Taylor, an OB-GYN at Lafayette General Medical Center, says the mother of four suffered from menorrhagia, the medical term for excessive menstrual bleeding. "It really impaired her life to have to go to the restroom every two hours," notes Taylor.
The woman was certainly not alone in her very private matter that at times can cause public embarrassment and lead to other health problems like anemia and fatigue. The National Women's Health Resource Center, a nonprofit women's health group, estimates that one in five women suffers from menorrhagia ' a non-life threatening condition that historically has led to about 30 percent of the more than 600,000 hysterectomies (surgical removal of the uterus) performed in the United States each year.
But those stats on hysterectomies, invasive procedures requiring weeks of recovery, are changing ' thanks to technological advancements in treating heavy menstrual bleeding. For the past two decades, endometrial ablation, a minimally invasive procedure that involves the removal of the uterine lining, has proven an effective alternative to heavy or prolonged bleeding.
Taylor's recommendation for her patient was a newer form of endometrial ablation called NovaSure, a procedure introduced about four years ago and utilized by Taylor and other local doctors for the past couple of years.
Such ablation is only for pre-menopausal women who have completed their childbearing. And while most women will not be able to conceive after the procedure, there is a slight risk of pregnancy, so they should continue to use contraception until menopause. "You should be absolutely certain you don't want to have any more children," Taylor says.
And heavy bleeding does not necessarily make a woman a good candidate for the procedure. "There are lots of reasons and causes of heavy bleeding," she adds. The main cause is hormonal changes, which can also be addressed with oral contraceptives for women who may want to become pregnant down the road. "Many people respond to oral contraceptives to control their bleeding, but many do not," Taylor says. Oral contraceptives, however, are typically not prescribed for smokers and women over 35 with a family history of breast cancer. For this population, ablation may be an option.
Heavy bleeding, however, can also be caused by cancer. Before recommending ablation, local physicians review their patient's medical history and perform a physical exam that includes a biopsy of the uterine lining.
About six different types of ablation technologies are available, and the results, a 75-85 percent success rate in controlling heavy bleeding or eliminating bleeding altogether, are typically the same. The technology is getting better and better.
NovaSure, for example, is a 90-second treatment performed using IV sedation, so the patient quickly resumes daily activity ' typically moderating her behavior for just a couple of days.
Technological advances like NovaSure have cut the entire process for the procedure back to about five minutes, compared with longer times for similar procedures, which can be more cumbersome for the physician and support staff. In fact, Taylor hopes to eventually offer endometrial ablation in her office. "The goal is to do it in the office without IV sedation, with a little bit of Valium a little bit of Toradol (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofin).
With newer technology like NovaSure, no medications or other preparation of the uterus is necessary before the procedure. The doctor slightly dilates the cervix and inserts a slender wand through the cervix into the uterus. A triangular mesh device is then extended through the wand where it expands to conform to the dimensions of the uterine cavity, and electrical energy is delivered into the uterus on average for 90 seconds. The mesh device is retracted into the wand and removed. This new generation of devices was designed with a safeguard that searches for a breach in the wall of the uterus before delivering the energy.
The cost of the ablation treatment ranges from $8,000 to $10,000, which includes the outpatient surgery, obstetrician/gynecologist physician charge and the cost of the device. What the patient pays varies based on a number of factors, including her insurance plan and deductible and co-insurance amounts; according to NovaSure's literature, the risks include thermal injury to adjacent tissue, perforation of the uterine wall, and infection or sepsis. If successful, the patient's menstrual bleeding will be reduced to normal or light levels or eliminated altogether.
Though ablation treatment is not for everyone with heavy bleeding, Taylor hopes women suffering with menorrhagia talk to their doctor about this option. "Sometimes the complaint is, 'I bleed most days of the month,'" Taylor says, noting the endometrial ablation was like a new lease on life for the 36-year-old mother of four. "I think she was the happiest patient I've ever had."
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Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
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By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
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State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.