For reasons I will explain, I decided to undergo NovaSure Endometrial Ablation in my 40s. As a blogger, I believe there is a fine line between sharing to inform and just plain over sharing; however, when I was trying to make my decision, I was frustrated by the lack of personal accounts I could find online. (Did you expect me to blast a Facebook status update asking friends and colleagues? I think not!) Oh sure, I found some random message boards but no one really told me what the experience was like and why they chose to undergo the procedure.
With the belief that by telling my story I may help another woman make her decision and ease her fears, I am sharing my personal story about why I chose to have the NovaSure procedure. These are all my personal observations and shouldn’t take place of any medical advice and information your doctor provides. I’m also going to be honest. So if you get grossed out, you may want to reconsider reading this and look at pictures of cute puppies instead. This is the first post about the Novasure procedure. Visit I Zapped My Uterus Part II get the rest of the story.
Is My Period My Friend?
Getting your period can be an exciting time in a girl’s life. It certainly was for me. But it didn’t stay that way for long. By high school I was on medication for pain and sometimes missed school I had such awful and heavy periods. I suffered through them needlessly, but then a miracle happened. Well, not exactly a miracle but rather The Pill. Within months it transformed my periods from monthly monsters to a manageable roommate. Sure, I was adding hormones to my body, but the benefits from The Pill greatly outweighed any side effects I experienced.
When I finally got around to having children in my 30s, I was happy to see this daily pill go away. And, to be honest, it felt good to finally be off it. What didn’t feel good was I started having heavier periods again. Nothing like in high school, but they definitely made their presence known.
Heavy Period Takes Over
After my second child was born, I knew I was done having children but chose not to go back on the pill. I didn’t feel comfortable adding more chemicals and hormones into my body. So every month, I suffered through heavy periods, worshipped my heating pad and downed Advil like it was going out of style. But then things started taking a turn for the worse.
As women, we all get used to the idea that periods are something we just have to deal with. Half of the world’s population deals with this during their life, after all. But what I never heard anyone talk about is what happens when you just can’t deal with your periods anymore? What happens when they are no longer a severe inconvenience but rather begin running your life?
When my periods starting becoming too much, I had already switched to the heavy duty tampons and pads. Within an hour, I had easily soaked through either. Over the next year, not even a combo of pads and tampons could make a difference. The best way I can describe this is like someone had turned on a faucet. The blood would literally fall out of me like running water. Within a second, I would easily soak my underwear, pants and whatever chair or couch I happened to be sitting on. I did a lot of laundry and deep furniture cleaning.
While I had naturally always had heavy periods, my physician told me it’s not unusual for women’s periods to become that much more so after having kids. See! Yet another “benefit” of having children!
In the beginning, bleeding through might happen once a day for up to a week. My period became an enemy that I had to contend with. Not only was I losing a ridiculous amount of blood each month, but I was afraid to leave the house! I would armor up just to go pick up my son from school before quickly returning to the house. I was horrified and embarrassed each time it happened at home. I managed to hide the issues from my kids only because my husband and I make such a great team. He knew the look from me and herded the kids while I dealt with this. During my last period, I bled out three times in a 24 hour period. I was done!
And while I’m on the subject of my husband, there’s nothing like killing the mood and connection between two people then having to fight your wife’s period. It was an intruder and third person in our marriage, dictating aspects of our lives no one should have a say in, thank you very much!
Why I Zapped My Uterus
When something becomes so intrusive you just can’t function, it’s time to take action. I went to my OB/GYN and said I had had it. I started blurting out all of the reasons I didn’t think I could go through another period again. And it turns out I fit all of the criteria for why someone would consider having the NovaSure procedure, according to my physician and the NovaSure manufacturers:
- My periods were affecting my quality of life.
- I was significantly bothered by the amount of bleeding and pain that I had during my period.
- My period made made feel unbelievably moody (Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde kind of moody) and tired to the bone.
- My life would improve if I could decrease or completely eliminate my periods.
- I was done with having children and did not want any more in the future.
While all of the criteria are important, the huge one is you have to be sure you’re done having children. After the procedure, it is not safe to get pregnant. For me, this wasn’t a problem. The only way we were going to have a new child in the house is if the universe personally plopped one down in my lap; otherwise, we were done.
NovaSure Sounds Better Than Endometrial Ablation
I won’t say that the procedure didn’t scare the bejesus out of me. Who willingly blasts their uterus? And don’t even get me started about having general anesthesia. But I think you would have to be in serious denial if you weren’t. Every procedure always carries a risk.
Once I started talking with my mom about this issue, I discovered my grandmother had had the same problem and eventually had to have a hysterectomy. I am so thankful there are better options out there. I chose NovaSure because it would possibly decrease if not completely stop my periods without affecting my hormones.
When I went to the NovaSure site, I found fluffed up language about heavy periods and pictures of a woman relaxing on the beach. But I had a hard time finding more hard core information, which is the whole reason I’m writing to you today. I wanted to understand that I wasn’t crazy in thinking my periods were out of control or just being a complete wimp. My periods were out of hand and I wanted someone to echo what I was feeling and experiencing before I took the leap to doing something about it.
Ladies, I’ll tell you that, in my opinion, the NovaSure marketing team has done a great job in making this look like a simple, easy procedure. And, to be honest, now that I’m through it, it was a relatively “easy” procedure when you consider the radical change it could have on your life. But don’t fool yourself into making this decision lightly. For marketing purposes, they are calling this procedure NovaSure, but it truly is an endometrial ablation where you are burning away the lining of your uterus.
This procedure is not designed for the person who just doesn’t like their periods or isn’t sure they’re done having kids (and is prepared to manage birth control properly). This is a permanent change you’re making to your body. Granted, for some of us, this is the right pathway to take. Only you and your doctor can make that decision.