Dealing With Fibroids
June 3, 2013
Located in Fibroids (click link to see other articles).
Fibroids are benign, non-cancerous overgrowths arising within the muscle layer of the uterus. Fibroids oftentimes do not cause any troublesome symptoms and, in such instances, do not require treatment. Many women, however, experience abdominal swelling, heavy menstrual bleeding, uterine cramping, pelvic or back pain, discomfort with intercourse, pregnancy loss, or urinary symptoms. Women with symptoms such as these may benefit from therapy to improve their quality of life.
There are many treatment options available for symptomatic fibroids. The therapy that your physician may recommend depends on the symptoms that you are experiencing, the size and location of the fibroids, as well as your future reproductive goals.
Options include –
- Uterine myomectomy is the surgical removal of the fibroids from the uterus. Myomectomy can be performed through a traditional abdominal incision or through a minimally invasive laparoscopic or hysteroscopic procedure. The aim of uterine myomectomy is to improve the symptoms a woman is experiencing, without physically removing the entire uterus. Indeed, a unique advantage of uterine myomectomy is that a woman’s reproductive options are preserved.
- Uterine fibroid embolization is a procedure in which an Interventional Radiologist inserts a small tube into the blood vessels that supply the uterus and inject small particles that impede blood flow to the uterus. Disruption of the blood flow to the uterus will lead to shrinking of the fibroids and improvement in symptoms. Typically, this procedure is performed under light sedation and does not require general anesthesia.
- Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus and all of its accompanying fibroids. Hysterectomy, historically performed through a traditional abdominal incision, can be performed via a minimally invasive vaginal or laparoscopic approach. Following hysterectomy, a woman would not expect to have menstrual bleeding. A common misconception is that a hysterectomy requires the removal of ovaries, which are responsible for a woman’s hormone production. In many cases, removal of ovaries is not required. Preservation of ovaries will provide a woman with her natural hormones until she enters the menopausal transition.
Fibroids can significantly affect a woman’s quality of life. As there are multiple, minimally invasive options for management of symptomatic uterine fibroids, women should consult with a minimally invasive gynecologic surgery specialist to discuss the treatment that is best for her.