If you’ve been diagnosed with uterine fibroids and have been delaying seeking treatment, you’re not alone.
According to research conducted by consulting firm Harris Interactive, women with fibroids wait three 1/2 years on average before seeking treatment. Significant concerns over a lack of treatment options, particularly uterus-sparing options, are often the reason women with fibroids continue to live with their condition, despite worsening symptoms.
“There is a widespread lack of knowledge among women that there are other, less invasive treatments that can improve quality of life,” says Dr. Nithya Gopal, OB/GYN and Uterine Doctor at VIVA EVE. “Many physicians prescribe a hysterectomy without exploring other options with the patient. It’s estimated that 20 percent of all hysterectomies are unnecessary because physicians are under-utilizing alternative treatments.”
Interested in learning about your uterus-sparing fibroid treatment options?
Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive procedure that blocks blood flow to fibroids, causing them to shrink or disappear entirely. It is performed by an interventional radiologist, who uses a form of real-time x-ray called fluoroscopy to guide the delivery of embolic spheres to the uterus and fibroids. Women typically recovery within one week and recurrence is uncommon. UFE is 90 percent successful in relieving symptoms.
Hormonal medications for fibroids are highly effective at reducing bleeding and decreasing fibroid tumor size. By blocking the production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone, menstruation is halted and fibroids shrink. Health problems, such as anemia, are able to improve. Typically, hormonal treatment is recommended for a maximum of six months, otherwise, it may lead to early menopause-like symptoms, including osteoporosis (bone loss).
Endometrial ablation is a procedure in which the lining of the uterus is removed in order to reduce bleeding. In most cases, periods stop or have a very light flow. This procedure typically only takes 3 to 5 minutes to complete, and most women recover within one week. Women with symptoms related to fibroid bulk may be better suited for other treatment options, as this technique is primarily successful in relieving symptoms related to menorrhagia.
A myomectomy is the surgical removal of fibroids. It relieves symptoms and preserves the uterus. This procedure can be done in one of three ways based on the size and location of your fibroids. Recovery can vary from two days to six weeks, depending on the techniques performed by your doctor. Open surgery requires the longest recovery time. Fibroids may recur, particularly in women with many fibroids.
The best way to start your fibroid journey is by finding the right team to explore your treatment options with.