Category: UFE

Shelley’s Story

Uterine fibroids is a condition that affects over 70% of women in the U.S. by age 50. Excessive menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain are common symptoms of uterine fibroids, and often disturbs one’s day-to-day lifestyle. Shelley, a patient at Houston Fibroids, suffered from uterine fibroids and described her periods and cramps before fibroid treatment as “excruciatingly painful” with excessive bleeding. Additionally, she found sexual intercourse to be quite painful.

Shelley didn’t want to resort to getting a hysterectomy to treat her conditions, and went through an informative consultation process with Houston Fibroids to explore less invasive treatment options. Shelley had minimal pain and downtime after the Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) procedure, and after a year, has no symptoms of uterine fibroids. “It’s been a little over a year and I’ve had no pain during sex anymore, no bleeding during sex anymore, my cramping is very light, it’s normal now, and my periods are not heavy whatsoever.”

When asked if she had advice for anyone suffering from uterine fibroids, Shelley recommended the UFE procedure. “I’ve always recommended this. It was recommended to me from another patient, and I truly feel it changed my life.”

If you would like to learn more about how UFE can help treatment uterine fibroids, contact Houston Fibroids at (713) 575-3686 for a consultation.

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#WCW: Helping Vanessa Beat her Fibroid Pain

In our fibroids practice, we strive to provide women with treatments that help them alleviate their pain and frustration without having to undergo surgery. What makes this mission so rewarding is hearing from our happy patients. Recently, one of our patients, Vanessa Williams, agreed to share her story of pain and recovery with other women in search of help with their fibroids. 

Vanessa’s Fibroid Story
Ms. Williams had been in pain and dealing with other complications when she was diagnosed with uterine fibroids. Still a young woman, she did not want to be treated with a hysterectomy (the surgical removal of her uterus), an option that would immediately send her into menopause. Yes, it would solve her fibroid problem, but it would also leave her facing a long and painful recovery. She knew there had to be a better option.

Doing her Research
Like so many of us do, Vanessa hit the internet in search of alternate treatment options for women with fibroids. Thankfully, during her search, Ms. Williams came across our Houston Fibroids Facebook page—and that’s when everything started to change.

On our page, she learned about Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) a non-invasive treatment option that could permanently shrink her tumors by cutting off their supply of blood and oxygen. She read first-hand accounts of women who’d had the procedure and whose lives had truly been changed by their ability to manage pain without undergoing a hysterectomy. She was convinced, and she came into our office.

Inside her Recovery
At our office, Vanessa met with Dr. Fox. At the initial consultation, during which she was determined to be a good candidate for UFE, Ms. William’s was able to ask all her questions and get immediate answers from our team of experts. She decided to go ahead with UFE and scheduled a procedure date.

After her treatment, during which a catheter was inserted into her arm to deliver embolizing materials to her fibroids, Vanessa was determined to return to our Facebook page and share her story in the hopes of helping other women find and learn about this alternative treatment option. She had the following words to share about her journey:

After the procedure, “It was very painful for about three days due to the cramping. I had meds but had a hard time taking them. However I am so thrilled after totally healing. I have so much energy!! My stomach shrank as well. So look into this if you suffer with fibroids. All of my female issues gradually started to leave. As of two weeks ago I’m 100 better totally free of those issues”

Find Your Fix
We are grateful to Vanessa for so generously sharing her story, and to all of our patients who have bravely opened up about the benefits of UFE, helping so many women learn about their options. For more information on UFE and other fibroid treatments, feel free to reach out to our office staff and team of physicians.  

Is UFE Covered by Insurance?

Many women diagnosed with uterine tumors are worried about covering the cost of fibroid treatments. In our Houston fibroids practice, we offer a non-invasive, alternative  treatment option known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization. Its benefits include: minimal downtime, no hospital stays and the ability to avoid surgery and hysterectomy! 

Fortunately for patients seeking relief from fibroid pain, UFE is an established and accepted fibroid treatment option. As such, all major insurers (and most plans in general) will cover the cost of treatment (check out the helpful video below for more information from one of our fibroid experts, Dr. Hardee.) In fact, because we perform all UFE procedures in our Houston fibroids office, on an outpatient basis, many patients are faced with much lower out-of-pocket expenses in comparison to other treatment options. While surgeries like myomectomies and hysterectomies require costly hospital stays, anesthesia and other additional expenses, many women who decide to proceed with UFE are billed for as little as an office visit co-pay. Additionally, by September, many women will have met their insurance plan deductibles, further lowering the expected cost of treating fibroids.

Of course, as an office, we want patients to focus on getting better, not on worrying about paying for their treatment. For that reason, our experienced team is on hand and available to help with handling any insurance issues that come up for patients being evaluated and treated for uterine fibroids. Even before your treatments begin, someone from our office will contact your insurance company directly to address any coverage issues before treatment.

 Insurance and our Houston Fibroid Practice

Uterine-Fibroid-Treatment-for-African-American-Women in HoustonThankfully, our practice also works with a wide variety of insurers: from Medicare to HMO plans, we have one of the most comprehensive insurance offerings in the greater Houston area. This means that you will more-than-likely be covered when it comes to paying for UFE.

With over 30 years of combined experience treating women suffering from fibroids, Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee know how difficult dealing with fibroids can be. That’s why our doctors offer a less invasive treatment option and a variety of ways to pay for the treatment itself. Don’t let concerns about cost prevent you from treating your fibroid pain. Contact our office at (713) 575-3686 to begin your insurance-covered journey to better health! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Talk: Fibroids Can Kill Your Sex Life

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. 

But take heart: there is help available, both for your fibroids and your 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

  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. 

#WCW: FKA Twigs Fibroids Journey

On this week’s Woman Crush Wednesday, we are celebrating singer (and former Robert Pattinson fiance) FKA Twigs for opening up about her fibroids struggle. In May, the star gave a very revealing Instagram update, saying she had undergone laproscopic surgery to remove six fibroids from her uterus. 

She went on to share: “the tumours were pretty huge, the size of 2 cooking apples 🍎 🍎, 3 kiwis 🥝 🥝 🥝 and a couple of 🍓🍓.
a fruit bowl of pain everyday. the nurse said that the weight and size was like being 6 months pregnant.”

Pain and Loneliness
Sadly, for FKA Twigs, the journey to healing was extremely tough. “I tried to be brave but it was excruciating at times and to be honest I started to doubt if my body would ever feel the same again,” she said. “I had surgery in December and I was so scared, despite lots of love from friends and family I felt really alone and my confidence as a woman was knocked.”

The good news is that, six months later, the singer was feeling better and ready to share a message with other struggling women: “I know that a lot of women suffer from fibroid tumours and I just wanted to say after my experience that you are amazing warriors and that you are not alone. you can get through this,” she said, concluding, “and with this I let go of the pain… love always twigs.”

A Better Path
We are so thankful that laproscopic surgery helped FKA Twigs feel like herself again; certainly, many women have been helped by similar procedure. Still, any kind of surgery is traumatic to your body, so why go under the knife if there’s another option? 

Thankfully, there is! Known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), it’s a minimally invasive fibroid treatment delivered through a catheter inserted into your arm. Women can typically avoid hospital stays with this outpatient procedure and most feel well enough to stand up and walk immediately afterwards. 

So to all of Ms. Twigs’ fellow fibroid warriors, we say: know your options. Come into our Houston Fibroids office and find out if UFE is right for you! 

 

Warning: Fibroid Meds Linked to Liver Damage

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, because some women taking Esmya have suffered liver injuries, the EMA now recommends that all patients should have liver screenings before and after taking the drug. Women with a history of liver problems should never take Esmya, and the drug should really be seen as an option of last resort. Only women without other treatment options should take this drug, according to the EMA. 

Sadly, many women are not aware of UFE, a minimally invasive fibroid treatment with many fewer potential complications. Women who are eligible for this non-invasive treatment option can expect an outpatient procedure that lasts for about about one hour; in fact, because the procedure is conducted through an artery in the arm, most UFE patients are able to stand up and walk around right after receiving treatment. Best of all, treatment is delivered directly to the uterine growths, offering a permanent fibroid solution that leaves other body parts completely unaffected. 

If you have been prescribed medications to help with the side effects of uterine fibroids, it’s crucial that you learn about 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. 

Let’s Get #FibroidFix Trending!

There’s a scary new study about fibroids: according to the Society of Interventional Radiologists, (SIR) most women will develop fibroids by the time they are 50, but about 57% of women don’t know they are at risk! Worse, 44% of women with fibroids are not told about all of their treatment options, and a shocking 11% of women think hysterectomies are the only way to treat fibroids! 

Because so many women are uninformed about fibroids, SIR has launched the #FibroidFix project. The goal is to help women learn about UFE, a non-invasive treatment option for uterine fibroids. Unlike many other treatment options, UFE is not a surgery. Treatment is delivered through an artery in your left wrist. Using specialized X-Ray equipment, your doctor injects small spheres through a catheter and into the blood flow that supplys your growing fibroids. The spheres, also known as embolic material, are designed to block the vessels around a fibroid, cutting off its oxygen and blood supply so that it starts to shrink. The embolic material remains permanently in place, so that the fibroid can’t start to grow again. news & events

Unlike a hysterectomy or other fibroid treatments, UFE is minimally invasive. The procedure usually lasts about one hour, and most patients can stand and walk immediately afterwards. Though usually performed in a hospital, UFE is typically an outpatient procedure. 

Despite all these obvious benefits, many gynecologists aren’t telling women that UFE is an option when it comes to discussing fibroid treatments. In fact, 77% of women who know about UFE didn’t first learn about it from their gynocologists!

As physicians trained to perform UFE, Dr. Hardee and Dr. Fox think this lack of information is a major problem. In our practice, we think that women deserve to know all their options…and they also have the right to protect their fertility and avoid hysterectomies whenever possible! If you agree that fibroid patients deserve better information, join us in taking a stand! Spread the word about UFE and let’s get #FibroidFix trending on Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else you share the latest happenings! 

#WCW: Gabrielle Union, Fertility Warrior!

Welcome back to Woman Crush Wednesday! This week we’re celebrating Gabrielle Union, who’s opening up about adenomyosis, a condition that threatens the fertility of many women around the world.  

Gabrielle’s journey began when she and husband Dwayne Wade (of the NBA’s Miami Heat) decided to start a family. Unable to conceive on their own, Gabrielle says she turned to many unsuccessful rounds of IVF to try and become pregnant. Instead of getting support from her doctors, however, the star says she was basically blamed for her own infertility: “Everyone had just sort of chalked it up to ‘You’re a career woman, you’ve prioritized your career, you waited too long and now you’re just too old to have a kid,'” she said. “And that’s on you for wanting a career.”

Fortunately, Gabrielle did not stop looking for answers and, soon enough, she and her doctors discovered the truth: she had adenomyosis, a type of endometriosis that can cause infertility. 

According to Gabrielle, who now wants to raise infertility awareness among women of all ages, she’s had the condition since she was in her 20s. Adenomyosis occurs when uterine lining tissue is found in the muscle layers surrounding the uterus. It is sometimes hard to diagnose because the misplaced tissue acts like other uterine tissue, shedding itself at the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Many women have no symptoms, though some experience cramping, pelvic pain and unusual spotting. 

Any woman who has had uterine surgery, including fibroid removals and/or a cesarean section, is at risk for developing adenomyosis; women between the ages of 40 and 50 make up 80 percent of diagnosed cases, so age also appears to be a risk factor. 

Complications like Gabrielle Union’s are just one reason our doctors encourage early, non-invasive treatment options for uterine fibroids. After all, as Ms. Union is now telling fans as she relates her story of struggle, “Fertility is not an older women issue, it is an issue period.”

Why Fibroid Patients Don’t Need Hysterectomies

When it comes to fibroid symptoms like heavy bleeding, different doctors offer different treatments, but many opt for surgical removal or even hysterectomy (the complete removal of a woman’s uterus.) Since 1995, however, a different option has been available: like Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee at Houston Fibroids, doctors can now treat fibroids with embolization, a process that cuts off blood flow to the fibroids, causing them to shrink without invasive surgery.  

While there have been debates about each option, a new study from Denmark has now proved that patients have better long-term outcomes after embolization! 

Concrete Proof
Known as the EMMY study, this Dutch trial followed 156 women for 10 years after they were treated for uterine fibroids. All of the women had symptoms that made them eligible for hysterectomies. Of these women, 81 were treated with embolization and 75 had hysterectomies. Ten years after their procedures, researchers questioned the women on their quality of life and came up with very interesting findings: of the women who had embolization, only 28 needed a hysterectomy. The remaining 53 women who avoided hysterectomies reported similar health satisfaction to those 75 women who were given immediate hysterectomies. In short, the results prove that hysterectomies typically don’y need to 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.” 

Find Out More
As this study shows, hysterectomy is often avoidable when it comes to treating fibroids. Even in women who eventually will require a hysterectomy, embolization treatments can delay the need for major surgery and, of course, the onset of menopause that comes with a hysterectomy. When it comes to your health, knowledge is power. Before undergoing a life-altering hysterectomy procedure, or any kind of invasive fibroid treatment plan, schedule a consultation with our office team to discuss your eligibility for UFE, our highly effective, minimally invasive fibroid treatment option. 

#WCW: Tanika Gray Valburn

It’s #WomanCrushWednesday, and we just had to kick off our series by honoring fibroids warrior Tamika Gray Valburn, founder of The White Dress Project. For years, Tanika suffered from fibroids, having been diagnosed in her teens and having seen her mom lose two sets of twins due to her own fibroids! Eventually, Tanika had to have a myomectomy, surgically removing 27 fibroids from her uterus. 

After her recovery, Tanika 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. While thinking about her experiences, Tanika realized that she’d never bought white clothing. She said, “I hadn’t been able to wear white” because of her fibroid symptoms, which included very heavy bleeding. “Something like that seems so trivial, but for me it was another reminder that I had the mental anxiety of not being able to participate in things.” 

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!