Fibroids are, unfortunately, a common problem among women. Approximately 30% of women over the age of 35 will suffer from this condition. Some women can live with the condition because they don't experience any of its more serious symptoms. Others, however, find that the noncancerous growths, which develop along the uterine wall, cause a myriad of problems that cannot be ignored. These problems can include everything from a relatively mild discomfort to excruciating pain. Fibroids can also cause extra bleeding which can range from occasional spotting to unrelenting bleeding. Treatment for the condition may include specific and less invasive procedures or, in a worst case scenario, the removal of the uterus. Much of the decision of how to treat the condition depends upon the number and size of the fibroids involved. No matter what procedure is ultimately chosen, treatment can seriously affect a woman's quality of life.
Things You'll Need
- A name of a gynecologist
- Drugs as prescribed by a physician
How to Treat Uterine Fibroids
See a physician to obtain a certain diagnosis of uterine fibroids. The condition can be diagnosed one of several ways including but not limited to, tests such as trans-vaginal ultrasound, an MRI (magnetic resolution imaging), or a biopsy of the tumors.
Treatment of the symptoms can be started while the physician is still trying to diagnose the condition. Such treatment may include drug therapies such as anti-inflammatory drugs for pain, hormonal therapy to establish a regular menstrual cycle or the introduction of drugs that induce chemical menopause. Iron and other vitamins may also be prescribed when a physician is worried about the effect that abnormal bleeding may be having on the body. These treatments are beneficial and should be followed as outlined until a certain diagnosis can be obtained.
Live with the fibroids. If no symptoms are exhibited at the time of diagnosis, the physician may decide to take a "wait and see" approach to the condition. Many women live a long and happy life without experiencing any serious side effects from the condition. However, others may not experience anything immediately but develop symptoms as the fibroids grow in size or number.
Submit to a D & C (dilation and currettage) if your physician believes that the procedure will be helpful. Such treatment can be performed on an out-patient basis with a minimal amount of pain and will be successful in treating the symptoms in a certain percentage of women suffering from uterine fibroids.
Destroy the fibroids. A procedure known as myolysis uses a laser to cut into the fibroid which cuts off its blood supply. While the procedure can result in scarring, in most cases that result can be treated with the procedure outlined in Step 8.
Consider the non-surgical procedure called UAE (Uterine Artery Embolization) as an alternative treatment to partial or total hysterectomy. This procedure cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids in a way that requires no surgical incision. Although the process is only about five years old, it is showing remarkable progress in treating this condition without having to remove the uterus.
Opt for Focues Ultrasound Surgery (FUS). This noninvasive procedure, if it works, preserves the uterus to keep childbearing possibilities intact. The procedure uses high-frequency and high-energy sound waves targeted specifically at the fibroid growths to destroy them. It is conducted while the patient is inside an MRI machine and can take many hours to complete.
Have the fibroids surgically removed through a procedure known as a myomectomy. While this procedure will not work in every case, it is successful in a great many cases. It involves making an incision into the uterus to remove the individual fibroids and then suturing the uterus. Women who plan to have children may opt for this procedure because it does not remove the uterus, but simply repairs it. In a lot of instances, it is possible for the individual to still get pregnant. One exception to this rule would be if the fibroids are growing on the outside of the uterus. This condition can make the surgery more difficult or even involve cutting into the uterine wall. Another exception would be if the number of fibroids are excessive and/or if the size of the growths are too large.
Submit to a partial hysterectomy that removes the uterus. In many cases this is the only permanent solution for the condition. Unfortunately, it does end the possibility of having children. Some opt to have the ovaries removed at the same time. However, this will bring on instant menopause.
Tips & Warnings
- Get a second, third, and fourth opinion until you are comfortable with the treatment options provided to you.
- If no symptoms are experienced, it may not be necessary to obtain immediate (or even any) treatment of the condition.
- In making treatment options take into consideration if you want to have children in the future.
- Do not submit to any procedure without thoroughly understanding what it is, how it works, and its long term effects on your body.
- Do not allow a physician with whom you are uncomfortable to perform any procedure on your body.
- Do not put your life in danger because of fear of surgical procedures.
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