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What Are Uterine Fibroids and Should You Be 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.

Does Fibroid Embolization Affect Your Ability to Have a Baby?

Shot of a mother holding up her baby daughter

A recent U.S. study, along with patient experiences around the world, support that Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a safe and appropriate treatment for women of childbearing age. Additionally, UFE can have distinct advantages over fibroid surgeries, such as a myomectomy, for fibroid patients who wish to get pregnant.

“Uterine Fibroid Embolization isn’t for women who want babies” – Fact or Fiction?

Early research on UFE, (research now nearly 20 years old), suggested it diminished the ovarian reserve. Ovarian reserve is a medical term for how many good quality eggs you have to make babies. But the average age of women in the study groups was 45. An age when ovarian reserve is already naturally declining. Fertility is already problematic. The assumption that UFE negatively impacts fertility was based on data from women whose fertility was already negatively affected, due to their age. The findings were fiction.

Patient experience and recent medical information are confirming this. As more and more women discovered UFE as a non-surgical treatment option, more and more women chose it. Many went on to have successful pregnancies and many who experienced fibroid-related fertility issues, conceived. Many, of an age to have a suitable ovarian reserve, had babies.
It was time for a re-think about UFE and fertility. It was time for a new study.

A Landmark UFE & Fertility Study

Minimally Invasive Therapy and Technology, a medical journal known for articles on cutting edge, non-surgical advances, published a study by Dr. Bruce McLucas, that investigated the ovarian reserves in fibroid patients after embolization. The study tracked and tested a group of 89 women, between the ages of 23 and 40, for four years after their UFE procedures. The resulting data indicated UFE did not diminish ovarian reserve. UFE did not impair fertility. In fact, 32 of the 89 patients actually had a rise in ovarian reserve, post-procedure.

A Few Other Interesting Facts the Study Revealed

Fact #1: The ability for the uterus to function normally for conception, pregnancy, and delivery is not impaired by UFE.

Fact #2: Fertility in women of normal childbearing age is preserved and even enhanced by UFE when infertility issues are being caused by fibroids.

Fact #3: Ovarian reserve levels, which naturally decline as a woman ages, are not further diminished by UFE.

For Women Who Want Children, But Also Want Time to Decide

Myomectomy, a common surgery to remove fibroids from the uterus, has roughly a six-month window of opportunity for pregnancy. Fibroids tend to grow back after myomectomy. 50% of all myomectomy patients will experience fibroid recurrence within a year. Which means the time to try for a child after a myomectomy can be short. Uterine Fibroid Embolization has 0% incidence of fibroid regrowth. The possibility for pregnancy after UFE is only bound by the normal decline of ovarian reserves as you age.

Read about the landmark UFE & Fertility study here.

Testimonials about pregnancy after UFE here and here and here.

 

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