Heavy menstrual periods can be treated in a number of different ways depending on the underlying cause. Where the cause relates to abnormalities of the lining of the womb, these alternatives to a hysterectomy can provide an effective, long-term treatment. Sometimes a combination of these treatments is recommended:
Transcervical Resection of Endometrium (TCRE) is also known as hysteroscopic resection in which the lining (endometrium) of the womb (uterus) is removed using an instrument called a hysteroscope.
Transcervical Resection of Fibroids (TCRF) is carried out in the same way as TCRE but is used to remove any fibroids within the uterus that are the cause of the heavy periods.
Endometrial ablation (the NovaSure procedure) treats the lining of the uterus using a precisely controlled radio frequency energy delivered through a thin handheld wand.
These procedures are usually carried out as day surgery which means you’ll be able to return home on the same day but you will not be able to drive yourself. The operations are quick and simple, lasting under half an hour, and are usually carried out under a general anaesthetic so you’ll be asleep during surgery.
No incisions are required; the whole procedure is carried out using instruments inserted through the vagina. During a TCRE or TCRF the hysteroscope gives the surgeon a good view of the uterine cavity while a surgical loop at its end is used to remove (or resect) the endometrium or fibroids.
The ‘NovaSure’ endometrial ablation procedure takes 90 seconds and uses radio frequency energy to treat the womb lining. This procedure can be carried out at any time during the menstrual cycle.
You may experience some period-like cramps and bleeding for a few hours after the operation - we’ll help manage any discomfort with painkillers. There will be light bleeding or discharge for usually up to a week after the operation, although sometimes this persists for as long as a month.
Most women can return to work and driving after one or two days.
As with any surgical procedure there is some risk of infection of the wound, or bleeding after the operation. However, as this is a minimally invasive operation, the risk is low. However, some people sometimes suffer an adverse reaction from the anaesthetic.