A gadget that could free millions of women from the pain of fibroids has been developed by an American company. Fibroids are benign lumps in and around the womb that affect one in four women at some point in their lives.
Fibroids are non-cancerous lumps of muscular and fibrous tissue that often cause no trouble.
But in some women they cause symptoms including heavy periods, anaemia, bloating and constipation, and they are linked to infertility and miscarriages.
The trial of the device that seeks out and zaps fibroids, if successful, could be available for routine use by the end of next year, the Daily Mail reported.
Its maker, U.S. firm Gynesonics, says the VizAblate will provide a welcome alternative to current treatments which include drugs that put women into a temporary menopause, and the radical option of a hysterectomy.
The VizAblate can be used without any pre-treatment with drugs and is non-invasive, with therapy taking as little as half an hour.
The wand-shaped gadget uses ultrasound to allow the gynaecologist to locate the fibroids and then produces a radio-frequency electrical current to melt them away.
Professor Janesh Gupta, of Birmingham Women's Hospital, will test the device on at least eight women who have very heavy periods due to fibroids.
"You insert the probe into the middle of the fibroid, do the treatment and get out, so you don't have any potential risk of bleeding," he said.