If you suffer from fibroids then making a decision to undergo any kind of treatment is never easy. However, if your uterine fibroids are causing heavy bleeding during menstruation, chronic discomfort, and even infertility, then undergoing uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) should be a serious consideration.
Uterine fibroid embolization is in effect a minimally invasive treatment designed to block the arteries that provide blood to the fibroid. This starvation process causes the fibroid/s to shrink and eventually die. However, minimally invasive or not, treatments like this will always carry a small element of risk – so is undergoing UFE worth it?
In reality, the many positive outcomes derived from undergoing uterine fibroid embolization should tip the balance in favor of opting for this treatment. Here are 7 positive effects that you may want to consider.
Immediate relief from heavy bleeding during menstruation
According to research, after undergoing uterine fibroid embolization, 99% of all patients have immediate relief from heavy bleeding during menstruation. Women often experience shorter and lighter periods after UFE treatment where previously, very heavy and agonizing periods may have been the norm.
A tiny minority (less than 1%) may suffer irregular periods for 3-6 months after undergoing UFE treatment but for most women, dramatic improvements to the menstrual cycle can be both immediate and remarkable.
Uterine fibroid embolization decreases pain and discomfort
Before UFE treatment, many women would experience some type of discomfort including bloating, back pain and in some cases, chronic menstrual cramps during periods. This can be down to large clots of blood pushing through the cervix. However, in those diagnosed with submucosal fibroids, agonizing menstrual cramps may also be caused by the uterus trying to push out the fibroids that have otherwise formed in the cavity of the womb.
In addition, as fibroids become larger, they can push on nerves and blood vessels which in turn cause aching and pain in the lower back and legs.
It’s a welcoming thought then that after undergoing uterine fibroid embolization, patients should feel less and less discomfort as the fibroid shrinks and eventually dies. This can take 3-12 months but on average symptoms like chronic pain or discomfort should start to ease immediately.
One issue found in women who suffer both heavy periods and fibroids is anemia. Some women can lose so much blood they can require a blood transfusion but typically, severe fatigue and dizziness are more commonplace.
When menstruation is heavy, the body loses hemoglobin. This is an iron-rich protein found naturally in blood cells. Hemoglobin also carries much-needed oxygen to essential tissues and when these proteins are depleted, this can no longer happen. In turn, this can cause severe fatigue and is known as iron-deficiency anemia.
Because UFE treatment shrinks fibroids, any heavy bleeding ceases allowing your body to recover. In turn, this allows you to build up reserves of iron-rich proteins and therefore eradicates many of the problems associated with iron-deficiency anemia.
UFE treatment helps to eliminate sexual discomfort
Fibroid symptoms such as heavy bleeding, bloating, pelvic and back pain and uncontrollable urination can make sex a less than pleasurable experience for many women. Since fibroids shrink soon after a person undergoes uterine fibroid embolization, any discomfort felt should greatly improve. Likewise. sexual enjoyment should also greatly improve. Moreover, UFE treatment has little or no effect on the hormonal status and therefore the level of sexual desire is usually maintained not diminished.
Changes in body image
Some women who develop fibroids can notice a definitive rounded belly where the enlarged uterus may protrude. This can naturally have a negative effect on a person’s body image and self-esteem.
After uterine fibroid embolization treatment, however, fibroids often decrease to a size where they are no longer visible. This can mean a flatter and smoother stomach for many women resulting in a positive change in body image.
Pregnancy remains a possibility
While most women with fibroids won’t become infertile, becoming pregnant can be a challenge. However, and more importantly, fibroids can also impact on the ability to carry a successful pregnancy full term. For these reasons, UFE treatment has many advantages.
Firstly, this minimally invasive treatment means that all reproductive organs remain intact. So any factors necessary to stimulate and nurture a pregnancy aren’t compromised in any way. Secondly, statistics show that somewhere between 39 and 48% of all patients who are looking to become pregnant successfully conceive after a uterine fibroid embolization. Why? Because fibroids don’t return or regrow and any treatment should not affect hormonal status.
Great success rates for UFE treatments
Finally, uterine fibroid embolization is a well-proven and successful treatment. It’s thought that 94% of all people who undergo the process experience a 50-60% shrinkage of their fibroids. Immediately after treatment, fibroids lose their blood supply and oxygen causing the muscle cells within the fibroid to shrink. Eventually and typically, fibroids will die (necrose) within 3-12 months.
If you would like to know more about uterine fibroid embolization and how it can help you, then come and talk to Dr. Akinwande at the Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy (MINT) As a highly skilled doctor he specializes in image-guided vascular procedures such as uterine fibroid embolization. With his profound knowledge of vascular problems and his caring patient-centered approach, patients can rest assured that they are in safe hands. Call today to book a consultation on 314 255 2204 or alternatively you can schedule an appointment online.