Treating Fibroids at Coastal Vascular Center
Approximately 7 out of 10 women will have fibroids at some time in their lives. Chances are very good that you have already had them. You may not even know that you have had them since they do not always cause symptoms. Many fibroids are completely harmless. Yet, some can go on to cause serious symptoms such as intense pain and dangerous internal bleeding. This is why understanding effective treatments for uterine fibroids is key.
Fibroids are tumors that can grow to the size of grapefruits. They are typically benign (not cancerous). Rarely, a cancerous fibroid will occur. This is called leiomyosarcoma. Doctors think that these cancers do not arise from an already-existing fibroid. Having fibroids does not increase the risk of developing a cancerous fibroid. Having fibroids also does not increase a woman’s chances of getting other forms of cancer in the uterus.
If you have one fibroid and it’s small, you are not likely to have symptoms. However, if you have a large fibroid or you have many fibroids, you are likely to have more serious symptoms.
Symptoms of fibroids can include heavy bleeding, serious pelvic or abdominal pain, and fertility issues. The growing fibroids can press on your bladder or rectum. This causes frequent urination or constipation. The heavy bleeding can lead to anemia. The fertility issues can make it hard to get pregnant or to sustain a pregnancy. This means that women with fibroids can suffer from repeat miscarriages.
Despite the prevalence of fibroids, we still don’t know exactly what causes them. Some genes may play a role, and abnormalities in blood vessels around the uterus can also be an influence. Hormonal imbalances are also suspected in the formation of fibroids.
Options for Effective Treatments For Uterine Fibroids
Since we don’t know what causes fibroids, treatment is where fibroids are in the body. As well as, what kind of symptoms they are causing. It used to be that a hysterectomy was the default treatment. Now have many more options that are not only less invasive but that also preserve fertility. This is key for women who want to have children (or have more children).
If your fibroids are mild, your doctor may suggest taking medication. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be used for mild pain. Iron supplements can help prevent anemia if you have heavy bleeding during your period, or correct anemia if you already have it. Several drugs commonly used for birth control can also be prescribed to help control symptoms of fibroids. Low-dose birth control pills do not make fibroids grow and can help control heavy bleeding.
Surgery can be used to remove the fibroids, but there are risks. In some cases, the fibroids may actually be cancerous tumors, and removing them can cause the cancer to spread. In some cases, removing the fibroids can cause adhesions to form (scar tissue) that also impairs fertility and causes other symptoms.
Other Fibroid Treatment Options
Women with uterine fibroids can undergo a safe and effective treatment called radiofrequency ablation. This procedure uses heat to destroy fibroid tissue without harming surrounding normal uterine tissue. The fibroids remain inside the uterus, but shrink in size. Most women go home the same day and can return to normal activities within a few days.
Uterine artery embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that is gaining in popularity. The procedure involves threading a catheter through the arteries leading to the uterus and inserting particles that block the arteries and the flow of blood. The fibroids shrink, and the woman is able to preserve fertility.
Coastal Vascular Center offers both radiofrequency ablation and uterine embolization as treatment options.
We help women get relief from the debilitating pain they can cause while also helping them keep uterine function. Learn more are our UFE frequently asked questions or Call us today to learn more about our procedures and how it may help you.