Category: UFE

This is How to Deal with Painful Sex and Fibroids

Results after UFE
Even with fibroids, you and your partner can enjoy a healthy sex life

Let’s talk about sex, ladies…sex and fibroids. Fibroids, non-cancerous tumors that grow in your uterus, can cause some unpleasant side effects, including heavy bleeding and clotting during your period, fatigue, cramps, anemia, frequent peeing and constipation. That’s a long list of things that, not surprisingly, may take away your desire to get intimate with a partner. After all, in addition to these symptoms, the location of your tumors may even make the physical act of love painful or, at the very least, uncomfortable. 

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Painful sex is quite common. In fact, there is a medical term for discomfort during or after intercourse: it’s called dyspareunia. And approximately 25% of women experience dyspaurenia at some point in their intimate lives. It certainly makes intimate relationships more challenging. 

But take heart: there is help available, both for your fibroids and your physical love life. First, your fibroids. A diagnosis of uterine fibroids does not have to mean painful surgery. In our Houston fibroids practice, we offer minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that can permanently shrink the tumors without any incisions and with little or no post-procedure down time. Known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) it is an option every woman should consider before exploring more invasive treatments like surgeries and hysterectomies. Now, to your love life. While we do not claim to be sex therapists, there are measures you can take to restore your desire for intimacy after fibroids. 

Bedroom Help for Fibroid Patients

  1. Be open: talk to your partner about the way that you’re feeling and the effect fibroids have had on your body. Connecting in a warm, loving conversation can lead to a stronger physical connection. 
  2. Go slowly and communicate: during intercourse, make sure you tell your partner what does and doesn’t feel comfortable. 
  3. Stay simple: forget the kama sutra. When dealing with fibroids, simpler sexual positions may be best as they are gentler on your body. 
  4. Embrace all intimacy: remember–there is more to your relationship than just sex. If intercourse is too painful before your fibroid treatments, you can always seek other ways to be intimate with the special person in your life. 

Sources: azuravascularcare.com

https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/evewoman/

 

Warning: Fibroid Meds Linked to Liver Damage

Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that develop in and on your uterus. They often give you symptoms such as heavy periods, pelvic pain and more. In order to alleviate those symptoms, you’ll need to treat your fibroids. But, for some women, choosing the wrong treatment could mean even more medical problems!

The Danger of Fibroid Medications

 

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has advised that women taking Esmya, a fibroid medication, may experience liver injury from the drug. In order to prevent this complication, the EMA has implemented a series of precautions for doctors to review before prescribing Esmya as a fibroid treatment. 

When working properly, Esmya is supposed to reduce the bleeding and anemia associated with uterine fibroids. Unfortunately, some women taking Esmya have suffered liver injuries. In response, the EMA now recommends that all patients should have liver screenings before and after taking the drug. You should never take Esmya if you’ve had liver problems. Even for healthy women, Esmya isn’t a great choice: in fact,  according to the EMA, you should only take this drug if you don’t have other options.  

Embolization: A Less Complex Fibroid Treatment

Sadly, many women are not aware of UFE, a minimally invasive fibroid treatment with many fewer potential complications. Women who are eligible for UFE can expect a one hour, outpatient procedure that’s minimally invasive.  In fact, most women stand up and walk around right after UFE, because we conduct the procedure through an artery in your arm. Best of all, UFE is a permanent fibroid solution, but it doesn’t affect any other body part. And that’s because we deliver treatment directly to your uterine growths.

If you have been prescribed medications to help manage your uterine fibroid growths, you must explore all of your potential treatment options. Contact our Houston Fibroids practice to see if UFE can help you avoid the potential complications of fibroid medications. 

Check Out This Crucial Women’s Health Revelation

When it comes to fibroid symptoms like heavy bleeding, different doctors offer different treatments. Unfortunately,  hysterectomy (the complete removal of a woman’s uterus) is a top suggestion. Since 1995, fibroid doctors like Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee offer embolization. This is a process that cuts off fibroids’ blood flow, shrinking them without invasive surgery. 

Now, we want to help spread the word about non-invasive treatments. That’s because they can make a major impact on your long-term well-being! In fact, science now confirms that women have better long-term outcomes with embolization! 

Why Hysterectomy isn’t Always The Fibroid Answer

A 10-year Dutch study followed 156 women after their uterine fibroid treatments. All of the women had symptoms that could have been treated with hysterectomies. But 81 were treated with embolization and 75 had hysterectomies. Ten years later, the women reported their quality of life. And only 28 embolization patients still needed a hysterectomy! Plus, the  53 women who avoided hysterectomies were just as symptom-free as the 75 women who had hysterectomies right away. In short, the results prove that hysterectomies shouldn’t be the first plan of attack in a fibroid treatment plan. As study leader Jim Reekers says, “Uterine artery embolization is a well-documented and good alternative to hysterectomy for symptomatic uterine fibroids, on which all eligible patients should be counseled.” 

What’s Involved in UAE and UFE?

Uterine fibroid embolization (or uterine artery embolization)is minimally invasive. Interventional Radiologists, doctors trained to provide minimally invasive procedures, perform this procedure. Before treatment, you’ll undergo testing. If you’re a candidate, your entire procedure lasts less than one hour. Better yet, it’s  performed as outpatient therapy. You’ll likely stay no longer than 23 hours after your procedure.

And what happens in the procedure? UFE begins with a tiny incision in your femoral artery. This gives allows us to pass a small tube into your femoral artery, so we can access the uterine artery. Using special X-ray equipment, we then guides the catheter to your fibroid. Next, your IR injects embolic material (small spheres) through the catheter.  

This embolic material blocks vessels around the fibroid. Then, the tumor shrinks without the blood and oxygen it needs to grow. And the material stays in your vessels permanently, so the fibroid doesn’t return. 

Next, we move the catheter to the other side of your uterus, usually using the same incision. And, after we embolize both sides of the uterine artery, we gently remove your catheter and place finger pressure over the small incision in your thigh. After a few minutes, we’ll likely close the incision.

After the procedure, you may experience some discomfort such as abdominal cramping or pain. You may need some medication. But our skilled nurses will help you with post-procedure care. We’ll also schedule your post procedure follow up appointments.That way, you’ll come in at the optimal time. 

Find Out More

Many women with fibroids can clearly avoid hysterectomy. And embolization can still delay surgery and menopause, even for women who eventually require one. When it comes to your health, knowledge is power. Before undergoing a life-altering hysterectomy, or any invasive fibroid treatment, schedule a consultation with our office team. We are happy to discuss your eligibility for UFE. 

Sources: Parent’s Africa Magazine, CVIR Endovascular Journal

#WCW: Condoleezza Rice, UFE Trailblazer

Today, many women treat uterine fibroids without surgery. Choosing UFE, uterine fibroid embolization, is not that unusual. But back in 2004, when Condoleeza Rice was national security advisor to this country, this was not the case. At that time, UFE was a relatively new fibroid treatment method. Nonetheless, Ms. Rice chose this minimally-invasive procedure—and publicized her decision to help other women understand their options. For that, she is our original (and always) Woman Crush Wednesday.

Choosing to Avoid Fibroid Surgery

At the time Ms. Rice treated her non-cancerous tumors of the uterus, 30% of hysterectomies in the U.S. were performed on women with fibroids. And, at that same time, only 13,000 women each year opted for fibroid embolization—after all, it was first performed by French doctors in 1995, so was relatively new less than a decade later.

Even so, Ms. Rice made a bold choice and, after just a one night hospital stay, was able to successfully treat her fibroids with UFE. The procedure itself lasted just an hour and a half. She was treated on a Friday and back to work on Monday.

What is UFE?

Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) cuts off blood supply to the tumor, slowing their growth and ultimately shrinking the fibroid.

In our Houston fibroids practice, we trans-radial access, which means we treat your fibroids through the radial artery in your left wrist. Unlike when Ms. Rice had UFE, and the femoral artery provided treatment access, this method has fewer complications and is less painful.  It also means that our patients can sit up and walk right after the procedure, leading to quicker recovery times.

In 2004, UFE was a cutting-edge procedure—and it just keeps getting better. Plus, today, far more women know about and choose this minimally-invasive treatment. Still, too many women don’t know about UFE…and end up having unnecessary surgeries. Join us, and our WCW Condoleezza Rice, in spreading the word. Tell your female friends: #chooseufe!

Update: Menopause Doesn’t Always Cure Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are an extremely common type of noncancerous tumor. Many women don’t even know they have fibroids, because they don’t experience symptoms, like pain or heavy menstrual flow. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there, waiting to cause problems, even after your monthly period slows down or stops. 

Fibroids During Menopause

During menopause, your body’s sudden lack of reproductive hormones can cause fibroids to shrink. Typically, the change also prevents new fibroids from forming, but this is not always the case. Menopause is not a guaranteed cure for fibroids, which means that you may continue to experience uterine fibroid symptoms during and after menopause. uterine fibroids in menopause

Risk Factors

Certain conditions or factors that can contribute to your likelihood of developing uterine fibroids. These include:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Obesity
  • Low vitamin D levels
  • A family history of uterine fibroids
  • An extended period of extreme stress
  • No history of pregnancy
  • African-American ethnicity
  • Being 40+ years of age

Treating Postmenopausal Uterine Fibroids

There are several treatment options available for woman with uterine fibroids including:

Many of these treatments are the same for all women, regardless of age.  Still, menopause may make a more permanent surgical option, like a hysterectomy, more attractive since your childbearing years are over. Younger women that still plan to have children typically prefer to take oral contraceptives or undergo a minimally invasive procedure like UFE.

It is important to discuss all of these options with your women’s health specialist as they will be able to help you reach a decision based on your current health and outlook on potential treatments. To schedule an appointment with one of the fibroid specialists of Houston Fibroids, please contact our office today at (713) 575-3686.

 

Is UFE the Fibroid Fix for You? (Checklist included)

When you have fibroids, it’s hard to pick a treatment plan. There are so many different options. Some involve surgery, some don’t. Of course, you want to relieve your symptoms and minimize your down time. And one great option is Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). That’s because it’s an intervention that doesn’t require overnight hospital stays or surgery. But, like any medical procedure, it isn’t for everyone. How can you know if UFE is right for you? Let’s explore this quick checklist. 

Who Should Have UFE?

For some people, myomectomy (surgery to remove a fibroid) will be the right choice. Others may need a hysterectomy (removal of uterus.) But, you may be a candidate for UFE if: 

  • You have fibroid symptoms
  • Keeping your uterus is important 
  • You want to avoid surgery
  • Surgery would be dangerous for you
  • You are not pregnant

There are other factors to consider when it comes to UFE, which is why we’ve included this easy checklist. Fill out the form honestly and bring it in with you to your next doctor’s appointment. As you review your answers, know this: if you’ve responded yes to one or more of the categories, you may be a good candidate for UFE! Schedule a consultation with our Houston area fibroid specialists, Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee, to see if UFE can help resolve your fibroid symptoms! 

Sources: Society of Intervention Radiology

#WCW: Tanika Gray Valburn

It’s #WomanCrushWednesday! Today, we honor Tamika Gray Valburn, founder of The White Dress Project. For years, Tanika suffered from fibroids .  She saw her mom lose two sets of twins due to her own fibroids, but didn’t make the connection to her own diagnosis right away! 

In fact, Valburn didn’t officially get a fibroid diagnosis until her late teens, even though she experienced painful symptoms. “You just think it will skip a generation,” she recently revealed in an interview. “When you’re young, you’re not thinking it will be your story as well.” But, like so many women, Valburn discovered that fibroids do tend to run in families. 

And, because her fibroids caused such heavy periods, Valburn said, ““I’ve had to learn how to pad myself [to keep from leaking through clothes.] I know the whole formula—what kind of underwear to wear, what kind of tights, what kind of Spanx. I’ve tried and tested everything. It’s become a way of life.”

Eventually, Tanika surgically removed 27 fibroids from her uterus. After her recovery, she wanted to help other women. In 2014, Tanika convinced a Georgia state representative to officially declare July as Fibroid Awareness Month, helping women get the crucial health information they need.

But she didn’t stop there. Tanika realized that she’d never bought white clothing. She said, “It’s a simple thing. Like, who cares, why not just wear black? But I love clothes, and the fact that I had to sacrifice wearing white for these benign tumors—I wasn’t feeling it.”

The White Dress Project


That same year, Tanika founded the White Dress Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting fibroids awareness, supporting research, and bringing together a community of women who work to empower one another.  The white dress became their symbol, as it signified a milestone in Tanika’s recovery – the moment she could rock a white dress without any fear. Now, the white dress has become a symbol of strength and power to other women dealing with fibroids, becoming one step in the fight to take control of their menstrual health issues.

As doctors involved in the daily battle against fibroids, we salute Tanika, our forever #WCW. We invite all women who are dealing with fibroids to slip on their white dresses and take control of their health by learning more about UFE, a minimally invasive treatment for fibroids!

Can I get Pregnant After UFE?

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is an effective, minimally invasive fibroid treatment. For years, we didn’t know how UFE affects fertility. Women who wanted kids had myomectomies (surgical removal of fibroids.) Now, thanks to a new French study, that school of thought may just be changing. Woman holding a pregnancy test

Fertility After UFE

In this study, researchers followed 15 women, all about 35 years old and with no apparent fertility problems. All of the women treated their fibroids with UFE. Typically, UFE eliminates fibroids by injecting an embolizing substance into all the blood vessels and arteries surrounding a tumor. For this study, doctors changed things up. They embolized the vessels that directly gave blood to fibroids, but left other nearby arteries untouched, allowing blood to flow into the unaffected uterine tissue. The procedure, called a limited embolization approach, was supposed to spare the women’s fertility while also relieving their fibroid symptoms. 

Nine of the women were actively trying to get pregnant at the time of treatment. Within a year, five had babies.  Three and a half years after the modified UFE, eight of the women had given birth to 10 babies! Those are numbers that we love to see. 

And that’s not all the good news. The women reported a 66% reduction in their fibroid symptoms, and an incredible 112% improvement in their overall quality of life. Only five women still experienced symptoms, seeking follow up treatments. 

Of course, with unlimited UFE, recurring symptoms are much less frequent. But, because the full procedure impacts blood flow to your uterus, it may impact your chances of getting pregnant. So, for women who want to avoid surgery and still plan to have children, limited embolization UFE appears to be a great option. For more information on UFE, and to see if the procedure can work for you, schedule a consultation with one of our Houston area fibroid specialists. Relief may be available without hospital stays–all without giving up on your dream of having a family! 

 

Sources: ask4ufe.com, europeanradiology.org

There’s A Treatment for Fibroids That Improves Your Sex Life

It’s no secret that uterine fibroids can cause you to experience a number of unpleasant symptoms. Women commonly report bloating, abdominal pain and irregular or heavy bleeding, none of which are conducive to enjoying a typical sexual relationship. In fact, the effects of life with uterine fibroids can be debilitating for some women.

Results after UFEUnfortunately, half of women diagnosed with uterine fibroids are told that having a hysterectomy is their only option–even though studies show that uterine fibroid embolization is safe, effective and produces fewer complications than surgical hysterectomy.

Improved Sexual Function after UFE

In an  EFUZEN study conducted in 2016, researchers looked at how the procedure known as uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) affected sexual function in women.

Study participants underwent imaging with MRI before treatment, and again at three and six months after having the procedure.

Researchers wanted to know if fibroid embolization would help improve the women’s sexual function, and if so, by how much. They also sought to evaluate the participants’ quality of life before treatment and one year after UFE. They hoped to gain a better understanding of how fibroid size impacted a woman’s sexual function and her quality of life.

The study used two scoring systems: 

  • Female Sexual Function Index [FSFI] score
  • Uterine Fibroid Symptom Quality-of-Life (UFS-QOL)

Both of these are commonly used by physicians and researchers exploring women’s health conditions.

Results of the Study

When the study was concluded, researchers found women who had UFE enjoyed a significant improvement for both scores. FSFI improvement was shown in 78.8% of women one year after treatment. 90.2% of women reported an improvement in their USF-QOL scores.

The numbers don’t lie. UFE can help reduce ALL your fibroid symptoms, so you can reclaim your sexual health.

If you suffer from uterine fibroids, talk to your doctor about the options and see if a uterine fibroid embolization procedure is right for you.

What African American Women Must Know About Fibroids

There is a common health condition in this country affecting as many as 80 percent of adult African American women. It can drastically affect quality of life, causing pain, excessive bleeding and even affecting fertility. And these women are, all too often, not given sufficient information about their treatment options! 

Fibroids: A Common Problem

The condition we’re discussing is uterine fibroids, fleshy, non-cancerous tumors that develop in, on or around a woman’s uterus. While the reasons why aren’t entirely clear, fibroids are three times as common in African American populations as in Caucasian ones.

Unfortunately, many of these women are denied appropriate fibroid care. They are told to undergo hysterectomies—the complete removal of a woman’s uterus—to cure their fibroids. And, while a hysterectomy will eliminate a woman’s fibroid problems, it can cause a whole range of new health problems, aside from immediate infertility. Studies have shown that hysterectomies, especially in women under 40, can lead to incontinence, loss of sex drive, depression, obesity issues and cardiac problems later in a woman’s life.

While that fact is scary enough, the scarier fact is this: hysterectomy is not the only option for women seeking relief from fibroid symptoms. There are surgeries that remove the tumors while keeping the uterus in tact (myomectomy.) And, even more excitingly, there are non-surgical procedures that can cut off blood flow to a fibroid, effectively killing it, without forcing a woman to deal with hospital stays or extended down time. Known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization, the treatment is a wonderful option for women seeking to avoid the expense and risks of a more invasive surgical procedure. The only problem is: many women aren’t even told about this option.

#FibroidFix

That’s where health care activism has to step in and make a difference. Interventional radiologists like Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee are fighting to help all women improve their access to health care by spreading the word about UFE. We believe that women should be told about all available treatment options so they can make informed healthcare decisions. And we want your help in this mission. Share your fibroid stories (and info on alternatives to hysterectomy) with the #FibroidFix and help us get women’s health care issue trending!

Houston Fibroids is now OPEN for business!

Our offices have stringent safety protocols in place to keep you safe and provide the care you need.  We are accepting appointments now. Do not delay necessary medical care and follow-up. Call our office today at 713-575-3686  to schedule your appointment with Dr. Fox, Dr. Hardee, or Dr. Valenson.

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