Endometrial Ablation Has Prevented Over 1 Million Hysterectomies

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It is estimated that each year 500,000 to 740,000 hysterectomies are performed in the United States. The reasons range from excessive menstrual bleeding or patient perceived heavy periods to fibroids or cancer. Research suggests that hysterectomy may lead to sexual problems, incontinence, and a slight loss of physical strength as well as leaving patients feeling as though they are incomplete as a woman. Recent headlines regarding robotic hysterectomies and other minimally invasive procedures have refocused attention on the number of hysterectomies performed each year and has reintroduced the question as to whether these procedures are truly necessary. In addition to the side effects suffered by patients, hysterectomies are costly for the healthcare system.

Historically, approximately one-third of all hysterectomies - or 200,000 annually - have been done to relieve patient-perceived excessive menstrual bleeding. Problem periods are characterized by heavy, prolonged bleeding and symptoms range from chronic fatigue and anemia to embarrassing accidents and restricted activity. This condition affects more than ten million women in the U.S.

In the past, women with heavy periods were typically offered treatments ranging from drug therapy to hysterectomy. However, for women with problem periods caused by benign reasons (i.e. hormonal changes, genetic bleeding disorders, etc.), these treatments often prove ineffective (hormone therapy is effective less than 50 percent of the time) or unnecessarily invasive. There is also a significant portion of women contraindicated for hormone therapy as well as those who cannot tolerate its side effects (i.e. headaches, weight gain and nausea).

Today, physicians have safe, effective and fast alternatives for women who have completed their families and no longer want to suffer from uncomfortable symptoms and lifestyle restrictions that accompany heavy periods. Since its introduction in 2001, the NovaSure System, a 90 second endometrial ablation procedure has become the gold standard treatment for excessive menstrual bleeding. In fact, just this summer I preformed the one millionth NovaSure procedure on my patient, Yvette.

I began using the device in my practice eight years ago because I was seeing many women who were suffering unnecessarily from problem periods. Many women that suffer from heavy periods don’t recognize their symptoms may be a result of a known and treatable condition (clinical term is menorrhagia); others are too embarrassed to discuss the problem with friends, family or even their physicians.

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My patient, Yvette is a mother of two and she began experiencing heavy and prolonged menstrual periods about a year ago. Yvette first told her primary care physician about her problem periods around the time of her fortieth birthday. It was at that time that her menstrual periods where getting heavier and heavier and she almost missed out on her birthday celebration. Yvette’s physician first tried changing her birth control prescription, but that provided Yvette with no relief. Due to Yvette’s increasing fear that she’d have an accident in public or be forced to miss another celebration, her primary care physician referred her to me to discuss alternative options. It was then that I met Yvette and suggested she have the NovaSure endometrial ablation procedure. NovaSure effectively treated Yvette's symptoms in a matter of minutes, allowed her to avoid hysterectomy and helped her to regain the confidence that living with problem periods took away from her.

If you have heavy periods that prevent you from doing the things you love, talk to your gynecologist––fast, easy treatment options are available and can quite literally change your life. The NovaSure System, the most widely used endometrial ablation technique, is a 90-second outpatient procedure that can be performed in the office or the ambulatory center at the hospital at any time during a woman’s cycle. Just like Yvette, most of my NovaSure patients have returned to work a few days after the procedure, whereas, a hysterectomy often requires recovery time of up to two months. I estimate that 95 percent of the women I have treated with NovaSure had successful outcomes with very little time taken out of their lives.

Dr. Scott Schade is a Board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist practicing at Rockwood Clinic in Spokane, Washington. For more information on treatment options for heavy periods, please contact Dr. Scott Schade at 509.838.2531 or visit www.novasure.com.

Signs that you might have heavy periods:

* Your period lasts for more than seven days;
* You use twenty or more sanitary napkins or tampons in a single day during your period;
* You have to change your sanitary napkin or tampon approximately every hour or less;
* You’re forced to make changes to your lifestyle in order to accommodate for your period;
* You’ve had to miss work or social activities because of your period;
* You experience spotting or bleeding between menstrual periods;

Written by By Dr. Scott Schade

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