What to Expect From Fibroid Embolization
One patient's day-by-day account of her embolization and recovery—Cara N.
Morning of the procedure.
"I was a little nervous because I’m a wimp about pain. And I was exhausted dealing with the symptoms. I was trying not to get my hopes up, but they were up, and I was hoping so badly that I’d get some relief of the heavy bleeding."
Just after embolization.
"I woke up feeling a lot of cramping, stronger than menstrual cramps. Nothing too extraordinary, but I am a wimp about pain, so I'm sure I was dramatic about it."
24 hours later.
"I had pretty intense cramping. The nurses and Dr. McLucus took very good care of me, and if I was in pain, they took care of it. I noticed after my catheter was taken out, I had some pretty sharp cramping even if they gave me meds. I realized it was because my bladder was full and I didn't know it. As soon as I emptied my bladder (which took a lot of relaxation and listening to water), I felt a lot better. From then on, if I felt any pain, I tried to empty my bladder, and everything was fine."
The first few days.
"I had cramping and some groin discomfort. The cramping only lasted a few days, the first day was some sharp cramping, and then it was similar to menstrual cramps. The groin discomfort lasted about a week. I took meds for about a week afterwards. I also used a heating pad, but not in the groin."
The incision site.
"I looked at it right away, but it was so small! Now I can barely find it. I had laproscopic surgery a year before the embolization, and the scar is smaller than that. It is the tiniest little nick in my groin. No one would ever know it was there."
"I gave myself a week and a half off from work, just to be safe. I was able to go to a small get together a few days after the surgery, I was mostly tired. But it was good to get up and move around a little. I think I could have stretched my groin more in the beginning. I hosted a party a week and a half post surgery. I had a fever about a week after the surgery. Dr. McLucus met me at the Emergency Room. Everything was fine, but he put me on an antibiotic just in case."
"I was having my period when I had the embolization, and it stopped right after the procedure. It resumed on schedule the next month. It was only three or four days long, and I used a regular tampon. I used to have to change a Super Plus and pad every 15-30 minutes on a bad day. Again, I tried not to get my hopes up that that was how it would be, but five months later, I still only use a Super tampon at most, and that will last for hours. The duration is now 3-7 days. Before it was up to 14 days of inconsistent bleeding. It is 100% better than before."
"I had sex two weeks after surgery. I was nervous, but it was fine. I was mostly waiting for my groin to make sure I didn't irritate anything. I felt a small amount of cramping afterwards."
"I could see and feel my enlarged uterus while I lay on my back before embo. I noticed that I can't find it now. It took a couple of months for my uterus to go down. It feels great; there is less pressure on my bladder."
"Before the embo, I was starting to feel pretty sorry for myself, I couldn't go to the beach and surf with my friends, I couldn't even relax to sleep at night because I was always worried about the bleeding. Even at work, I couldn't concentrate (speaking in front of a group of people) because I was constantly worried about excessive bleeding. I feel normal now. I can't wait for summer to be able to go to the beach. Just to be able to live life without worrying about bleeding through your pants. I had so many embarrassing moments because it was so unpredictable! Before embo, there were so many activities that I didn't do when I was having my period. Now, I don't even have to think about it."
Best and Worst
"The best thing about embo is the relief in symptoms. I couldn't believe how quickly I saw relief. It's truly amazing how a small nick in your groin can make it all go away. The worst thing is that my previous doctor didn't tell me about embolization. I did all of the research on my own after having an unsuccessful laproscopy. It makes me mad and sad that I could have had embolization earlier and I wouldn't have had to live through an unsuccessful surgery and another year of symptoms."