An African-American woman with a hot water bottle on her abdomen, in bed.

Why do Fibroids Cause Pain

Michelle has had heavy periods with bad cramps since her teenage years. She was told that her period would change as she got older and the pain and heavy flow would ease—the opposite turned out to be true for Michelle. Now in her thirties, it wasn’t uncommon for her to miss two or three days of work when she menstruated. She spent those days in bed swapping a hot water bottle from her abdomen to her lower back between naps and popping ibuprofen every four hours for the cramps and the leg pain.

Michelle first learned she might have uterine fibroids when she searched her symptoms online and discovered the Uterine Fibroid Symptoms Quiz from USA Fibroid Centers. All the symptoms hit home for her:

  • heavy periods that last longer than a week
  • pelvic pain and pressure
  • pain in the back and legs
  • bloating and belly protrusion
  • constipation and frequent urination
  • painful intercourse
  • fatigue

When the interventional radiologist at USA Fibroid Centers mapped her fibroids, Michelle found out why her back and legs hurt so much when she was on her period: One of the fibroids was pressing against her spine and her sciatic nerve. She asked the doctor what her options were, as the only option she could think of was hysterectomy, and wasn’t sure about this procedure called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).

UFE, though a relatively new procedure, has become the gold standard for minimally invasive fibroid treatment. It is FDA-approved and treats all the fibroids at once without having to lose your uterus, should you want to have children. UFE is performed as an outpatient procedure, so there are no costs or time lost associated with a hospital stay.

The first step in the treatment is to give you a sedative to help you relax. Then, you are given a local anesthetic, and the interventional radiologist makes a very tiny incision in your upper thigh—not a large incision in your abdomen like a hysterectomy. A catheter is inserted into the artery that supplies the fibroid, and delivers a fluid that carries particles that block off blood flow to the fibroid. This will cause the fibroid to shrink over time. Then, after a couple of hours, you are sent home to recover. No stitches are needed—you only need a bandage for an incision so small. The procedure takes approximately 30-45 minutes, and full recovery takes one to two weeks.

Michelle took the plunge and got the UFE treatment. She has no regrets. Her fibroids are gone; her periods are lighter and shorter; her pelvic, back, and leg pain is eliminated; her energy has returned; she enjoys her sex life again.

If you’re experiencing painful fibroid symptoms, and you’re looking for a minimally invasive and non-surgical alternative to hysterectomy, look no further than USA Vein Clinics. Our interventional radiologists have the knowledge and skill to help you get healthy and live your best life. Call us today at (855) 667-4247. Treatments at USA Fibroid Centers are covered by Medicare, most insurance plans, and Medicaid.

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