So many women are looking for an alternative to fibroid surgery. After all, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that over 26 million women aged 15-50 have fibroids, and many need relief from painful symptoms. And too many women choose surgery for fibroids, leaving them with a painful recovery. Or embarrassment, as was the case when one surgeon came under fire for posting pictures of 22 fibroids on Instagram in order to celebrate her sorority’s anniversary!
Now, here’s the good news. There are many alternatives to fibroid surgery that can help women find relief. That’s why we often feature celebrity fibroid warriors as our Woman Crush Wednesday, hoping to spread awareness about other options. But this week we get to draw from our own patient pool. A few months ago, we welcomed Raquel K. to our Houston area fibroid practice; as she explains, she came to us because she was, “looking for an alternative to fibroid surgery.”
Like many African American women, Raquel was diagnosed with fibroids and was facing scary treatment options like surgical removal of her tumors or even of her uterus (hysterectomy.) When she discovered our practice and scheduled her first appointment, she says, “Dr. Fox and his team took time to explain the UFE procedure and made me feel very comfortable.”
What is UFE?
UFE (Uterine Fibroid Embolization) is a minimally invasive alternative fibroid treatment. It’s also an outpatient procedure, which means it usually won’t require an overnight hospital stay.
During treatment, our doctors insert a catheter through our patient’s femoral artery, in your upper thigh. Next, we guide the catheter to the uterine artery until we get close to your fibroid tumor. Finally, we inject an embolic substance into the catheter. The embolic material blocks the vessels around the fibroid, cutting off its blood and oxygen. Soon, your fibroids shrink. And, since the embolic material is permanently lodged in the blood vessels at the fibroid site, they don’t come back.
After Raquel successfully underwent her UFE procedure, she turned to our practice Facebook page to share her story. “My quality of life has improved greatly since my UFE and I am very happy with my results,” she revealed. So now, she’s part of the team helping spread the word about this alternative #FibroidFix. And, in our well-versed hashtag books, that earns her a spot on the #WCW list, as well!
Life After UFE: What to Expect
Right after your procedure, you can expect to experience mild cramping, similar to period symptoms. By the next day, you should be able to return to work. And two weeks later, you’ll be back to full normal activities.
And what about your fibroid symptoms? Here’s the great news. Like Raquel, your symptoms should dramatically improve or resolve completely. Take painful sex, for example. Studies show that, one year after UFE, almost 80% of women who chose this treatment saw significant boosts in the quality of their sex lives.
Now, what happens if you want to have a baby after having minimally invasive fibroid treatments? Well, we know that you can get pregnant following this procedure. And certain tweaks, like the limited embolization approach, may make conceiving and carrying a child easier later on. Still, there are remaining questions. So we suggest making a consultation appointment with our fibroid experts today if you’re considering UFE. Together, we can review your unique situation. Then, we’ll decide if UFE is the right alternative to fibroid surgery for your needs.