What are fibroids?
Unlike cancer, these are benign growths in the muscular wall of the uterus and their size varies from being very tiny to the size of a cantaloupe. Fibroids are very common, about 20% of the women over the age of 35 have fibroids and their majority doesn’t even know about them. Also you should know that black women have higher chances of having them than women of other races.
What is the treatment?
As it has been mentioned before embolization of the uterine fibroid is possible, but in other cases the fibroids can be shrunk. Nonetheless the medication taken for this purpose might have some serious side effects. There are also some patients who need surgery to treat the fibroids.
How does the embolization of the uterine fibroid work?
It is known that the fibroids need a large blood supply to be able to grow. In case the blood supply is stopped they will shrink or completely go away. This is what uterine fibroid embolization does: it stops the blood supply. This method works even in case you have several fibroids.
How is the embolization of the uterine fibroid done?
Although this isn’t surgery, it is still performed at the hospital. You will receive medication that will relax you but no general anesthesia is used. The good thing about the procedure is that it isn’t painful. The specialist will make an incision in your groin area and will pass a tiny tube through it that is known as the catheter, to the uterus.
Then the uterine fibroid embolization is continued through injecting tiny particles through the catheter. These are made of plastic or gelatin sponge and they are as small as grains of sand. These get to the arteries that transport the blood to the fibroid. The particles will stop the blood from getting to the fibroid.
How successful is embolization of the uterine fibroid?
Usually the procedure is a total success. According to certain studies about 85-95% of women have experienced improvement regarding abnormal bleeding. About 80% of the patients have relief of pain and between 60 and 96% of women have an improvement regarding the pelvic pressure or heaviness.
What are the advantages of uterine fibroid embolization?
There are numerous advantages of embolization of uterine fibroid over surgery. One of them is that the patients have to spend only one night in hospital. You can go on with your natural activities about one week after the procedure. In case you have surgery you will need more time to be able to do so. Also there is no significant blood loss, you don’t need general anesthesia and there is no need for a surgical incision.
The doctor will decide together with you whether you are a suitable candidate for uterine fibroid embolization or not.