Hormones are often the cause of menstrual bleeding problems, especially in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, notes Johns Hopkins Medicine. Uterine and endometrial cancers, polyps and fibroids can also cause irregular bleeding.