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Author: Houston Fibroids

This Patch is Trying to End Period Pain

Many women with fibroids suffer from extremely painful periods. But thanks to a newly-developed hi-tech patch, theirs and other women’s menstrual pain may finally be a thing of the past. 

Hi Tech Help for Menstrual Cramps pain from uterine fibroids

The Allay is an ultra-thin patch you wear on your stomach. It pulses 1,000 times a second, delivering a small electric current through a wire loop. That current then  produces an undetectable magnetic field into the tissue of your abdomen. The field gets your cells to pump out any excess fluid. And that helps your body fight the bloating, swelling and pain that often accompany your period.

You can wear the patch for five full, 24-hour days before you have to remove it and recharge it’s battery. For most women, that will cover the  most painful part of your period, although fibroids can also make your period longer and heavier.

Still, in trials, the patch has been shown to reduce women’s pain levels by as much as 70%. That’s a big deal if period pain is dragging you down while you await fibroid treatment.

Product Awaits Further Trials

Although some women have already tested the effectiveness of Allay, more trials are currently underway. Currently, 60 women who suffer from period pain (dysmenorrhea) are participating in a two-month trial at the University of Birmingham.

The Allay reportedly reduces period pain levels by 31 per cent as soon as the first day you wear it! And 77 % of women wearing the Allay had at least some reduction in period pain. Only 14% of women who used other pain-relief methods experienced relief.

When your period pain is caused by fibroids, treating your tumors will offer you a more permanent solution to painful menstrual cycles. If you are ready to get started, contact our office and find out if you are a good candidate for our minimally invasive treatment options.

Sources: Bielcorp.com 

 

#WCW: Philly Woman Fights Avoidable Hysterectomies

In our Houston fibroid practice, we want women to know they have options when it comes to treating fibroids. So we also like to celebrate women (and men) who share our passion for sharing fibroid health education.

This week, we honor Lisa Ismail, a Philadelphia area woman who is sharing her personal fibroid story. She hopes to help other women in similar situations.

A Fibroid Diagnosis During Pregnancy

Lisa was first diagnosed with fibroids while she was pregnant. Her ultrasound technician found the non-cancerous tumor during a routine pre-natal scan.  Uterine Fibroids

Happily, she went on to have a healthy baby, and didn’t think much about her fibroid. Until, that is, symptoms started impacting her daily life.

Lisa told KYW News Radio, “Eight years later, my period started to be really irregular and I went to the doctor and you know she kind of just was like, ‘oh, well your age.’”

Shockingly, despite her earlier diagnosis, Lisa says that nobody suggested treating her fibroid. Because of that, it grew larger, causing her to experience life-altering symptoms.

“I bled all month,” she said. “I didn’t stop, I became anemic and they did a vaginal ultrasound and I find out that I have this seven centimeter fibroid inside my uterus.”

Large Fibroids Mean Major Symptoms

For Lisa, the heavy periods endangered her health. She was losing enough blood to require a transfusion. So, to stop the bleeding, she had a hysterectomy (surgical removal of her uterus.)

Unfortunately, Lisa learned first-hand how devastating this treatment option can be. “It’s not an easy surgery,” she explained. “These are major surgeries and it’s an emotional surgery.”

And here’s what we, as fibroid doctors, find equally devastating: according to the National Institutes of Health, more than 200,000 hysterectomies are performed each year for uterine fibroids. And many of those women could have at least tried alternative, less invasive, treatment options.

Lisa shares our outrage, “It’s upsetting,” she said. “Like, why wasn’t I told about this so I could’ve followed it so I could’ve known? I wouldn’t have probably have had a hysterectomy, they probably if it was small enough could’ve taken it out vaginally without going through an invasive major surgery,” she said.

Or, as we know, she could have shrunk the tumors using Uterine Fibroid Embolization, which cuts off their blood supply using a minimally-invasive catheter injection.

Because of the avoidable outcome in her case, Lisa wanted to share her story with other women. She hopes that women will seek early treatment, and explore their non-surgical treatment options, so no one else has to lose her uterus unnecessarily.

Sources: https://kywnewsradio.radio.com

70% of Hysterectomies Are Avoidable!

According to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology,  400,000  women each year get hysterectomies. Sadly, up to 70% of those surgeries were likely avoidable (other treatments could have been offered.) Many women with fibroids have learned this the hard way. All too often, they’re told hysterectomies are the only way to relieve fibroid symptoms. But help could come with less invasive treatment options. Now, we want to help make sure women know about the alternatives! 

Hysterectomies Aren’t the Only Option for Fibroid Treatments Hysterectomy alternatives

While some women may need a hysterectomy to treat their fibroids, others can be helped with medication,  myomectomies, or minimally invasive procedures like Uterine Fibroid Embolization.  Also known as UFE, this last is a procedure performed by specialists like Houston’s Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee. Doctors inject embolizing materials into the blood vessels that feed a woman’s tumors. Soon, they ‘starve’ and shrink, all without a surgical procedure, hospital stay or down time. 

Spreading the Word about Fibroid Treatment Options

So, if there are other effective fibroid treatments, why are so many women still giving up on their uterus and fertility? Quite simply, they don’t know they have a choice! According to Sir Marcus Setchell, a former British gynaecologist, “There is clearly a failure of communication about the use of these less-invasive treatments.” And, says Dr. Anne Deans, another British gynaecologist who consulted on this project, “Women should be given a choice, but many are not being told about the alternatives to hysterectomies. This is major surgery involving six weeks off work.”

In short, there too many women who think fibroid diagnoses necessitate hysterectomies. Will you help us spread the word about alternative treatments? Just share this article  with the hashtag #FibroidFix. Together, we can help women avoid invasive, life-altering surgeries!

Sources: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, U.S. News & World Report 

Dr. Oz Takes on Giant Fibroid Tumors

On a recent episode of the Dr. Oz show, he tackled a BIG problem: giant fibroids! Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in a woman’s uterus. Usually, we diagnose and treat them before they get very big. But every so often, that’s not the case. So, keeping in mind that are tales of exception,  check out these big fibroid stories. 

Could this be the World’s Heaviest Fibroid? 

A 53-year-old woman in Singapore needed surgery to remove her 61 pound fibroid. The woman avoided treatment for so long that she could no longer get out of bed! She was also having difficulty breathing.

When the patient finally arrived at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, doctors determined her growth was a fibroid. Unfortunately, because of it’s size, the woman needed a hysterectomy to find relief.  

According to Dr. Poh Ting Lim, a member of the team that treated the patient, the removed tumor was 26 inches across at its widest point. Because of its size being larger than 25 pounds, the tumor was classified as “giant”–the largest fibroid tumor ever recorded was found in the late 1800s, and weighed 100 pounds! In addition to performing a hysterectomy, doctors had to surgically reconstruct the woman’s abdominal wall. It had stretched and thinned to a dangerous point in order to accommodate the giant growth in her uterus. 

Child-Sized Fibroid Causes Problem

At a hospital in Delhi, India, a 47-year-old woman had a nearly-nine pound fibroid removed from her cervix! The fibroid was basically the size of a full-term newborn! 

According to reports, the woman came to the hospital in 2009 because of abdominal pain and heavy periods. An ultrasound report at the time revealed that she had a small fibroid located inside her uterus.  Unfortunately,she was sent home with a diagnosis and no treatment plan.

Several years later, the woman came back to the hospital, in even worse pain. Now, the fibroid was an astounding 9 pounds, taking up all the space from her pelvis until four inches below her breastbone. It was also beginning to adjoin to her liver. 

It took doctors almost three hours to remove the giant fibroid. During the surgery, both the fibroid and the woman’s uterus were removed, due to the suspicious nature of the tumor and fears of cancer.

Although the procedure was technically a success, and the woman was released from hospital six days after her operation, our team of fibroid specialists still views this story as having an unhappy ending.

How Fibroids Grow

Of course, for most women, giant fibroids are just horror stories. Fibroids are common but slow-growing, typically expanding by about nine percent every six months. An nine percent size increase could dramatically increase your symptoms, but the relatively slow growth period means you have time to seek treatment before you would need a hysterectomy. With minimally invasive treatment options available, situations like these are completely avoidable–you simply need to reach out to a fibroid specialist as soon as you notice symptoms such as pain or heavy menstrual flow! 

Sources: Dr. Oz Show

Are all fibroids the same?

All fibroids, (also called myomas or leiomyomas) are non-cancerous growths of muscular tissues. They all develop in and on a woman’s uterus. Yet not all fibroids will develop in the same location, or cause the same symptoms. That’s why we tend to classify fibroids based on where with the uterus they develop. 

The Three Types of Fibroids

There are three different fibroid classifications.  Intramural fibroids grow almost entirely within the wall of the uterus.  Submucosal tumors grow from the uterine wall and push into the cavity of the uterus. Subserosal fibroids grow out of the uterine lining, poking through the uterine wall. Your symptoms may be different from another woman’s depending on the type or location of your fibroids. But, for all women with fibroids, symptoms tend to fall in three main categories: 

  • Pain
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Pressure

Fibroid Symptoms Based on Location

Bleeding
For all women, fibroids can cause long, heavy periods and/or bleeding even when it’s not that time of the month. All fibroids affect blood flow to the uterus in some way, which is why your period typically gets heavier. Women with submucosal fibroids typically experience the heaviest periods, because they push your uterine lining into the cavity, greatly expanding its reach. Heavy bleeding is a symptom that should be addressed right away with your doctor, since, over time, it can make you anemic. 

Pain 
Mild discomfort or cramping is often a normal part of your menstrual cycle: the cramps are caused by slight changes to your uterus as you shed its lining. When you have fibroids, the changes to the uterus are more significant, which is why your cramps are likely to be stronger and more painful with these tumors. Women with intramural or subserosal fibroids may also experience lower back pain, as their enlarged uterus pushes against the muscles of the back. And women with fibroid tumors located near the cervical opening may experience pain during sex, although certain positions will be more comfortable than others. 

Pressure
Women with fibroids often experience pressure or heaviness in the pelvis because the tumors increase the size of their uterus. Women with subserosal fibroids may become constipated or feel the need to urinate frequently, as their uterine lining expands and places pressure on either the bladder or the rectum. 

Regardless of where your fibroids are located, and no matter which symptoms you find most bothersome, relief is available, often without surgery. Contact our Houston area fibroid specialists to learn if you are a candidate for our minimally-invasive fibroid treatment

 

Sources: healthline.com, mayoclinic.org

 

 

 

Here’s What you Need to Know about Period Blood Clots

 

When you think about blood clots, you likely think about the ones that can form inside your veins and cause major health problems. But when you notice a blood clot during your period, it’s in a whole different category.

Menstrual clots aren’t composed entirely of blood—they are partially coagulated blood, but also contain some tissue from your uterine lining and dead skin cells. In many cases, these clots are part of a normal menstrual cycle, though they usually form when your flow is very heavy. And, as you may already know, a heavy flow can be a sign of other medical problems. So how can you tell if these clots are normal or something to worry about? Read on for answers! 

When Should I Worry about Menstrual Blood Clots?

As it turns out, the key here is size. If a clot is small—between the size of a nickel and a dime, even on your heaviest day—you’re probably in the clear. Especially if you’re not experiencing unusual pain, cramping or other symptoms. And don’t worry too much about the color, either. Clots come in many shades, from light red to dark, all of which are normal.

So when should you worry about those clots? Once again, size is a factor, so anything larger than a quarter is worth discussing with your doctor. And, if your clots represent a change in your cycle, that’s also worth bringing up at your next gyno appointment. But there’s more. If you’re seeing clots and:

 

·         Experiencing longer periods, lasting more than seven to 10 days

·         Your flow is so heavy you have to change your pad or tampon hourly

·         You are experiencing regular spotting

·         You have lots of pain and cramping

It’s time to talk to your doctor ASAP.

Why am I clotting during my period?

As we discussed, some clots are just part of a normal flow. But other conditions could be causing those worrisome clots, including:

Uterine fibroids: These are tumors that develop in your uterus, but they are almost never cancerous. Still, they can cause symptoms like long, heavy periods, and extreme pelvic pain.

Endometriosis: This condition occurs when the endometrial tissue (it lines the inner portion of your uterus) grows outside.

Adenomyosis: Like endometriosis, this is a condition where endometrial tissue escapes the uterus. But with adenomyosis, the tissue grows into the muscular walls of your uterus.

Uterine polyps: These growths are attached to the inner wall of your uterus, and reach into the uterine cavity. They are not usually cancerous, but can change and become problematic.

Other conditions, including missed miscarriages and even cancer could be causing your large clots, so be sure and speak to your doctor if this is a concern. The good news is that many of these conditions, including fibroids and adenomyosis, can be controlled with minimally invasive treatment options. So get into the office today and start feeling better.

 

Could my weight gain be caused by fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors that, though not usually cancerous, cause lots of problems. Heavy periods, pelvic pain and frequent urination can all be tied to fibroids. But did you know gaining weight for no reason is also a fibroid symptom?

Gaining Weight with Fibroids pain from uterine fibroids

When they are small, or first developing, fibroids shouldn’t make you gain weight. In fact, you probably won’t even know they are there. It’s when they are left to grow large that changes start to happen.

First, they can make your stomach stick out, even without adding pounds on the scale, because your uterus expands to accommodate fibroid growth. In fact, because your uterus changes so much with fibroids, we see physical changes similar to those in pregnant women.

When you aren’t pregnant, and don’t have fibroids, your uterus is tucked deep inside your pelvis. It’s about the size of a pear.

With pregnancy, your uterus is palpable at your pelvic bone by the 12-week mark. By then, it’s expanded to the size of a grapefruit. And if you have a 6-inch uterine fibroid? You’ll notice very similar changes.

Fibroids also leave you feeling bloated. Because they change the size and shape of your uterus, fibroids may put pressure on your digestive system, making it more difficult to pass a bowel movement.

The enlarged uterus could also crunch on your bladder, making it difficult to completely empty and even causing swelling in your kidneys.

Altogether, these factors will make you look heavier than you are, and may cause the scale to tick up a few notches, even when your diet and exercise plan remain unchanged.

Getting a Fibroid Diagnosis

Of course,  you’ll usually notice other symptoms if your tumors are big enough to cause weight gain. But even if you don’t, listen to your body. If you’re gaining weight, or noticing changes to your belly that you just can’t explain, it’s worth seeing your doctor to get checked for fibroids. 

Here’s 3 Ways to Make Sex with Fibroids Easier

When you have fibroids, having sex can be painful. Fibroids, non-cancerous tumors, grow in and on the uterus. Those fibroids can interfere with your sexual relations because of where they develop.  But that’s not the only way fibroids interfere with intimacy.

Women with fibroids may get bloated. Their periods may be longer and heavier. They may experience pelvic pain outside their period. And dealing with all of that can make sex seem unappealing.

In order to make sex more comfortable and connected, couples need to first be open to communicating together. The partner without fibroids has to be supportive and understanding. The woman dealing with fibroids should feel comfortable expressing her feelings.

And, once the lines of communication are open, try these tips to make sex with fibroids easier:

 

Improving Sex with Fibroids Results after UFE

1. Focus on foreplay

Women with fibroids may be scared to have sex. They may have already experienced painful intercourse, or may be worried about what sex will feel like. Focusing on foreplay will give your partner time to relax, and will also ensure that her body is completely ready for intercourse. Both of those factors should help reduce or eliminate pain with penetration.

 

2. Reposition yourself.

When dealing with fibroids, once-favorite sexual positions may now be too painful. Instead of getting frustrated, why not see this as an opportunity to explore? Move around in bed, trying out different positions. Hopefully, you’ll find one or more that doesn’t hurt the partner with fibroids. And, in the process, you may even spice up your bedroom routine!

 

3. Redefine intimacy.

Sexual penetration isn’t the only road to intimacy. For some women, sex may too painful until her fibroids are treated. If that is the case for your partner, you can explore other ways of connecting as a couple. From date nights to alternate acts of intimacy, work together to find ways to stay connected.

 

Sources: Eve woman