Uterine fibroids among women are quite common. Non-cancerous, benign, masses of muscular tissue develop within the walls of the uterus. Women who go for Uterine Surgery have a better alternative now: Uterine Fibroid Embolization.
It is not commonly known that nearly seventy percent of the women suffer from some kind of fibroids in their uterus. The cause of fibroid formation is still not known, however genetics and hormones are believed to play a big role in this. Generally, women are shy to disclose the discomfort they have even within their families, leave alone see a medical practitioner for help. In most of the cases the patients take medicines to reduce the pain or discomfort and satisfy themselves that they have addressed the trouble.
‘With the help of uterine fibroid embolization, women can keep their uterus and ovaries, but still treat the pain and bleeding associated with the fibroid disease.’
Women having uterine fibroids experience excessive bleeding, pelvic fullness, urinary frequency, bloating or lower back pain. In more serious cases women suffering from uterine fibroids have prolonged menstrual periods and unusually excessive monthly bleeding and may also experience pain during sexual intercourse. In such cases women do not want to disclose such problems even to their husbands. Fibroids may also cause abnormally enlarged abdomen in some women. Another reason for women not disclosing the problem is that uterine fibroids increase in size during pregnancy.
After childbirth, they shrink back to their pre-pregnancy size. This causes women to think this a normal occurrence associated with pregnancy. They hope that things would heal normally; and many women think that it is part of the destiny of being born a woman. However, these days many women go to a surgeon for hysterectomy, i.e. get their uterus removed, particularly after they beget two or more children. The feeling is that they would rather undergo the risk of surgery instead of suffering pain or discomfort throughout their lives. Very few women are aware that they have an alternative, and can treat uterine fibroid through a non-surgical method. This is through embolization.
Through uterine fibroid embolization, women can keep their uterus and ovaries, but still treat the pain and bleeding associated with the fibroid disease. During the embolization procedure, a small catheter is placed into the arteries feeding the fibroid. Small particles are delivered into the artery to stop the blood flow into the fibroid. This causes fibroid tumor to shrink and cease to cause any trouble or pain thereafter.
The embolization procedure does not want a patient to remain overnight in the hospital. She can return to normal activities the very next day. In majority of the cases women return to normal activities within two or three days. A study has indicated that women who had Uterine Fibroid Embolization had successful pregnancies. Women, who suffer from fibroids before going for surgery to remove the uterus, should get a second opinion from a Endovascular specialist whether a surgery is really necessary after interpreting the MRI. An ultrasound or a MRI diagnostic test will help the interventional radiologist to determine if the woman can be cured through the embolization procedure.
Uterine fibroid embolization procedure gives women a better alternative, enables them to return to active life, besides empowering them to retain their ability to possibly have a successful pregnancy. The procedure has been used successfully in the West for over two decades, particularly, to stop bleeding after child birth.
In the United States, according to an estimate, over 14,000 undergo uterine fibroid embolization every year. There is need to empower women in India by making them aware of the alternative. Dr Virender K. Sheorain specializes in Uterine Fibroid Embolization and is presently with the Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon.