The government has approved a new method to treat women suffering excessive menstrual bleeding, a device that uses radio waves to zap the tissue at fault. Millions of women suffer menorrhagia, benign but troubling menstrual bleeding so excessive they can require more than 20 tampons in a single day. Thousands of women every year get hysterectomies to cure menorrhagia, while other women try hormone treatment.
The other option is to destroy part of the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium. Gynecologists can scrape off part of the endometrium, much as they do during abortion, or can use one of a handful of outpatient FDA-approved devices that destroy the endometrium by freezing or heating it.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Novacept Inc.'s NovaSure system as an outpatient electronic treatment for women hoping to cure the bleeding without a hysterectomy. NovaSure is the first of those outpatient options that heats the endometrium using radio-frequency energy. The company said it will begin selling the devices to gynecologists in mid-November.