Understanding Various Fibroid Treatment Options Available Today
Your doctor may recommend uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) as an alternative to hysterectomy, which is essentially fibroid treatment without surgery. The advantages of UFE over surgery are the following:
- Safer: UFE is a safer procedure than myomectomy or hysterectomy
- No General Anesthesia: UFE is performed using conscious (IV and local) sedation.
- No Surgical Incisions: With UFE, only a band-aid is needed to cover the entry site.
- Excellent results: UFE has a very high clinical success and patient satisfaction rate.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) may also be referred to as Uterine Artery Embolization or (UAE) and is now the latest and most effective of the fibroid treatment options.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization is a safe, non-invasive procedure using interventional radiology for the direct treatment of fibroids in the uterus. UFE involves the injection of tiny particles into the artery leading to the fibroid to cut off the blood flow to the tumor. Once the artery is completely blocked, the fibroid will no longer have a regular supply of blood causing the tumor to shrink and reducing or eliminating symptoms.
UTERINE FIBROID EMBOLIZATION TREATMENT
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), begins with a tiny incision in the groin area or wrist. This incision provides the interventional radiologist (IR) with access to arteries that feed the fibroids. Using specialized X-ray equipment, the IR passes a catheter (small tube) into the incision to the uterine artery and guides it near the location of the fibroid tumor.
When the IR has reached the location of the fibroids, embolic material (small spheres) is injected through the catheter and into the blood vessels feeding the fibroids, depriving them of oxygenated blood. The oxygen deprivation results in the fibroids shrinking. The embolic material remains permanently in the blood vessels at the fibroid site. The catheter is then moved to the other side of the uterus. Once the IR has completed embolization of the uterine artery on both sides, the catheter is gently removed.
The entire UFE treatment typically lasts less than one hour and is typically performed as an outpatient procedure.
Preventative care for fibroid tumors includes eating healthy and exercise to maintain a healthy body weight. Estrogen is stored in your body fat and fibroid tumors are estrogen-sensitive. By reducing body fat, women may also reduce fibroids.
When it comes to your diet make sure to add plenty of fresh and cooked green vegetables, fresh fruit, legumes, and fish to your plate. An anti inflammatory diet is one way to do this. Research shows that eating these foods regularly may help lower your risk for fibroids. It has been shown that eating soy, beef, ham, lamb, and other red meat may raise your risk.
WHAT ARE SOME OTHER FIBROID TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR FIBROID TUMORS?
Hormone therapy and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications may also be effective to prevent or treat mild fibroids.
Hormones are directly related to the development and growth of uterine fibroids. Hormone therapy pills may be used to control certain hormone levels limiting or eliminating fibroid growth in the uterus.
Heavy menstruation and prolonged bleeding are common symptoms of severe uterine fibroid tumors. Hormone therapy may also be used to help reduce bleeding and other symptoms from fibroids.
Risks of continued hormone therapy use include blood clots, heart attack, and stroke, particularly in patients that smoke. Also, weight gain, mood changes, migraines, and the potential for increased risk of breast cancer.
Traditional fibroid treatment options in the past have primarily been surgical. For women during childbearing years, a myomectomy is performed to remove fibroids and sew the uterus back together. For other women a hysterectomy is performed where the uterus is removed, with or without the ovaries.
Risks of surgery include prolonged hospital stay and recovery time of up to 2-3 months. Increased blood loss, blood clots, infection, damage to bladder and/or bowel are also risks.
You will want to learn about and evaluate the different options for fibroid tumor treatment. Even if you and your uterine fibroid specialist decide that fibroid surgery is the best course for you, the decisions don’t end there. Your best method to remove fibroids depends on several factors:
- Location of your fibroids
- The number of tumors you have
- The size of the growths in your uterus
- The severity of your menstrual symptoms
- If you’re hoping to become pregnant
Based on these key factors, your fibroid tumor treatment is individualized to suit your specific needs and goals. The most common surgical procedures include:
- Endometrial ablation, a procedure that destroys the endometrium – the lining of your uterus – with the goal of reducing your menstrual flow. In some women, menstrual flow may stop completely. Endometrial ablation is not a form of fibroid removal and is not recommended if you hope to become pregnant in the future. It’s ideal if you’re seeking to relieve the heavy bleeding that results from fibroids. General anesthesia or epidurals are typically administered for pain. No incisions are needed, your doctor inserts slender tools through your cervix — the passageway between your vagina and your uterus. The tools vary, depending on the method used to destroy the endometrium. Some types of endometrial ablation use extreme cold, while other methods depend on heated fluids, microwave energy or high-energy radio frequencies. Endometrial ablation can only be used to treat submucosal fibroids that are less than one inch in diameter.
- Myomectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove fibroids, noncancerous tumors that grow in or on the muscle lining of the uterus. Since it does not involve the full removal of the uterus, in many cases this particular procedure helps preserve or improve the woman’s fertility. VIVA EVE offers the most advanced fibroid treatments options available in the USA. Come see our new cutting edge, state-of-the-art fibroid treatment center and meet our doctors to get the pain relief you need in the safe, reassuring hands of the best fibroid specialists.
- Hysterectomy is a major operation that’s only recommended if other treatment options have been unsuccessful and no other method would work for the patient’s specific symptoms.
Hysterectomy has a 30% complication rate while in the hospital (typically infection or fever), and an additional risk of more serious complications such as hemorrhage (requiring transfusion), or injury to the bladder, ureter, or bowel. One-third of patients who underwent a hysterectomy, undergo another related surgery within 2 years (examples: adhesions, bowel obstructions). Surgically removing an enlarged fibroid uterus weakens the pelvic floor muscles which often lead to urinary leaking or incontinence. Other risks include
- Injury to Adjacent Organs: Most commonly injured are the bladder, ureter, and bowel
- Post-operative bleeding requiring a blood transfusion
- Infections or wound issues
- Long-term Side Effects: Many women suffer side effects long after their hysterectomies. Hysterectomy can affect women psychologically (like a man being castrated), sexually (loss of libido or orgasm), can cause increased bone loss, weight gain, and can elevate cardiovascular risk (leading to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke).