Females undergo many different  experiences thanks to their reproductive systems. From the start of puberty to the final stages of menopause, the female body goes through many changes, many of which are spurred on by hormones. One condition women in their 30s and 40s may face is the onset of heavy menstruation levels and/or irregular bleeding. 
Menorrhagia is the medical term for menstrual periods with abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding, offers The Mayo Clinic. Hormonal imbalances may cause the buildup of the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to develop in excess and eventually be shed in the form of heavy bleeding. Fibroids, dysfunction of the ovaries, polyps, cancer, and intrauterine devices all may contribute to heavier than normal periods.
Heavy menstrual cycles can impact quality of life, particularly if they are accompanied by severe cramping and bleed-through. Doctors may recommend treatment if heavy periods soak a pad or tampon every two hours or less;  if menstrual periods last longer than eight days; or if periods are accompanied with anemia from excessive blood loss, says Healthline.
Typically, hormone therapy, IUDs or medications are first prescribed to treat the problem. However, if these are not effective, a gynecologist may recommend a procedure called endometrial ablation.
To understand how endometrial ablation works, it is first necessary to comprehend the basic menstrual cycle. Each month, a woman’s body readies itself for the prospect of pregnancy. In addition to an egg being released to fertilization, the endometrium will build up in the uterus to provide a place for the fertilized egg to implant and develop. If no fertilization occurs, the egg and the lining will shed away and exit the body through menstruation.
During endometrial ablation, a doctor will perform a procedure that will permanently remove the endometrium and prevent further periods, says The Mayo Clinic. The process varies depending on certain factors, but will begin with the dilation of the cervix to allow for the insertion of medical instruments. Options to treat the endometrium include electrosurgery, cryoablation (freezing), hot fluid, heated balloon, microwave, and radiofrequency. NovaSure Endometrial Ablation uses radiofrequency distributed through a netting inserted into the uterus.
In many cases, women who have undergone endometrial ablation will gradually see their periods lighten, and some may stop altogether. The recovery time can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.
One of the risks of endometrial ablation is sterilization. Although it is not designed as a birth control method, endometrial ablation will make the endometrium unable to sustain a fertilized egg or a growing embryo, and miscarriage is likely, says Healthline. Therefore, women who are still planning to have children should not undergo the procedure. Those with uterine or endometrial cancer or other conditions may be precluded from having an ablation procedure.
Apart from cramping, watery discharge and increased urinary frequency may occur after the procedure. Rare side effects include damage to the vagina, vulva or bowels. 
Women considering endometrial ablation are urged to go over all of the benefits and risks with their doctors.