In the U.S., between 70-80 percent of women will develop fibroids by the age of 50. While some women don’t experience any pain at all, other women are forced to tolerate uncomfortable symptoms such as excessive and prolonged menstrual bleeding, intense cramping, anemia causing fatigue, constipation, bloating, and pain during sex. According to the National Institute of Health, over 200,000 hysterectomies are performed every year to eliminate fibroid and fibroid symptoms; however, invasive surgeries are not the only option.
Being diagnosed with fibroids and trying to choose the right treatment can be an intimidating experience. Even though fibroids are common, many women feel overwhelmed and under-educated when it comes time to managing their fibroid symptoms. Before getting invasive, irreversible surgery you should consult with multiple fibroid doctors regarding how different procedures may affect your body.
It’s crucial to choose a fibroid doctor that doesn’t suggest invasive surgeries as being the only course of action available. Many women head into their first fibroid treatment consultation blindly, and come out wishing they had asked their doctor specific questions that could ease their concerns. There’s nothing worse than leaving a doctor’s office with your questions and concerns unanswered.
Here are a few questions that are important to ask your physician, in order to fully understand fibroid treatment:
1. Are fibroids cancerous?
No, they are one of the most common benign tumors affecting up to 80% of women by age 50.
2. How do fibroids develop?
The direct cause of fibroids is unknown because of their unpredictability, but they are most common in women during their reproductive years and African-American women.
3. Are there different kinds of fibroids?
Yes, there are four types of fibroids and they are classified by where they are located. Intramural (most common, it is embedded in the muscular wall of the womb), subserosal (these grow in the surrounding outer uterine tissue layer), cervical (grow near the cervix and can lead to painful sex), and submucosal (these can grow outwardly into the cavity of the womb).
4. What problems can fibroids cause?
Fibroids can lead to: painful sex, excessive bleeding, prolonged menstruation, intense cramping, fatigue due to anemia, frequent urination, constipation, infertility (in rare cases), back or leg pain, bloating, and difficulty sleeping.
5. What is an interventional radiologist?
Interventional radiologists, also known as a fibroid doctor, specialize in minimally-invasive, image-guided (ultrasound, x-ray fluoroscopy, MRI, etc.) diagnosis and treatment of health conditions, including fibroids.
6. How do I know if I have fibroids?
If you experience heavy, irregular periods paired with severe abdominal cramping, you should schedule an appointment with one of our fibroid doctors. If you are diagnosed with fibroids, they will create a personalized treatment plan that’s right for you.
7. What are my options when it comes to treatment?
You can choose between invasive and minimally invasive procedures. Invasive procedures include: hysterectomy and myomectomy and minimally invasive procedures include: uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). At USA Fibroid Centers, we exclusively practice UFE for fibroid treatment.
8. What makes UFE better than an invasive surgery?
- No scarring
- No hospital stay
- No general anesthesia, just local
- Shorter recovery period
- Preserves the uterus
- Doesn’t interfere with hormonal balance
- Relieves symptoms almost immediately
9. When can I expect to start feeling better?
You can expect to feel your symptoms to diminish a few days after the procedure. The first few days, you may experience some discomfort and pain due to the procedure cutting the fibroids’ blood supply off, inevitably shrinking them and alleviating your symptoms. Every patient is different and while some do not experience this discomfort at all, some may need an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory to combat this temporary pain. After a few days, your symptoms should disappear.
10. How long does it take to recover?
With UFE, you can expect to fully recover between 1-2 weeks. During the months following your procedure, you will return to the doctor’s office for a few routine follow-up appointments.
If you’re experiencing unpleasant fibroid symptoms, and looking for a minimally invasive, non-surgical alternative to hysterectomy, schedule a consultation with us today. Our interventional radiologists have years of experience helping women like you find lasting relief from painful fibroid symptoms. Our treatment is covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, just give us a call at 855.615.2555 to verify your coverage before you schedule.