[Warning: This post discusses cycles! Periods! Cramps! And features photos of my uterus! Kind of!]
I underwent the NovaSure procedure, otherwise known as endometrial ablation, almost one year ago after learning about it at BlogHer ’12. I promised to update how it changed my cycle afterward… and then I didn’t. I suppose it’s true what they say: People are more apt to share an experience when it’s negative than when it’s positive. Because let me tell you: NovaSure has been an overwhelmingly positive experience in my life.
In fact, I tell everyone this when they email to ask me my opinion on the procedure: NovaSure is the best health decision I’ve made for myself. Ever.
As I shared before, the procedure itself went just fine. Here’s my breakdown of what happened — or didn’t — in the months after my endometrial ablation.
1. Yes to the watery discharge. My doctor warned me that I could experience up to six weeks of watery discharge after the procedure. He didn’t lie. This ranks as the “worst” part of the procedure — which is to say, not very horrible at all. The end of the discharge ran right into my first post-procedure period. Which wasn’t even a period.
2. My first post-procedure periods were weird. I use the word “weird” to mean both “different” and, yes, “weird.” It’s weird to all of a sudden have vastly different periods than those you have suffered through for 20 years. Really weird. The kicker? There was no crazy, omg-someone-must-be-dying bleeding. I had minimal (understatement) spotting. The end. No, really.
3. My first post-procedure periods lacked almost all period symptoms. Check this: No bloating. No breast tenderness. No cramps! No mood swings! It was the Best Thing Ever!
4. One period-related symptom that may or not have been caused by the hormonal change: Breakout city. My skin (mostly my chin) broke out with the onset of my second post-procedure cycle… and didn’t stop for months and months. I don’t know if this was directly related to how my body was adjusting to having no outlet for monthly woe or if it was just sad, pimply timing. All the same, I’ve got my skin back under control at 10 months post-NovaSure. Whew!
5. Weight loss! I mentioned NovaSure in my weight loss post, and I maintain that the two were directly related. With the lack of monthly bloating, I found myself able to maintain any weight lost during the month and continue forward with my weight loss journey. I know one big search for NovaSure is “weight gain,” and that simply wasn’t my experience. Then again, I was making smart food decisions and running my butt off, so it’s not like I sat on the couch for 10 months and expected a miracle by way of a medical procedure.
6. 10 months later, my period lasts 2 days. I had a couple of cycles after the first few that made me wonder if my endometrial ablation was somehow undoing itself. I had a couple of clots, a couple of gushes, and a couple of periods that lasted longer than four days. (Please note: I had multiple periods that lasted over 14 days in the past, so fretting over a period longer than 4 days felt ridiculous.) Those periods have not happened again. Here’s an example of what my cycle is like now: I was set to get my period the Monday of BlogHer ’13 week. Instead, it started on Saturday afternoon. I stopped to buy my first box of Instead cups in over four months (because I hadn’t used enough in one box to warrant another purchase!), bought extra pantyliners, and packed all of the stuff for a Traveling Period. It was over before Monday. No lie. Over, completely gone, out the door, TTFN. Less than two days. Winning.
7. The only symptom I have now is breast tenderness. A day or two before my non-period, as I refer to it now, arrives, I have a bit of breast tenderness. I don’t even really notice it until I take my bra off at the end of the day and think, “Hmm, that feels weird.” Then I look at my calendar, nod, and go to bed.
8. Yay sex life! That’s all I need to say about that, isn’t it?
Those are the things most asked by people who have emailed me over the past 10 months. Mainly people want to know if I had any horror stories (no), if my cycle is much better (omg, yes!), and if I would recommend the procedure (goodness yes!). In fact, I recommend the procedure to every woman I come in contact with who mentions the word period — though I do remind people that you can’t have it prior to being done having your children, so it’s not a valid option for some women. Yet.
I was thrilled to find out that the Change Your Cycle booth was at BlogHer ’13 this year. I walked up to them and began word-vomiting about how they changed my life. It’s true. Granted, I made a lot of other changes in my life over the past year, but this helped in many aspects — with the allowing me to lose weight, to lose those wicked mood swings, to not be doubled over in pain for a week. The crew at the NovaSure loved my story so much that they put me on video. I’m sure I sounded like they were paying me or that they had sponsored my procedure, but nope! My insurance totally covered NovaSure, minus my first $20 copay. $20 for a life-changing decision that improved my quality of life — AND A PLUSH UTERUS TO HUG AND TAKE ON ADVENTURES?
If you have questions about NovaSure, please don’t hesitate to ask! I also encourage you to follow @HeavyPeriods on Twitter. Check out both the Change the Cycle website and NovaSure’s informational website.