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What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization?

A uterine fibroid refers to a growth in the uterus of a woman that is typically in her child-bearing years. While uterine fibroids are not cancerous, they can result in many negative side effects for a woman, such as severe pain. In some cases, uterine fibroids can also impact a woman’s fertility. As a result of all these side effects, many women seek to have these uterine fibroids removed. One option these women have is a uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), which is generally considered to be one of the less invasive procedures for treating fibroids.

If you’re thinking about undergoing the uterine fibroid embolization procedure or would simply like to learn more about this procedure, here is some vital information you need to know about the UFE procedure.

Why should you undergo a UFE procedure?

Most women choose to undergo a UFE procedure in order to reduce the side effects associated with uterine fibroids. Besides pain, some of the common side effects of uterine fibroids include spotting, irregular menstruation, heavy menstruation, irregular uterine bleeding, cramping, and a distended abdomen. Less common side effects of uterine fibroids include pressure in the pelvis, constipation, frequent urination, and leg pains. Pains from uterine fibroids tend to afflict the abdomen, the pelvis, and the lower back. In some cases, uterine fibroids also result in painful menstruation.

Sometimes, depending on their size and location, uterine fibroids can lead to infertility or pregnancy complications. While these negative effects are fairly rare, many women prefer to be safe than sorry when it comes to their well-being and the health of their unborn child. Women with uterine fibroids who hope to conceive are advised to either treat the fibroids or have children early. This is because uterine fibroids can grow in size throughout a woman’s life. At a later age, the uterine fibroids may be large enough to impact fertility. However, uterine fibroids tend to decrease in size once a women enters menopause.

Benefits of UFE Procedures

The benefits of UFE procedures convince many women to undergo this procedure rather than others that are also designed to serve as treatment for uterine fibroids. Some of the many advantages of UFE procedures are as follows:

  • No blood loss
  • Preservation to the uterus organ
  • Decrease in dysfunction of the urinary system
  • Decrease in pain
  • Reduction of heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Covered by the vast majority of insurance companies
  • Recovery time is quick, allowing patients to leave the hospital sooner and return to work faster
  • Results in fewer complications than other procedures, such as a hysterectomy
  • A safe procedure with minimal risk

Essentially, there are many advantages of UFE procedures and very few disadvantages, which is why this option is appealing for so many women.

How is the UFE procedure performed?

The way the uterine fibroid embolization procedure works is by limiting the blood supply of the uterine fibroids. The lack of a consistent blood supply causes the uterine fibroids to shrink over time. In general, the uterine fibroid embolization procedure takes less than an hour and is performed as an outpatient therapy, which means it is not necessary for the patient to be hospitalized during or after the procedure. The reason the procedure is so short in length is because only one tiny cut into the femoral artery is required in most cases.

UFE procedures are usually performed by Interventional Radiologists (IR), who are medical doctors with great experience in the field of radiology. A woman will likely have to undergo quite a few tests before the procedure is performed in order to determine the size and location of the uterine fibroids. After the procedure, the patient may be asked to stay for up to a day in the care of the medical doctor and nurses.

To begin the UFE procedure, the medical doctor makes a small incision in the femoral artery, which is located in the thigh. The incision will give the IR access to the uterine artery via the femoral artery. This cut will allow the IR to pass a small tube called a catheter into the femoral artery and ultimately the uterine artery. The IR will use specialized X-ray equipment during the process to guide the catheter close to the location of the uterine fibroid. Once the catheter has reached the target location, embolic material will be injected into the blood flow that feeds the uterine fibroids.

This embolic material consists of small spheres that are designed to block the blood vessels that feed the fibroid with nutrients and oxygen. This deprivation of nutrients and oxygen will cause the fibroids to shrink with time. The embolic material will remain at the injection site permanently to prevent the revival of the fibroid.

The IR will then move the catheter to the uterus’ other side using the same incision of the patient’s thigh for access. Once the IR has completed the uterine fibroid embolization process, he will remove the catheter gently and use their finger to apply pressure to the incision in the thigh for a few minutes. This pressure will help slow down the bleeding. If needed, a vascular closure device will be used to close the cut.

Some common side effects after a uterine fibroid embolization procedure include pain and abdominal cramping. However, patients can expect these symptoms to disappear with time as they recover from the procedure. Your IR will recommend or prescribe medications so that you can remain comfortable during your recovery. Skilled nurses and your IR will consult with you and your OB-GYN to determine the post-procedure care you should receive and the post-procedure appointments that should be scheduled.

Without a doubt, the uterine fibroid embolization procedure is one of the least invasive ways to effectively treat uterine fibroids. As a result, more and more women are choosing to undergo the uterine fibroid embolization procedure rather than other more invasive procedures. If you have any questions about the actual procedure and the post-procedure recovery, don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Different Treatment Options for Those Dealing with Fibroids

Uterine FibroidsFibroids are benign growths in the uterus that can disappear with menopause.  While they are benign, sometimes they can be painful, cause bleeding or complications with pregnancy.  There are several treatment options, depending on the severity and number of fibroids, that you and your doctor may consider.  If you have little or no symptoms or are nearing menopause, your physician may recommend watchful waiting.  Another consideration to factor into the decision regarding treatment method is if you are wanting to preserve your fertility and are planning future pregnancies.

Fibroid Embolization

Performed by an experienced physician, the procedure blocks blood flow to fibroids in the uterus.  For women not planning a pregnancy in the near future, fibroid embolization is a non-surgical treatment option that can be considered.

A catheter is placed in the femoral artery in the upper thigh.  After injecting a contrast material, the physician will then be able to see the arteries that are supplying the blood to the fibroids.  A solution of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) is injected into the catheter to build up and block the blood flow to the fibroid.

A short procedure (1-3 hours), fibroid embolization is a treatment option for some women who have not yet reached menopause, prefer not to have a hysterectomy and do not plan on becoming pregnant in the future.  There is some pain associated with the procedure.  This can be controlled with pain medicine in the hospital and with over-the-counter pain relievers at home.  Also, there will be some residual vaginal bleeding.  This is the fibroids breaking down.  Some women have also reported passing the fibroid.  If this occurs, you should contact your physician to ensure that there is no further bleeding and to prevent potential infection.

The benefit of this procedure is that you will be able to return to your normal activities in a short period of time, usually seven to ten days.  Also, the procedure requires no general anesthesia, belly incisions or blood transfusions.  All fibroids may be treated at the same time.

Even though fibroid embolization is an effective treatment and most women report an improvement in their condition, fibroids can return.  One in five women had a hysterectomy within five years of having had a fibroid embolization.  Infection is another potential complication that can develop following fibroid embolization.  Other complications include premature menopause, loss of menstrual periods and scar tissue formations.  As a treatment option, it can be as costly as a hysterectomy.

If you would like to get pregnant in the future, fibroid embolization may not be the appropriate treatment.  It is possible to become pregnant afterwards but it may be more difficult.

Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus.  It is a proven, permanent solution to fibroids.  It is, however, major surgery and future pregnancies will not be a possibility.  Patients can elect to keep their ovaries or have them removed.  If they are removed, menopause will occur and you will need to take hormone replacement therapy.  If not treated with hormone replacement therapy, you could experience hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.  Also, without ovaries, estrogen production will cease and you will have a greater risk of osteoporosis.  If you retain your ovaries, they will continue to function but their lifespan will be reduced.

Minor complications can include mild pain, vaginal bleeding and urinary tract infections.

The benefit to a hysterectomy is that it is a permanent solution to condition.  The disadvantages are that it is a major surgery with a lengthy recovering time, pregnancy is no longer an option, and the potential of premature menopause.

Myomectomy

Another fibroid treatment option is myomectomy.  This involves the surgical removal of fibroids while leaving the uterus in place.  This procedure may also allow women to become pregnant in the future.

There are several methods used including hysteroscopy, laparoscopy and laparotomy.  The method that you and your physician decide is best for you will determine the length of your hospital stay and recovery time.  For instance, hysteroscopy is an outpatient procedure while laparotomy will require a short hospital stay.  Likewise, a lesser invasive procedure will require a short recovery time but the more invasive treatments require a recovery time of up to four to six weeks.

There is a risk that fibroid will reoccur following treatment.  Infection is also a risk.  If you do become pregnant, a caesarean may be required for delivery.  These are issues that you need to fully discuss with your physician.

There are benefits to myomectomy beyond preservation of fertility.  It can relieve anemia and pain that has not responded to treatment with medicine.  It is also a useful treatment for a fibroid that has changed the wall of the uterus, potentially causing miscarriages or, in some cases, infertility.

There are several treatment options available for fibroids.  Each offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages that must be carefully weighed and discussed with your physician.  Several important considerations are whether you have reached menopause, are planning a future pregnancy, the severity of the fibroids and the invasiveness and recovery time associated with each of the procedures.  These are issues that need to be addressed with your physician and through careful consideration of your individual situation.

Considering a Hysterectomy? Did You Know There Might be Another Option?

What is a hysterectomy?

hysterectomy for uterine fibroids A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a woman’s uterus. This procedure is recommended for a number of reasons, including uterine fibroids. In fact, uterine fibroids is one of the most common reasons to remove the uterus. There are different types of hysterectomies, depending on what is needed for the patient.

  • A total hysterectomy removes the entire uterus, including the cervix.
  • A supracervical hysterectomy removes the upper part of the uterus, but leaves the cervix. This type of hysterectomy may be performed laparoscopically.
  • A radical hysterectomy is a total hysterectomy and also includes the removal of surrounding structures, such as the ovaries or fallopian tubes. This procedure may be recommended for patients who have or may have cancer in order to ensure that all the cancerous tissue is removed.

The process of the hyterectomy depends largely on what is being done and why. The doctor will determine whether it can occur vaginally, laparoscopically, or through the abdomen. However, if the doctor decides to perform the procedure vaginally or laparoscopically, complications may require the surgeon to change the procedure in order to address problems that are detected.

What are the advantages of a hysterectomy?

One of the advantages of a hysterectomy is that it is highly adaptable based on the needs of the patient. For example, if the surgeon is doing a hysterectomy to remove cancer and determines that the cancerous tissue has spread more than originally detected, the surgeon my decide to remove additional structures to remove the rest of the cancer.
Another advantage is that it is comprehensive. Whatever problem is occurring can be taken care of right away and all at once with less risk of having to go through the surgery again later. This is particularly true in total or radical hysterectomies.

What are the disadvantages of a hysterectomy?

One major disadvantage of a hysterectomy is its permanence. When the uterus is removed, a woman is unable to carry children. For many women, this is a serious decision and may even cause women to resist undergoing a hysterectomy to deal with uterine fibroids.

What are the health risks associated with a hysterectomy?

Any type of hysterectomy is invasive, and carries risks. Patients can experience fever or infection following the procedure and have heavy bleeding afterward. The procedure can also cause injuries to the urinary tract or other organs. Afterward, even years later, patients may experience a blood clot that can travel to the lungs or a bowel blockage. There are also risks associated with the anesthesia.

Is there an alternative to a hysterectomy?

When facing the prospect of a hysterectomy to treat uterine fibroids, patients may want to seek an alternative, especially if they are young and/or still want to have children of their own. However, a “wait and see” approach is not always the best option for women. Instead, they should explore all treatment alternatives to make sure their treatment plan really is the best for them. For many women, fibroid embolization may be a valuable alternative to a hysterectomy for uterine fibroids.

What is fibroid embolization?

Fibroid embolization is a process that blocks the blood flow of fibroid in the uterus by injecting embolic agents into the uterine arteries with a catheter. The embolic agents prevent blood flow to the fibroids, which essentially starves them and prevents them from causing harm to the body. This process is completed by an experienced physician.
Fibroid embolization is a procedure used specifically for uterine fibroids, which can cause pelvic pain and heavy menstrual bleeding. It is frequently used as an alternative to surgery for women who want to keep their uteruses or who are too high risk for surgery.

What are the advantages of a fibroid embolization?

The biggest advantage of this procedure, particularly in comparison to a hysterectomy, is that it is much less invasive. This reduces the risks of complications during the procedure and risks of problems afterward. Patients are able to recover more quickly from the procedure and feel better more quickly.
In addition, this procedure does not remove the uterus, which means women who want to have children may still be able to, even after the procedure.

What are the disadvantages of a fibroid embolization?

A disadvantage of fibroid embolization is that it is a narrow procedure. The process is used to treat uterine fibroids. However, if a patient has uterine fibroids on top of other problems, fibroid embolization may not be the best solution.

What are the health risks associated with fibroid embolization?

There are similar health risks associated with fibroid embolization as there are for hysterectomy. However, these risks are diminished because the procedure is much less invasive. However, patients may still experience infection and damage to other organs. In addition, women may have problems with future pregnancies.

How do I know what is best for my health?

It is best to discuss your treatment options with your doctor to decide the best solution for you. Your doctor understands what is involved in treating your uterine fibroids and any other health problems you have. However, it is important that you ask questions and make sure you know what would be involved in a hysterectomy and a fibroid embolization so that, together, you and your doctor can make a decision.

Noticing a Stomach Bulge? You May Have Fibroids

If you are experiencing bloating, unexplained weight gain, or pain in your abdomen, you may be suffering from an enlarged uterus. The uterus is designed to expand from the size of your fist to the size of a watermelon to accommodate a growing baby. However, if your uterus is expanding and you’re not expecting, you need to see your doctor to make a diagnosis. Many times, an enlarged uterus is not a cause for alarm. However, there are some conditions that will need medical intervention.

What Are the Symptoms of an Enlarged Uterus?

The symptoms of an enlarged uterus can vary based on the condition. Sometimes women do not experience any symptoms and an enlarged uterus is only detected by a doctor’s examination. However, some or all of these symptoms may be present:

Weight Gain: Sign of Enlarged Uterus

  • Lower Abdominal Pain – Pain in the lower abdomen may indicate an enlarged uterus, but it could also be due to many other conditions.
  • Bloating – Because an enlarged uterus may press on the bowels, bloating and excess gas can occur.
  • Unexplained weight gain – Sudden weight gain often occurs when there are hormonal changes in the body. If the uterus is enlarged, women may have unexplained weight gain in the waist area.
  • Constipation – Due to pressure on the bowels, some women experience constipation when they have an enlarged uterus, although some experience diarrhea instead.
  • Headaches – An enlarged uterus has been known to cause or increase the frequency of headaches and migraines.
  • Pain – In addition to abdominal pain, an enlarged uterus can cause pelvic pain and.or pain during sex.
  • Problems with menstruation – Having an enlarged uterus can cause various problems with menstruation cycles. There may be heavy bleeding, irregular periods, spotting, and menstrual blood clotting. Because of the heavy bleeding, anemia can be a symptom of an enlarged uterus as well, causing fatigue.
  • Frequent urination – Pressure on the bladder from an enlarged uterus can cause frequent urination or incontinence issues.
  • Pregnancy or conception problems – An enlarged uterus can cause complications in women who are already pregnant, or who are trying to conceive. It can lead to premature labor and miscarriage. For those trying to conceive, it can hamper fertility.

What Are the Causes of an Enlarged Uterus?

An enlarged uterus can be caused by several different conditions, some are benign, but some of them require medical attention. The following are some of the common causes of an enlarged uterus.

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine Fibroids Cause Enlarged UterusUterine fibroids are the most common cause of an enlarged uterus, with as many as 75% of women developing them in their lifetimes. They are noncancerous tumors that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus. Some fibroids are very small, but they may grow up to be several pounds. The size of the fibroids determines the severity of the symptoms that accompany them. A woman may only have one fibroid, but there can also be multiple. Some women are more likely to get fibroids – women over 50, overweight or obese women, and African-American women. Genetic and hormonal components play a part in the growth of fibroids.

Adenomyosis

Adenomyosis occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus starts to grow into its muscular wall. The cause of adenomyosis isn’t known, but it does usually occur in women over 30 who have had children. It is also more common in women who have previously had uterine surgery, including C-sections. This condition can cause long and heavy periods and progressively more painful periods. Adenomyosis typically occurs after a woman’s childbearing years and doesn’t normally require treatment other than pain medication.
Ovarian Cysts Cause Enlarged Uterus

Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs within or on the surface of the ovary. Usually, ovarian cysts are harmless and cause little or no pain. Many ovarian cysts go away with no treatment within a few months of appearing. However, sometimes they do become serious, causing severe pain – especially if they rupture.

Uterine Cancer

Uterine cancer can cause the uterus to become enlarged. Obviously, this can be a very serious condition that may require a woman to have a hysterectomy to remove the uterus. In addition to the symptoms listed above, uterine cancer may cause vaginal bleeding that is not associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Most of the time and the enlarged uterus isn’t related to a serious medical problem, and may even go away on its own. It is important to remember that if you have any of the symptoms above, or if any of the causes are prevalent in the women in your family, you should see a doctor and be examined to determine the cause and the best way to proceed. Because an enlarged uterus doesn’t always cause a woman to be symptomatic, it is also important that regular exams and tests are performed as recommended by your doctor.

Uterine Fibroids – Understanding Fibroids & Your Treatment Options

Millions of women worldwide struggle with uterine fibroids, and have gone on to successfully receive treatment. If you were just diagnosed with fibroids, or suspect you may have one, don’t panic! Here’s what you need to know.

What Exactly Are Uterine Fibroids?

A uterine fibroid, also know as a leiomyoma or myoma, is a benign (non-cancerous) mass of muscle and connective tissue found inside, or just outside, the uterus. A fibroid’s size can range widely, from the size of a seed or smaller to – in extreme cases – the size of a grapefruit. Uterine fibroids are extremely common, with 20 to 80 percent of women developing fibroids by the time they reach 50.

Where To Find Uterine Fibroids

Fibroids classify into to three types, depending on the location they’re found in or near the uterus:

  • fibroid treatment for different types of uterine fibroidsIntramural uterine fibroids are the most common, and grow within the muscular wall of the uterus. They can cause symptoms such as pelvic pain, pack pain or pressure, and heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • Subserosal uterine fibroids form outside the uterus and protrude inward, causing prolonged and heavy bleeding, and even anemia.
  • Submucosal uterine fibroids, while not as common as other types of fibroids, grow just beneath the surface of the uterus lining and protrude outward. These fibroids are less likely to impact your menstrual cycle, but may cause back pain or bladder pressure.

What Causes Uterine Fibroids?

The cause of uterine fibroids are still unclear. However, it’s been documented that fibroids are likely associated with a high level of estrogen, and potentially family genetics. Uterine fibroids don’t develop until a women’s reproductive years and disappears or shrinks during menopause when estrogen levels decrease.

Additionally, African-American women, frequent red meat eaters, and women who are overweight are considered to be at higher risk.

Common Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

The most frequent uterine fibroid symptoms women experience are:

  • fibroid treatment to prevent pelvic painHeavy bleeding for longer durations
  • Pelvic pain and pressure, including pain during intercourse
  • Feeling of fullness or bloating in the lower abdomen
  • Need to urinate more frequently
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Reproductive issues, including possible infertility

Most women who develop fibroids don’t have any symptoms since they’re small enough to go without noticing them.

However, if you suspect you may have a fibroid, make sure to visit your health provider. An annual pelvic exam can detect and diagnosie if one has fibroids. Other methods of diagnosis may be need an ultrasound, MRI, or hysteroscopy.

Uterine Fibroid Treatment Options

The good news, is that if you have a fibroid causing symptoms, there are a number of fibroid treatment options available. The size and location of the fibroid(s), as well as your age and desire to bear children, determines the best treatment options available.

Medication can cause them to shrink from blocking the production and secretion of estrogen. Low-dose birth control, for instance, can be be prescribed to control symptoms of fibroids, like heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain.

Other medications to treat fibroids include “gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists” (GnRHA), such as Lupron®. GnRHA can help make fibroids easier to remove, or provide temporary relief of symptoms, but are also known to have side effects including decreasing sex drive, hot flashes, and depression.

In more extreme cases, you may require surgery, with the type of surgery depending on the location of the fibroid.  There are also non-surgical ways to eliminate fibroids.

Invasive Surgical Procedures

Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus or full female reproductive system, which should only be done when you no longer desire to become pregnant. Fibroids account for nearly one-half of hysterectomies performed annually in the United States. While effective in removing fibroids, this is a major operation and has a 30 percent complication rate. Before you jump into getting a hysterectomy, make sure you get a second opinion since there are several alternative options available that aren’t nearly as intrusive. Recovery time from a hysterectomy takes several weeks.

Myomectomy

Unlike the hysterectomy, which removes the entire uterus, the myomectomy is a surgical procedure to only remove the fibroids. This procedure is a good option for women who still want to have children, however there are risks involved since this is still considered an invasive surgery. Complications can include blood loss, uterine scaring that impairs fertility, and a higher chance of fibroid regrowth.

Alternative To Surgery

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)

Uterine fibroid embolization is a much less invasive technique compared to a hysterectomy, and has a higher success rate than myomectomies.

During a uterine fibroid embolization, a small incision (the size of a dot) is made on your upper thigh and a tiny tube is inserted through the incision into the femoral artery. A trained physician locates the blood supply to the fibroid, which is then blocked by plastic or gel particles injected into the blood vessels. Without a steady blood supply, the fibroids begin to shrink.

This non-surgical, out-patient procedure typically lasts under an hour and is performed under local anesthetic and sedation. Patients undering UFE are back at work in a few days, instead of weeks. The procedure also has a very high success rate, with 94 percent of all UFE patients experiencing relief from fibroid symptoms and significant fibroid shrinkage.

Understand Your Options

If fibroids are affecting your daily life, it makes sense to seek medical professional treatment. But remember, invasive procedures, such as a hysterectomy, should be the very last resort to treating fibroids.

If you would like to learn more about nonsurgical treatment for fibroids, call us at (866) 479-1523 to set up a free consultation.

Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

Even though uterine fibroids can affect up to 80% of women by the age of 50, they are generally benign and asymptomatic. Many women are not even aware that they have fibroids. However when uterine fibroids grow large enough, they can cause symptoms which run the range from simply annoying to negatively impacting quality of life. Often, the type and severity of the symptom depends on the size and type of fibroid, determined by where in the uterus they are located. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, uterine fibroids may be the cause.

Prolonged, Heavy, or Painful Periods

This is a symptom which is most common with submucosal fibroids, which grow on the interior of the uterus, and the intramural fibroids which grow imbedded in the muscular uterine wall. Women who suffer heavy periods know how trying annoying that time of month can be. At its extreme, this symptom can drastically impact someone’s quality of life.

Beyond the practical considerations involved in the management of a heavy flow and passage of clots, long term heavy bleeding can lead to anemia related exhaustion and other difficulties. Fibroids can also be a factor if you have painful periods, as intramural fibroids can make cramps much more intense by interfering with the proper function of the uterine muscle.

Bloating, Fullness, or Pain in the Pelvic Area

Even though usually benign, a uterine fibroid is essentially a tumor-like overgrowth of abnormal tissue. It is little wonder then that having fibroids in and on your uterus can cause symptoms such as a feeling of fullness or bloating. Submucosal fibroids in particular can give a feeling of heaviness in the uterus. Fibroids can also cause generalized pain as they take up space meant for your uterus or other organs. Acute pain is rare, but can happen if a fibroid outgrows its blood supply or significantly impedes the proper function of other organs.

Back PainBack and Leg Pain

Back and leg pain is most common with Subserosal uterine fibroids, which grow on the outside of the uterus. If the fibroid is located on the back of the uterus, it is very close to the spinal column. If it becomes large enough it can press on or pinch the nerves in that area, causing lower back pain. It can also cause sciatica as the fibroid presses against the sciatic nerve and sends pain down the back of the legs.

Frequent Urination or Constipation

Urinary incontinence is sometimes a sensitive subject, but have you considered that there may be factors at work beyond a lack of bladder control? If a uterine fibroid grows on the top of the uterus, it shares pelvic space with the bladder. This restricts the size available to the bladder, causing the need to go more often as well as contributing to urinary incontinence. At its worst, obstruction of the bladder and urinary tract can also lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs) and blood in the urine. Similarly, if the fibroid is located near the colon, it can obstruct normal bowel movement and lead to constipation as well as painful passage of stools. If you are experiencing frequent UTIs, constipation, or discover blood in your urine or stools, promptly seek medical care.

Pain During Intercourse

There are many reasons a woman might experience pain during intercourse, but did you know that uterine fibroids could be a contributing factor? Submucosal and intramural fibroids in particular interfere with the normal operation of the uterus, pulling it out of shape and making any contractions or pressure painful. This can cause difficulties during sex, including bleeding if the fibroids are located near the cervix. The imbalance of hormones which fibroids cause can also have a negative effect on a woman’s libido, lowering desire and making intercourse less enjoyable. Sexual symptoms can be especially telling if you have never before had a problem with intercourse, but have recently started to experience a decrease in desire, pain, or bleeding. If you do experience pain or bleeding during intercourse, you should seek out the advice of a doctor right away.

Complications With Pregnancy

While uterine fibroids can cause many complications in day to day life, some of the most heart breaking happen during pregnancy. While the exterior Subserosal fibroids can have little to no effect on a healthy pregnancy, other types can. Interior submucosal fibroids, if located near the middle of the uterus, can make it hard for the fetus to properly imbed in the uterine lining. If it is a large fibroid with lots of blood vessels, it can also interfere with the proper functioning of the placenta by monopolizing blood flow which should be going to the fetus. A study conducted in 2000 suggested that even smaller fibroids located in close proximity to the placenta could cause an increase in bleeding and early pregnancy loss. The same study noted that among women with subserosal and intramural fibroids, the miscarriage rate was 40% in the first trimester and 17% in the second trimester. Intramural and subserosal fibroids can also cause complications with labor and birth, even after an otherwise healthy pregnancy. In fact, the presence of fibroids is associated with a six times greater risk of cesarean section.

Infertility and Fibroids

The presence of fibroids can also make it difficult to even become pregnant. The same factors which cause early miscarriage in some women can make it difficult to become or sustain a pregnancy at all. In a small but significant percentage of women, fibroids can even be determined to be the exclusive cause of infertility and repeated miscarriage. It is highly recommended that women seeking treatment for infertility have any existing fibroids addressed before attempting IVF or other assisted conception methods.

The good news is that there are many options available for the treatment of uterine fibroids. If the symptoms above manifest, or begin to effect your quality of life, the fibroids which cause them can be easily and safely addressed. Speak to your doctor about available treatments, including non-surgical options such as uterine fibroid embolization.

What Treatments are Available for My Calcified Fibroids?

If you have just been diagnosed with calcified uterine fibroids you are not alone. Experts estimate that a quarter of all women will experience uterine fibroids at some time in their lives. Since fibroids usually occur in women who are of childbearing age, they can be a life-long condition.

How are Calcified Fibroids Different from Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that grow within or in close proximity to the uterus. These benign tumors are made of muscular tissue and can be present without being detected at all. While there are definitive references and categories for the varying types of fibroids differentiating how they grow, etc. the cause of fibroids is not known and is generally attributed to hereditary factors, and estrogen levels.

Fibroids can vary in size, location and ability to grow. Some fibroids do not grow once formed and others can grow from being barely visible to becoming large and weighing many pounds. Some women do not experience any symptoms.

Calcified fibroids are different only because they typically have become larger than the blood supply that was attributed to the growth. Now that the blood supply has been compromised the tumor degenerates and may become smaller. In this process calcium is produced and leaves deposits on the mass. The fibroid is now calcified and has a somewhat grainy texture.

The treatment options for the calcified fibroid do not vary from the treatment modalities that were available to treat the fibroid prior to the calcification. A major factor in treatment is whether or not you want to bear children.

It is necessary to have a gynecologist who is aware of the modern approaches to calcified fibroid treatment as there have been many new additions to the course of symptom relief.

Treatment Options for Calcified Fibroids

Myomectomy

Surgery to remove fibroids while leaving the uterus intact.

Hysterectomy

Surgically removes the entire uterus. Child-bearing cannot occur.

Endometrial Ablation

The lining of the uterus is removed with various methods. Women who choose this method can no longer bear children.

Myolisis

Via a needle inserted directly into the fibroid, electric current is emitted destroying the fibroid. Freezing elements can also be used.

There are newer treatments available as well. With calcified fibroids the flow of blood is extremely limited or has been stopped completely. The treatment options are very specific here and understanding your unique health situation is the key to a great decision.

A great resource to learn more about the alternative to fibroid surgeries that are currently available to women who suffer from calcified uterine fibroids can be found at www.fibroids.com. Here you can gather a wealth of information about the subject, see real testimonials, and effectively equip yourself to make an informed decision with your health care professional about what treatment will work best with your particular condition and lifestyle. Our board certified physicians are experts at the many different medical approaches that can be utilized today.

Is Pregnancy Possible with Fibroids?

Any fibroid malfunction in a woman is a serious condition; however, a fibroid condition during a potential pregnancy must be taken especially seriously. Here are the facts that you need to know about pregnancy and abnormal fibroid conditions.

Pregnancy and Fibroids

Can I Get Pregnant if I Have Uterine Fibroids?

The short answer to this question is yes. Many women with uterine fibroids become pregnant by totally natural means. The science behind fertility treatment and in the treatment of fibroids allows for a much higher chance of a safe conception. However, a woman who is either trying to become pregnant or is pregnant alongside a fibroid condition must stay under the watchful eye of a team of medical specialists.

Are There Any Complications that Fibroids Cause Within a Pregnancy?

Although it is perfectly possible for a woman with a fibroid condition to become pregnant, it is more difficult in some cases. Intramural and submucosal fibroids are the two major types of conditions that seem to affect the ability of a woman to conceive. Both of these fibroid conditions change the size and the overall shape of the cavity in the uterus. These conditions may also negatively affect in vitro fertilization, reducing overall fertility rates in some women by as much as 70 percent. The good news is that a fibroid will release its hold over the pregnancy rate of a woman if it is properly treated.

Fibroids that are not properly treated may also cause other problems after a pregnancy has been initiated. These problems include preterm delivery of the baby, a need for a cesarean section in order to give birth, a miscarriage, or abnormal fetus positioning. A woman that gives birth with a fibroid condition may also experience very heavy bleeding after giving birth.

How Do Fibroids Affect a Pregnancy?

The main problem with becoming pregnant while having a fibroid condition is the fibroid blocking the natural function of the uterus. The embryo is constantly receiving critically important messages from the uterine wall, and a fibroid condition may block or alter these messages. If they are altered or blocked in a serious enough way, the embryo will simply stop its process of development, and a miscarriage will occur.

A medical professional will work under the assumption that even the most silent and asymptomatic fibroid has the ability to cause damage to a growing embryo. Radiology is an essential discipline to include in the process of pregnancy if a fibroid condition has been identified in a pregnant woman. This is especially important for intramural fibroids, a fibroid that develops directly inside of the uterine cavity and competes for space with the embryo, almost like a jealous brother or sister. The result is a chemical interference with the growth of the embryo, and this condition may require a surgery.

Do you have uterine fibroids and want to get pregnant? Call (866) 479-1523 today for a FREE consultation.

Why Are Fibroids Prevalent in African American Women?

Fibroids and African American Women

Private researchers agree with government-sponsored research: Fibroids are almost three times as likely to occur in the bodies of African-American women than in any other race of woman in the United States. To what social or medical phenomenon we owe this statistic? The truth is that the overwhelming prevalence of fibroids in African-American women likely comes from a combination of social and biological factors.

For more on non-surgical fibroid treatment, visit the experts at The Fibroid Treatment Collective.

Medical Study of the Prevalence of Fibroids in African American Women

One of the most referred studies concerning the fibrosis condition was conducted by the Fibroid Relief program of the Charlottesville, Virginia nonprofit Focused Ultrasound Foundation. This particular study surveyed 968 eligible fibroids positive women, 28 percent of whom were African-American women. These women had an outsized and disproportionate incidence of fibroids although they were no different from the other women in the survey when educational level, overall health, employment status and number of children were considered. However, the African-American women had significantly less income, were overwhelmingly single and lived in less inviting geographic conditions.

These factors of differentiation were found to be significant in determining whether fibroids developed in a woman. This study, along with other studies along the same lines, showcased that social conditions were a part of why African-American women developed fibroids at an outsized rate. Basically, the stress that came from the lower quality of life that African-American women experienced created conditions in which fibroids were more likely to occur.

Is It All Environment?

African-American women were also much more likely than other races of women to experience the symptoms of fibroids for longer periods of time before seeking medical help. They were more likely than other races of women to try to control the symptoms using over-the-counter drugs. As a result, most of the African-American women experienced a more serious load of symptoms when reporting their condition to a doctor for the first time.

The study also found that African-American women have a genetic predisposition to develop fibroids more often than white women. However, this genetic predisposition is exacerbated because of a severe lack of vitamin D in the environment of most African-American women. Vitamin D is essential in combating the development of uterine fibroids in all women. In short, various conditions of biology and socioeconomics combine to create a much greater risk to the African-American childbearing female population of developing problems with fibroids.

Facing hysterectomy or myomectomy? Speak with us to learn more about nonsurgical cure for fibroids. Call us at (866) 479-1523 for a FREE consultation.

Your Sex Life and Fibroids

Sex Life and Fibroids

A uterine fibroid (recognized medically as a leiomyoma or myoma) is a noncancerous growth of smooth muscle and connective tissue. Fibroids originate from the thick wall of the uterus and are categorized by where they grow.

Uterine fibroids are very common in women, with as many as 75% experiencing them at some period in their lives, often undiagnosed and unknown. Symptoms of having fibroids can be but not limited to pelvic pain or pressure, pain in the back of the legs, pressure on the bladder, lower back pain, and an abnormally enlarged abdomen. With all of these problems comes the question, “Will fibroids affect my sex life?”  The answer is that due to uncomfortable fibroid symptoms, there could be pain during intercourse. However, if treated correctly, you can still maintain a good sex life.

SYMPTOMS

These symptoms that come with the onset of fibroids may hinder an active sex life or make it less than pleasant.

Heavy Bleeding

Severe bleeding or being on your period for more than one week can make intercourse difficult or even impossible.

Pelvic Pain

Extreme pain in the lower abdominal wall or in the pelvic region can also cause intercourse to be painful.

Abdominal Bloating

Depending on the size of the actual fibroid, the abdomen can become extremely distended. Some fibroids are mistaken for pregnancy. These fibroids may cause extreme pain during intercourse.

Urinary Problems

Uncontrollable urination and having to urinate frequently can cause problems during sex.

Intercourse has the chance to become uncomfortable and more likely painful depending on where the fibroid is and the actual size of the fibroids. Extreme tumors can put pressure on the walls of the uterus, or abdomen, causing pain. Also, if a fibroid were to form close to the cervix, near the end of the vaginal tract, intercourse can be very uncomfortable.

Another unfortunate side effect is that fibroids may cause the loss of libido. No surprise, the desire to have sex can be negligible when it becomes too painful and may not be worth the effort.

SOLUTIONS

Hysterectomy

Complete removal of the uterus. After surgery, many women report engaging in better and more meaningful sex than before. Undoubtedly, this is due to the absence of pain and bleeding that had been occurring.

Myomectomy

Removing the fibroid, but not the entire organ. If you were to have this procedure it is recommended not to have intercourse for six weeks after.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization

This minor procedure involves blocking the blood flow to the fibroid. The recovery time may be from 7 to 10 days until you can resume a normal sex life.

If you need to speak with a doctor about fibroids or just have questions, please call the Fibroid Treatment Center at 866-479-1523. They are here to help.

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