We’re here to help women avoid hysterectomy complications and surgeries they don’t need. And that’s a big deal. Because, 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. (Which means other treatments could have been offered.) Even worse? Because gynecologists aren’t trained to provide UFE, a minimally-invasive fibroid treatment that helps avoid hysterectomy, they never even mention this option to their patients.
That was the case for Washington D.C on-air broadcaster Delia Goncalves. Recently, she took a two-month TV hiatus. Then, she spoke to her home station, WUSA9, explaining why. She said, “I had a hysterectomy to remove an aggressive 15-centimeter fibroid. I started feeling discomfort during the height of the pandemic, but like so many women – I just pushed through.”
Sadly, that’s the case for so many women living with fibroids. What’s worse? Many women with fibroids learn this the hard way. In fact, they’re often told hysterectomies are the only way to relieve fibroid symptoms. But help could come with less invasive treatment options. Now, like Delia, we want to help make sure women know about those alternatives! Because, as Delia said, “My message to you: listen to your bodies and don’t delay your care. I’m eternally grateful to my gynecologist who knew there was a problem before I did. I am lucky.”
And we want you to get early intervention, too. Because, that way, we hope you can avoid hysterectomy, whenever possible.
Hysterectomies Aren’t the Only Option for Fibroid Treatments
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 gynecologist, “There is clearly a failure of communication about the use of these less-invasive treatments.” And, says Dr. Anne Deans, another British gynecologist 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.”
Now, fibroid specialists like our Houston doctors are working to publicize alternatives with the hashtag #FibroidFix. And now, we aren’t alone! Recently, the Fibroid Fighters Foundation launched a new campaign, “Talk about U.” Now, can you guess what the ‘U’ stands for? It’s all about the uterus. And they’re encouraging women to do just that, in order to help get out the word about fibroids.
Women Helping Women Avoid Hysterectomy Complications
Fibroid Fighters Foundation Founder Dr. Yan Katsnelson says the campaign is critical. Because women don’t talk about fibroids. So they’re “one of the least discussed chronic health challenges that women face.” To change that, her non-profit is helping women record virtual interviews for sharing on social media.
Women can go to their site and answer a series of questions by audio, video or in writing. The topics cover your journey to diagnosis; how fibroids impact your life; and if or how you’ve navigated fibroid treatment options. The goal? To arm women with information, so you can avoid hysterectomy if possible.
Why does that matter so much? Each week, we hear more stories about hysterectomy complications. And it’s devastating to think they happened for no reason.
Hysterectomy Complications in the News
Late in 2021, 41-year-old Michelle Nugent had a hysterectomy because of uterine scarring. But days after her procedure, she developed excruciating pain. Plus, she lost bladder control, and started vomiting. At first, doctors thought she had a UTI. But later, they realized she’d developed a fistula between her bladder and vagina. (That means the two organs developed an abnormal connection.)
Unfortunately for Michelle, the symptoms of her hysterectomy complications didn’t improve. Even after a reparative surgery. To this day, sex hurts too much for her to be intimate with her husband. And, while a jury awarded her $10 million in damages, it can’t undo the daily pain she experiences.
Avoid Hysterectomy Complications with Other Fibroid Treatments
While Michelle’s hysterectomy wasn’t fibroid-related, her story could easily be. To this day, too many women with fibroids see this surgery as their only treatment option. And that’s because of the stigma surrounding this condition.
After all, as Dearra Williams recently said after sharing her interview, “I didn’t know that other women had experienced fibroids until I started speaking up about my own condition. Experiencing fibroids is tough, and women need to know that they are not alone. We need to support each other because there are thousands of women going through this.”
We love Dearra’s message, and we want to help change the current state of fibroid treatment. Because, now, there too many women who think fibroid diagnoses must lead to hysterectomies. And we know that’s not true. So, will you help us spread the word about alternative treatments? We urge you to visit the Fibroid Fighting Foundation and “Talk About U.” Or just share this article with the hashtag #FibroidFix. Together, we can help women avoid invasive, life-altering surgeries! And remember: if you’re one of the women still searching for a fibroid solution, come to our office for a consultation. We can help you explore ALL your treatment options!