If you have been diagnosed with uterine fibroids, you may be wondering how to treat them. These non-cancerous growths in the uterus may be discovered in a routine pelvic examination, or you may have noticed symptoms like excessive bleeding during your period, pressure in the pelvic area, bleeding between periods, lower back pain, constipation, and frequent urination.
You may believe that the only solution is a partial hysterectomy, which removes the uterus. In some cases, a physician might recommend a complete hysterectomy, which includes the removal of the ovaries and cervix. This is a major surgical procedure, which requires a hospital stay and an extended recovery time.
Thanks to medical advances, you have other options. At USA Fibroid Centers, we specialize in a non-surgical treatment option called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). UFE is a minimally invasive alternative to hysterectomy that shrinks fibroids and keeps the uterus intact, allowing women to preserve their fertility. UFE is an outpatient treatment, which means patients do not undergo general anesthesia and can go home the same day.
Our accomplished fibroid specialists can let you know what to expect when it comes to shrinking fibroids.
What Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization and How Can It Shrink Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids need blood and oxygen to grow, and uterine arteries are the main source of blood and oxygen to fibroids. Halting the blood supply from those arteries can shrink fibroids and can alleviate fibroid symptoms.
During UFE treatment, our interventional radiologists use an ultrasound to locate the fibroids, then use an X-ray to guide a tiny catheter into the uterine artery supplying blood to the fibroid(s). Embolic agents are injected into the artery, which are liquid materials that block the flow of blood and oxygen to the fibroid. One of the most commonly used agents is polyvinyl alcohol. Over time, the fibroid will shrink and be reabsorbed into the body.
What Are the Benefits of Shrinking Fibroids Over Surgically Removing Them?
Shrinking fibroids through UFE has several benefits over having them removed surgically. One of the biggest benefits of UFE is that the patient can still conceive and carry a baby because their uterus remains intact. A recent study showed that 41% of women were able to get pregnant within one year after seeking treatment for fibroids. This same study showed that UFE was effective in relieving the symptoms of fibroids, which improved their quality of life.
Many patients are afraid of undergoing a major surgery like a hysterectomy. Another advantage of UFE is that it is an outpatient treatment, and doesn’t require the hospital stay or general anesthesia necessary for a hysterectomy. The patient is allowed to go home the same day, which means less time away from family and work.
Consider the differences between UFE and a hysterectomy and the benefits that UFE provides in addition to the ones mentioned here.
How Long Does It Take After UFE for Fibroids to Shrink?
After UFE treatment, fibroids are slowly reabsorbed into the body. During this time, the patient may notice that their symptoms are lessening. The blood supply is cut off immediately following the procedure, which stops the fibroid from growing. How long it takes for the fibroids to shrink enough to be noticeable will depend on the size of the fibroid and each individual’s medical condition.
About 92% of women who have had UFE report an improvement in uterine fibroid symptoms three months after having the procedure.
USA Fibroid Centers offers hope to women who want to avoid a major surgical procedure for the treatment of their fibroids. Our experienced fibroid specialists provide results with a non-surgical method, which requires less recovery time and has fewer side effects. The specialists at USA Fibroid Centers have been successful in treating countless women for uterine fibroids with UFE. If you would like to know more about UFE and shrinking your fibroids, we welcome you to request a consultation today.