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Why UFE is the Most Underused of Fibroid Treatment Options

Posted on December 20, 2023

We need to talk about your fibroid treatment options. Right now, uterine fibroids are one of the main reasons why women get a hysterectomy. And that's a shame since most women prefer an option that lets them keep their uterus--and their fertility.  

Uterine Fibroids Treatment Options  fibroid treatment options

Up to 80% of women will develop uterine fibroids by the age of 50, but only about 25% will have symptoms that require treatment. African American women have a greater risk of developing fibroids, and a higher percentage of women who have fibroids will experience symptoms from them.

Unfortunately, women with fibroid symptoms, including heavy periods, wait an average of 4 years before trying to seek treatment. And many women may only speak with their gynecologist about fibroid symptoms and treatment, and will not learn about uterine fibroid embolization from an interventional radiologist. Follow these steps to prepare for a uterine fibroid embolization procedure.

Understanding fibroids treatment options: why it matters

In one study, 51% of women who had symptomatic uterine fibroids felt that it was important to have a treatment option that preserved the uterus regardless of whether they wanted to plan a pregnancy or not. The percentage of women under 40 who wanted a uterus-sparing treatment option was significantly higher. However, a hysterectomy is still the most widely used treatment.

Knowing the benefits and risks of each type of fibroid procedure can help you and your physicians make the best decision for your treatment plan. You should also ask yourself important questions such as what kind of symptoms are most troubling to you; whether you still wish to expand your family; and whether you want to resolve your concerns or manage your condition. Here are some key facts to consider when exploring each of your options:

Hysterectomy

The majority of hysterectomies performed in the US, about 600,000 procedures, are performed because of uterine fibroids. A hysterectomy typically requires an average of more than 2 days in the hospital and a 2-6 week recovery period, much longer than the recovery for UFE. Following surgery, many women are left with a leaky bladder, weak pelvic floor muscles and other complications. Plus, choosing a hysterectomy means you'll never be able to carry a child.

Myomectomy

A myomectomy is another uterus-sparing treatment option. With this surgery, we remove individual tumors from your uterus. But there's always a risk that doctors will miss one or more fibroids, leaving you with symptoms. Plus, for every fibroid removed, there's a risk of scarring on your uterus. Finally, following surgery, up to 1/3 of fibroids will recur. And about 10% of women undergo a hysterectomy  5-10 years after myomectomy.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization

UFE is a safe and effective outpatient procedure. This fibroid treatment option preserves your uterus and shrinks uterine fibroids. And it does so without any blood loss. But how does it work?

First, we inject embolic material into your uterine artery, cutting off blood flow and starving the tumors. Your uterus stays in place, but we can still treat and resolve your fibroid symptoms. And we access your artery by making a small incision in your groin or wrist to insert a catheter that can reach the fibroids.

90% of women experienced major improvements in fibroid symptoms after uterine fibroid embolization.

Do you have symptoms caused by fibroids? Click here to request an appointmentto learn more about the UFE procedure.

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