Treatment for Uterine Fibroids
What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous, smooth, muscular tumors that develop on the inside of a woman’s uterus. Benign tumors (also known as fibromas or myomas) are curable, slow-growing growths that are so prevalent that 30% of all women develop them by the age of 35, with as many as 70% to 80% of women experiencing them by the age of 50. Although they can be painful and debilitating, fortunately, these fibroids are benign and do not raise a woman’s risk of uterine cancer.
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Over time, progressively heavier and longer periods, or menstrual cycles
- Higher frequency of fatigue and dizziness, along with other symptoms of anemia
- Pelvic discomfort which includes feelings of fullness or heaviness
- Pain in the lower back or legs
- Pressure and bloating in the pelvic area
- Constipation and an enlarged abdomen
- Pressure on the bladder from fibroids causing an increase in urinary frequency
- Feelings of pain during intercourse
- Sometimes infertility is a consequence of numerous or large fibroids
What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)?
Uterine fibroids have historically been treated using a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) or other modalities that prevented women from getting pregnant. At MIVA, we prefer the less-invasive technique of Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) over a more invasive one.
During this treatment, an interventional radiologist inserts a small catheter into the arteries that feed the fibroids and determines their precise location via X-ray. Exceedingly small particles are then injected into the arteries to stop the local blood supply, causing the fibroids to shrink, with the possibility of disappearing entirely.
On an outpatient basis, the UFE technique is conducted in our office-based laboratory. Because there are no incisions, the treatment itself has few dangers, and the lack of trauma to the uterus allows you to keep your ability to conceive if you so choose. Many patients describe significant drops in their premenstrual syndrome symptoms, which can sometimes happen as soon as the following menstrual cycle.
© Merit Medical, Used With Permission
© Merit Medical, Used With Permission
What is the most effective therapy for uterine fibroids?
There are several alternatives to consider when it comes to this issue. A total hysterectomy is the most successful at alleviating uterine fibroid discomfort since the whole uterus is removed. It is also the riskiest operation with a long recovery period and is not suitable for people who wish to have children.
Myomectomy is the removal of fibroids only, leaving the uterus intact. This operation is not as successful as a hysterectomy is in alleviating symptoms, but it has all the risks associated with surgery (bleeding, infection, longer recovery time, and necessitates general anesthesia). Symptoms also suggest that the fibroid is in the uterus, so if the fibroid causing bleeding or discomfort is not entirely removed (as occasionally happens), a needless surgery was conducted. Symptoms can return if new fibroids develop.
There is a great deal of data reflecting UFE as an equally effective alternative to a surgical approach to uterine fibroids. There is also data showing that UFE is, in some cases, considered better than a myomectomy. There is also less danger and a quicker recovery time than surgical procedures. It is also great because it can be done without the need for hospitalization.
Patients must evaluate these therapy choices and select the finest treatment strategy for the treatment of their uterine fibroids. Those who are in their childbearing years should strongly consider non-surgical alternatives, and those who would rather not take the chance of surgery should seriously examine UFE as an option.
What are the most prevalent causes of uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are linked to obesity, multiple births, ethnicity (whereas they are more common in African Americans than other races), and hereditary conditions. Estrogen and progesterone produce cyclical overstimulation of the uterine muscular tissues, which leads to uterine fibroids.
What are the symptoms of Uterine Fibroids?
Symptoms can range from moderate to severe. The most prevalent symptoms are constant or cyclical pelvic discomfort, heavy menstrual bleeding, and/or irregular or lengthy periods. In other circumstances, the fibroids can be found on top of the urinary bladder, preventing it from completely filling and causing frequent urination. A fibroid, in rare circumstances, may press on the ureter (tube connecting the kidney to the bladder) and obstruct urine flow into the bladder, resulting in kidney impairment. If you believe you may have uterine fibroids, investigate treatment options, and choose the one that interests you the most. Continue your research and see whether any additional tests are required. Consult with your primary care doctor about getting you to the right specialist. You can also call to make an appointment with one of our MIVA Medical experts.
How is this procedure performed?
MIVA Medical’s endovascular facility does the UFE procedure. It is completed as an outpatient procedure. This procedure does not require general anesthesia. To keep patients comfortable throughout the treatment, we employ moderate sedation. It usually takes around 1-1.5 hours, with an hour’s rest in after you are out of the procedure.
An ultrasound-guided needle is inserted into the wrist or groin artery for a uterine artery embolization treatment. Under X-ray supervision, a tiny wire is introduced through that needle into the vessel. The catheter is then moved to the pelvis. The uterine artery is identified via the use of contrast dye that may be seen on an X-ray image. The wire is guided into the uterine artery after that. A tiny, specialized tube called a microcatheter is then placed over the wire and advanced into the vessel. Uterine artery embolization is the surgical treatment of choice for fibroids. Tiny beads are injected into the vessels feeding the fibroids to block blood flow. The beads compress in the fibroid capillaries, blocking blood flow, causing them to shrink or disappear.