Non-surgical treatments for fibroids
Fibroids are relatively common, affecting an estimated 20-80% of women of reproductive age. African-American women are more likely to develop fibroids than other racial groups, and they tend to develop them at a younger age. While fibroids can occur in women of any age, they are most commonly diagnosed during a woman's 30s and 40s.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are non-cancerous (benign) growths that develop in or around the uterus. They vary in size and can grow as a single tumor or in clusters. Fibroids can be tiny, like a seed, or large, like a grapefruit.
What causes fibroids?
The exact cause of fibroids is unknown. However, it is thought that they may be influenced by hormonal changes. Estrogen and progesterone are two hormones involved in the development of fibroids. Fibroids develop when there are changes in these hormone levels during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
Are fibroids cancerous?
No, fibroids are not cancerous. They are benign growths that do not spread to other parts of the body.
What symptoms do fibroids cause?
Fibroids can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on their size and location. Symptoms can vary with the stage of the menstrual cycle. Some women with fibroids have no symptoms at all. For others, symptoms may include:
- Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding
- Anemia (low iron levels) from heavy menstruation
- Pelvic pain or pressure
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder fully
- Backache or leg pain
- Pain during intercourse
When should I see a doctor?
You should see your doctor if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms. In some cases, fibroids can make it difficult to become pregnant. If you are trying to conceive and have been unsuccessful, your doctor may
What are the risk factors for developing fibroids?
While fibroids can occur in any woman, certain risk factors may increase your risk, including:
Family history. If your mother or sisters have had fibroids, you are more likely to develop them as well.
African-American race. African-American women are more likely to develop fibroids than other racial groups.
Obesity. Women who are obese are at increased risk for developing fibroids.
What are the treatment options for fibroids?
Treatment for fibroids depends on a variety of factors, including your age, symptoms, and whether you hope to become pregnant in the future. Treatment options include:
Watchful waiting. If you have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, your doctor may recommend simply monitoring your fibroids.
Medication. If your symptoms are moderate, your doctor may prescribe medication to help relieve them. But if you stop the medications the fibroids may grow again.
Surgery. If medications don't relieve your symptoms or you wish to become pregnant in the future, surgery may be an option.
Non-surgical treatments: A new, same-day, outpatient procedure called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is available to treat symptomatic uterine fibroids. UFE is a minimally invasive alternative to hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) for the treatment of uterine fibroids. Small particles are injected into the uterine arteries, which supply blood to the fibroids. This blocks the blood flow to the fibroids and shrinks them.
What are surgical treatments for fibroids?
Surgery for fibroids includes:
Myomectomy. This surgical procedure removes fibroids while preserving the uterus. It is often performed laparoscopically (through small incisions in the abdomen). An abdominal myomectomy is a major surgery using a normal abdominal incision for a conventional "open" surgery. The "open" method is used for the removal of subserosal or intramural fibroids that are large and/or numerous, or when cancer is suspected. An incision is made through the skin on the lower abdomen often called a "bikini cut." Side effects for myomectomy include infection, heavy bleeding during surgery, and damage to the surrounding organs. Also, the fibroids can grow back.
Hysterectomy. A hysterectomy involves removing the uterus. This is a permanent solution and is only recommended if other treatments have failed or if you do not wish to become pregnant in the future. Also since the pelvic floor is disrupted pelvic floor prolapse can result leading to urinary incontinence or the need for a pessary.
The prognosis after treatment for fibroids is generally good. If you have a myomectomy, there is a chance that the fibroids will grow back. However, this is less likely if the entire fibroid is removed. If you have a hysterectomy, you will no longer be able to become
Uterine artery embolization (UAE). UAE is a minimally invasive procedure that blocks blood flow to the fibroids, causing them to shrink.
Imaging & Interventional Specialists offer FDA-approved treatments (non-surgical alternatives) for uterine fibroids.
Call us now or schedule an appointment to discuss your condition and your options.
What are the non surgical treatments for uterine fibroids?
What medications can be used?
Medications used to treat fibroids include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These can help relieve pain and cramping associated with fibroids.
Oral contraceptives. Birth control pills can help regulate hormone levels, which may reduce the growth of fibroids.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists. GnRH agonists work by reducing levels of estrogen, which can shrink fibroids and relieve symptoms.
Progestin-releasing intrauterine device (IUD). This type of IUD releases progestin, which can help to shrink fibroids.
Of the non surgical procedures for uterine fibroids which one is best?
Uterine fibroid embolization has emerged as the best non surgical treatment for fibroids over the past 20 years since it is an outpatient, same day "pinhole" procedure. In Europe it is the most common procedure performed for fibroids. In the US it is gaining popularity as more and more women are becoming aware of its existence and success rates.
UFE has a very high success rate, with over 95% of women experiencing either a significant reduction in fibroid size or complete resolution of their symptoms. Recovery from the procedure is usually quite easy, with most women returning to work and their regular activities within days.
What is uterine fibroid embolization or artery embolization?
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive, nonsurgical procedure that can be used to treat symptomatic uterine fibroids.
During the procedure, a small catheter is inserted into an artery in your leg or wrist and threaded through the blood vessels feeding the uterus. Once the catheter is in place, small particles are injected into the uterine arteries, which supply blood to the fibroids. This blocks the blood flow to the fibroids and shrinks them.
What is the success rate of UFE?
UFE has a success rate of about 85-95%. This means that for every 10 women who have the procedure, 9 will have their symptoms relieved. However, there is a small chance that the fibroids will grow back after UFE.
If you are considering UFE, it is important to consult with a doctor who is experienced in performing the procedure.
What are the risks of uterine fibroid embolization?
UFE is a safe and effective treatment for symptomatic uterine fibroids; however, there are some risks including small risks of infection and cramping.
Can uterine fibroid embolization treat all types of fibroids?
Fibroids are classified by their location as either submucosal, intramural, subserosal or pedunculated. UFE can effectively treat all types of fibroids; however, it is most effective for treating submucosal fibroids, subserosal fibroids, and intramural fibroids.
How do Imaging & Interventional Specialists diagnose uterine fibroids?
At Imaging & interventional Specialists, our highly trained doctors will diagnose uterine fibroids by reviewing your medical history and conducting a physical exam. In some cases, additional testing may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Additional tests can include:
Ultrasound. This imaging test uses sound waves to produce images of the inside of your body with a detailed view of you fibroids
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI uses magnetic fields to produce images of your pelvis, uterus, and fibroids. This test can be used to confirm the diagnosis of fibroids and to determine their size, location, and type. The MRI is used as a baseline study to assess treatment success.
Why Imaging & interventional Specialists?
Imaging & interventional Specialists are leaders in interventional radiology delivering world-class treatment for uterine fibroids. Our physicians are experts in the minimally invasive procedures to address your uterine fibroids
Using state-of-the-art equipment, our experienced board-certified specialists are focused on your best outcome.
At Imaging & Interventional Specialists board-certified physicians offer in-house testing to determine the cause and develop an individualized treatment plan for your uterine fibroids