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Why We've Got a Fibroid Treatment Crisis

Posted on January 01, 2024

So many women are affected by fibroids, and we are lucky to have many fibroid treatment options. But here's a scary fact about fibroids: Most women (about 8 in 10) 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 aren't told about all of their treatment options, and a shocking 11% of women think hysterectomies are the only way to treat fibroids! Sadly, treating fibroids costs up to $9 Billion dollar each year, and steals many women's fertility, leading the authors of this study to search for better, more targeted treatment options.

Unfortunately, the news keeps getting worse. In another recent survey of women age 16 to 64, 64% of those women said they'd immediately schedule whatever procedure their doctor recommended. And, in most cases, stated that was a hysterectomy. Sadly, just 23% of the women said they'd get a second opinion, or research less invasive fibroid treatments.

Sharing Fibroid Treatment Information

Because so many women don't know their fibroid treatment options, we're taking part in the #FibroidFix project. Launched by the Society of Interventional Radiology, the goal is to help women learn about UFE. This is 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 supplies 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.

Banning Treatment Options

Other non-invasive treatments, such as certain forms of birth control, may help relieve fibroid symptoms. But other drugs, such as mifepristone, may also help women find relief. Yet most women won't hear about this option.

Why is that the case? Well, the Federal Drug Administration approves this drug for early abortions (up to 10 weeks.)  So, even though it can treat fibroid symptoms, and may help women with endometriosis and depression, it's very hard to access. Even worse? Because of its link to abortions, researchers are less willing to study mifepristone. Meaning it's unlikely to become an available fibroid treatment in the future.

Closing the Fibroid Information Gap

Despite all the obvious UFE 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! And let's make sure you schedule an appointment at one of our Houston area fibroid treatment centers, so that you don't fall victim to this crisis!

Sources:  Society of Interventional Radiology, USA Fibroid Women Health Survey

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