MSNBC Hysterectomy Unnecessary
- Created: January 13, 2008
- by: admin
By Jennifer Bihm
There is a safer, easier alternative to hysterectomy in the treatment of fibroids according to specialist Dr. Bruce McLucas founder of the UCLA- based Fibroid Treatment Collective. Emboliza-tion, a procedure that essentially involves “choking” off the blood supply to the fibroids, is performed by inserting small pellets through the arteries. Unfortunately, according to health reports, “Too many African American and other women of color, do not know about uterine fibroid embolization.
This is an important revolution in fibroid treatments, but many women do not have access to state of the art or alternative treatments that avoid hysterectomy. They may not be told about embolization because their doctor does not know how to perform it, but rather, is more skilled as a surgeon…
Fibroid tumors are benign (non-cancerous) growths. They appear on the muscular wall of the uterus. They range in size from microscopic to masses that fill the entire abdominal cavity. Fibroids consist of dense, fibrous tissue, which are nourished and sustained by a series of blood vessels.
Common symptoms include pelvic pain excessive bleeding abdominal swelling, pressure on the bowel or bladder and infertility. Fibroids affect 40 percent of all women in America and have a high rate of incidence among African Americans. There is a possible link between uterine fibroid tumors and estrogen production, McLucas said.
Myomectomy and commonly hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) are common treatments.
“But,” McLucas pointed out, [With hysterectomy] you’re really throwing out the baby with the bath water. There’s really never any reason to remove the uterus.”
In fact, removal of the uterus can have several negative side effects. These include: surgically-induced menopause, decreased ovarian function, including the production of progesterone and for premenopausal women, having a complete hysterectomy will result in changes in hormonal balance since the ovaries are no longer able to provide any hormone production.
“Most women come to us because they want to keep their uterus,” McLucas said.
“They say to me, ‘I want to be whole.’”
Uterine fibroid embolization is an outpatient procedure, resulting in less time off work, no blood loss, no risk of hepatitis or AIDS and no scar tissue. And, unlike myomectomy, a procedure that also saves the uterus by surgically removing fibroids, there is no risk of recurrence.
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