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."
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
C & C Technologies, HIT Fitness, R3 Sciences, the Acadiana Symphony Association and the United Way of Acadiana recognized for innovation.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra has decided to end its traditional Independence Day spectacular known as Red White & Boom.
Under the deal, Teche shareholders would get 1.162 shares of IberiaBank for each share of Teche stock.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The must have pieces this season
Dave Perkins, LCG Comp Plan honored along with local architects and designers at the 2014 INDesign Awards
Greg Manuel’s Lafayette-based residential development company is taking advantage of exponential industrial growth in Lake Charles.
Longtime Lafayette retailer ventures online.
It’s not how aggressive or conservative you are — it’s planning for risk that matters most.
Thanks to cutting-edge digital technology, more and more consumers are banking on ATMs and mobile phones.
Regional bank bids farewell to Downtown May 30
ABiz takes a look back at the most noteworthy moments for the local banking industry over the last year.
Most experts say short-term interest rates will be unchanged through 2014, but long-term rates are inching up.
Largest recruitment event in Acadiana returns May 21 to the Cajundome Convention Center
A lawyer’s ad should only be a starting point, as there is much more to consider when seeking quality representation.
Thanks to the inaugural 2012 INNOV8, a design for lifting heavy objects was brought to market.
The annual juried competition recognizes excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Cypress Bayou GM hosts open house.
New hires, promotions, transfers in Acadiana business
The scion of a landmark Four Corners restaurant climbs back into Lafayette’s culinary scene as franchisee for a popular burger chain.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.