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What Are Uterine Fibroids and Should You Be Worried?

Woman's hand waiting for doctor in hospital feeling worried

Fibroids are the most common form of pelvic tumors in women. While benign, (non-cancerous), they can have a negative impact on a woman’s health in many ways. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Abnormal periods
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Anemia
  • Pain
  • Bladder dysfunctions
  • Bowl dysfunctions
  • Fertility issues

Fibroids begin as ordinary muscle cells in the walls of the uterus. What causes normal uterine cells to begin forming fibroid tumors? Medical studies have linked estrogen levels to fibroid development. Interestingly, the exact cause for the condition is unknown. Added risk factors include:

  • Race
  • Age
  • Family history
  • Premenopausal state
  • Hypertension
  • Diet

Should You Worry?

Fibroids are very common. Most of the female population experience them at some point. In the U.S., under 70 percent of Caucasian women develop fibroids by age 50. In African-Americans, the number is closer to 80 percent. Most cases won’t exhibit any symptoms and are only detected during routine checkups. Most often found during gynecological or pregnancy exams. For the majority of women, a diagnosis of fibroid tumors may be unnerving. But will, in the end, be unnoticeable for a woman’s all-around health.

But.

In a percentage of cases, fibroids do begin to cause troublesome symptoms. Estimates are between 25% and 50% for these cases. When that happens, it’s wise to seek treatment as early as possible. Under the right conditions, fibroids can grow very fast. Fibroid symptoms usually worsen or multiply. Are your fibroid symptoms causing any of the following health issues?

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Blood-loss related anemia
  • Pain
  • Abdominal distension
  • Back pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation

If you answered yes to any of the above, it is time to act. As with most medical issues, early detection and early treatment are important. The longer you wait, the longer you worry and suffer. Why do either?

Fibroid Treatment

Fibroid treatment today can be much simpler and less traumatic than it was in the past. Our grandmothers underwent a hysterectomy. Our mothers had aggressive fibroid surgeries. In the 21st century, we have less invasive options. Some, like fibroid embolization, don’t involve surgery at all. Fibroid embolization is a radiological treatment that shrinks fibroids. As opposed to removing the uterus or cutting out uterine tissue. It requires zero incisions and no hospital stay.

Is one of your worries that fibroid treatment means a lot of time away from work, family, or normal life? Take a long exhale. You can deal with fibroids. And it doesn’t have to mean surgery.

Learn more about recognizing fibroid symptoms.

Explore non-surgical treatment fibroid treatment.

See women who underwent successful fibroid treatment without surgery.

Can Fibroids Damage Your Kidneys?

Pain

Can Fibroids Damage Your Kidneys

Uterine fibroids are typically known for creating symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain, however depending on location and size, they can also present less common problems. For a small percentage of women, fibroids can negatively affect the health of their kidneys.

Fibroids and Kidney Pain

Although fibroids are made of muscle tissue found in the uterus, they can outgrow the space within the uterine walls and expand to a size large enough to affect the ureter. The ureter is the tube that connects the bladder and the kidney. When fibroids down on the ureter, the kidneys swell and develop a condition known as hydronephrosis.

Hydronephrosis is often associated with painful urination, an increased urge to urinate, as well as flank and back pain. In more severe cases, permanent kidney damage may also occur. If you are currently experiencing any of these symptoms or suspect your kidneys may be at risk due to your fibroids, consult with your doctor immediately. Urine and blood tests can show whether your kidneys are functioning properly or at risk.

Fibroid Treatment

For those experiencing kidney complications due to fibroids, removal is essential to alleviate these symptoms. While fibroid surgery like a hysterectomy and myomectomy are commonly utilized, a less invasive procedure such as uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) gets the job done without the scars or trauma associated with surgery.

Fibroid embolization works by shrinking the enlarged fibroid that is pressing down on the ureter and affecting the kidneys. By shrinking the fibroid instead of removing it, patients experience a quick and effective procedure with no chance of fibroid regrowth. While the likelihood of uterine fibroids affecting your kidneys is extremely rare, taking the risk is never the answer. If you have noticed fibroid symptoms, learn more about living fibroid-free with embolization by contacting us at: (866) 479-1523.

Embolization After Traditional Surgical Procedures

If you’ve tried other fibroid treatment methods that were unsuccessful, Uterine Fibroid Embolization can be a plausible option after other treatments have presented unsuccessful.

I had a myomectomy in 2008. I am again bleeding heavy. I know it’s the fibroids that have grown. Can I do Uterine Fibroid Embolization at this point.

Even after a myomectomy, Uterine Fibroid Embolization can still be a plausible option for fibroid treatment.  Many women who have tried myomectomy and witnessed  re-growth in their fibroids look to UFE to treat their existing fibroids.  Because the UFE procedure uses tiny  particles to successfully block off the blood supply that feed fibroids, the subsequent  chance of re-growth for these fibroids are unlikely.  Therefore, UFE patients are less likely to witness fibroid re-growth than their myomectomy counterparts.

In addition to a decreased chance of re-growth, UFE patients also experience the advantage of immediate symptom relief. Heavy bleeding, bloating, pain, pressure-all of these symptoms can immediately become lessened after the procedure.  On average, many post-operative UFE patients state that their symptoms were either eradicated or lessened following UFE.  Therefore, embolization would be an optimal choice of fibroid treatment for your situation.  Not to mention a quick recovery period of less than 7 days!

It is never too late to treat your fibroid issue. Let us help you in your journey to explore treatment options, give us a call at 866-362-6463.  By calling this number, you can request to have an in-office consultation with Dr. McLucas, or you can opt to engage in a FREE phone consultation in which he can give you a general assessment of your individual situation and offer you suggestions. Either way, we are here to help!

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What is Fibroid Embolization Infographic

What is Fibroid Embolization

Uterine artery embolization is a non-invasive, non-surgical, out-patient procedure. It is performed under local anesthetic with sedation and has a quick recovery time. We’ve created the following infographic to help explain what fibroid embolization is and how it is done.

We hope you find this informative and helpful. Please share with your friends and family to help spread awareness of embolization and fibroids.

what-is-fibroid-embolization-infographic

 

The Fibroid epidemic in black women

Fibroids in Black Women

Fibroids affect more than 40% of women, occurring 3 times more in black women. In fact, studies show that fibroids actually occur more frequently and at younger ages in black women than in women of any other race. For many of these women, younger onset and larger fibroids can lead to very severe symptoms of bleeding and pain.

Some may wonder if this disproportionate effect on black women is the result of genetics, or the social inequities in the US healthcare system. It is no secret that many minority groups do not have the same access to healthcare and insurance in the US, despite the recent improvements in healthcare coverage. What is even more problematic is that there is no free way to fix fibroids, such as lifestyle changes or taking a magic pill. It is true that a healthy diet and exercise can have positive impacts on overall well-being, but once fibroids have grown to a large enough size to cause problems, they do not shrink.

Furthermore, more African American women are not offered minimally invasive procedures to treat fibroids, such as fibroid embolization, and undergo unnecessary hysterectomies. Making sure you know and understand your options, and where to find treatment for specific situation with fibroids is important. Listed below are a few tips for finding fibroid treatment that’s right for you.

  1. Stop fibroids and start living. Take your health into your hands, without treatment the problem will not go away.
  2. Research your different options for treatment
  3. Find a doctor you are comfortable with
  4. Find ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise, and stress maintainence
  5. Ask your doctor and insurance company about the financial aspects of treatment, they can help you find a treatment within your financial means

For more information please visit http://yourblackworld.net/2012/05/05/black-women-and-fibroids-the-silent-epidemic-thats-screaming-in-our-community-part-3-the-role-of-hair-and-skincare-products/

The Fibroid Treatment Collective (FTC) based in Beverly Hills offers women a minimally noninvasive alternative to a hysterectomy to treat uterine fibroids. Founder of the FTC, Dr. Bruce McLucas, was one of the pioneers of the procedure called the Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE) that helps women maintain their fertility and removing symptoms caused by fibroids. For additional information, please visit www.fibroids.com or call our toll free 866.362.6463 to learn more and schedule a consultation.

 

Hormonal Changes After Fibroid Embolization

Want to avoid the hormonal swings associated with traditional fibroid surgeries? Look to UFE!

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a non-surgical procedure that cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids. The procedure does not include the ovaries in the process, which means that the ovaries are often not affected by the procedure.

There are very few accounts of women that experience hormonal changes as a result of  UFE, with the exception of the small percentage of women that experience early menopause as a result of the procedure. Most women will not experience hormonal changes or depression, both of which are common with hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) patients. Women that are approaching the age of menopause, however, may be more likely to start menopause after UFE.

Learn more about fibroids and Uterine Fibroid Embolization online, or contact us directly by calling 866-362-6463 or by requesting a free phone consultation. Additionally, you can find us on Twitter @fibroiddoctor and on Facebook at facebook.com/fibroids.

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Fibroid Embolization vs. Hysterectomy

A recent article published by the AJOG looked at the results of women with fibroids who had either a hysterectomy or UAE.

A commentary in the health section of the Reuters website talked about a recent study released by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (AJOG) which demonstrated comparable physical or mental quality of life rates reported when studying women who undergo either a hysterectomy or Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE), also known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). Additionally, the study showed that more than 4 out of 5 women in both groups were very satisfied with the treatment they had received. This information proves as significant due to the fact that previous studies have suggested that hysterecomy may be optimal for women that want to fully and completely eradicate their fibroids; however, the results of this study suggest that embolization could be a worthwhile choice for many women, especially for those that do not want to bear a long recovery period and do want to keep their fertility options open.

The study released in AJOG followed about 150 women, most in their forties, who had uterine fibroids that hadn’t responded to medication. The women were divided up randomly – half got a hysterectomy, and the other half had UAE done.  After following this cohort of women for 5 years, the results yielded no significant difference in satisfaction of the procedure and both groups reported that their fibroids were either gone or improved.  Therefore, those women that treated their fibroids with UFE not only shared the same level of satisfaction with their procedure and the outcome, but they also had the advantage of a less invasive treatment with little risk of complication. The study further touted the effectiveness of UFE and its safe and effective approach to treatment for uterine fibroids, specifically when presented with traditional surgical options such as hysterectomy and myomectomy.

Dr. Jim Reekers, a radiologist at Amsterdam’s Academic Medical Center and one of the study’s authors, told Reuters Health , “Hysterectomies often keep a patient in the hospital for up to five or six days, and they won’t be totally back on their feet for more than a month…After embolization, women can leave the hospital in a day and be back at work within a week”.  He also included that the procedure can be “much more friendly to the patient”.  Still, Dr. Linda Bradley, the vice chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the Cleveland Clinic, shares that the type of treatment needed can often depend on factors such as the patient’s symptoms and the location of the fibroids.  This being said, she states that patients should be open about what they want and doctors have to be honest about the treatment options they provide for their patients.

SOURCE: http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(10)00079-7/abstract

 

Uterine Fibroid Embolization and Sex

Want to find out about the effects of UFE on your sexual desire? Read here to find out the inside scoop about this topic!

Will UFE affect my sexual response?

Most patients report either no change or improvement in their sexual desire and response after Uterine Artery Embolization. Women that experience pain during sex, which can sometimes be a result of the presence of fibroids, usually experience an improvement in this area.

Some women experience intense, pleasurable contractions during orgasm.  This occurrence is called internal orgasm (different from clitoral orgasm) and a few have noted a decrease in this response after the procedure. The exact reason for this is uncertain but may be related to an injury of nerves supplying the cervix. Concerns about effects of UFE on sexuality should be discussed with your Interventional Radiologist during the initial consultation.

Learn more about Uterine Fibroid Embolization online, or contact us directly by calling 866-362-64633 or by requesting a free phone consultation. Additionally, you can find us on Twitter @fibroiddoctor and on Facebook at facebook.com/fibroids.

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Fibroids Post-Embolization

Ever wondered what happens to your fibroids after the UFE procedure? Read on to find out what happens to these myomas and which types may put you at greater risk for post-complications.

What happens to fibroids when they are embolized? Do they merely shrink, or do they “fall off” in some way?

After losing their blood supply, fibroids lose their fluid content and they are removed by the body. In time they undergo a process of fibrosis, and lose their ability to grow again. The overall effect is that the fibroid shrinks but does not become detached and “fall off”. However, in some cases, when treating pedunculated fibroids ( fibroids that are stalked from the uterus) there is a possibility that they can eventually “fall off” into the pelvis and cause some complications. Embolizing a pedunculated fibroid may disrupt the stalk, thereby releasing the fibroid into either the subserosal or submucosal cavity.

Disrupting the stalk of a pedunculated subserosal fibroid can result in the fibroid’s release. This development can potentially cause chemical peritonitis (inflammation of the membrane that lines the abdomen), leading to prolonged pain after embolization. This risk of stalk disruption has led some interventional radiologiests (IRs) to evaluate the width of the fibroid’s attachment to the uterus before considering a patient as a UFE candidate. Recommendations have varied, but a stalk width greater than one-third to one-half the diameter of the fibroid is considered acceptable to most IRs. These recommendations are based on the idea that safety increases directly with the width of the stalk. At the present time, however, no studies have been performed to back these criteria.

When submucosal pedunculated fibroids lose their attachment to the uterus, they are at increased risk for expulsion from the uterus. Although expulsion is usually not associated with clinically significant complications, uterine obstruction can occur if the fibroid does not completely pass through the cervix. In this case, other procedures may be required to remove retained tissue, which may otherwise become secondarily infected leading to other secondary complications of the uterus.

Learn more about Uterine Fibroid Embolization online, or contact us directly by calling (866) 479-1523 or by requesting a free phone consultation.

 

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