Uterine fibroids are benign, muscular tumors of the uterus that develop during a woman’s childbearing years. Over half of all women develop fibroids at some point in their lives, with Hispanic and African American women having a higher incidence overall. Fibroids can vary in size and location, with symptoms being a result of both of these factors.
Symptoms of uterine fibroids
The most common symptoms include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Periods that last more than a week
- Backache or leg pains
- Pelvic pain or pressure that doesn’t go away
- Frequent urination
How to treat uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids can be treated in multiple ways. Birth control medication can alleviate some symptoms, however, it is only a short-term solution.
Ablation is a newer surgical treatment in which a needle is placed into the fibroid, connected to a generator, and the fibroid is “burned,” or ablated. Ablation is limited by size, number, and location of the fibroids. It is also not covered by all insurance plans.
Myomectomy is selective surgical excision of external fibroids. While less invasive than hysterectomy, this is also limited by the location of the fibroid. If the symptoms are being caused by a fibroid near the endometrium (submucosal or internal fibroid), then myomectomy is not able to treat this fibroid. Myomectomy has shown to have higher symptom recurrence rates than UFE and hysterectomy.
Hysterectomy is an invasive, surgical treatment where the uterus is permanently removed. This is typically performed in the hospital with general anesthesia and may require hospitalization. Of the treatment options, it carries with it the highest risk of major complications and has the longest recovery.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that shrinks the fibroids on the uterus by cutting off the blood supply to the fibroids. While many are not familiar with the procedure, it has been performed for over thirty years, is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and has the lowest complication rates of any of the procedural treatment options. It has proven to be equally effective at symptomatic resolution as hysterectomy, all while preserving the uterus. There is no limitation on size and number of fibroids that can be treated and do not require a hospital stay.
When should you see an endovascular specialist?
If you have symptoms from uterine fibroids, it is time to seek treatment. UFE is a great alternative to surgery to treat fibroids and minimize complications and recurrence. You should see an endovascular specialist if you are interested in UFE for any of the following reasons:
- Short recovery period
- Low complication rate
- No incisions
- Preserved fertility
- If you can’t or don’t want to undergo general anesthesia
Talk to your doctor about endovascular treatment at ECCO Medical or contact us HERE. Our expert physicians will help you determine if UFE is right for you.
ECCO Medical – 8080 Park Meadows Dr. Suite 150, Lone Tree, CO 80124