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."
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
Due to the chaos of Mardi Gras and the weather, the entry deadline for this year's INDesign Awards has been extended by one week.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
Queen Evangline and King Gabriel ruled Tuesday night
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
IND Style does Gabriel
Newsy bits for the fam
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.