Non-surgical Uterine Fibroid Embolization, major advance in Women's Health

Gurgaon, July 3 (ANI): Uterine fibroids among women are quite common. They are non-cancerous benign masses of muscular tissue that develop within the walls of the uterus. It is not commonly known that nearly seventy percent of the women suffer from some kind of fibroids in their uterus.

Women having uterine fibroids experience excessive bleeding, pelvic fullness, urinary frequency, bloating or lower back pain .The cause of fibroid formation is still not known. However, genetics and hormones are believed to play a big role in this. .

Generally, women are shy to disclose their discomfort even within their families, leave alone see a medical practitioner for help. In most of the cases, the patients take medicines to reduce the pain or discomfort and satisfy themselves that they have addressed the trouble.

In more serious cases, women suffering from uterine fibroids have prolonged menstrual periods and unusually excessive monthly bleeding. They may also experience pain during sexual intercourse. Fibroids may also cause abnormally enlarged abdomen.

Uterine fibroids increase in size during pregnancy. After childbirth, they shrink back to their pre- pregnancy size. This causes women to think this is a normal occurrence associated with pregnancy. They hope that things would heal in the normal course. Many women think that it is part of the destiny of being born a woman.

However, these days many women go to a surgeon for hysterectomy, i.e. get their uterus removed, particularly after they beget two or more children. The feeling is that they would rather undergo the risk of surgery instead of suffering pain or discomfort throughout their lives.

Very few women are aware that they have an alternative, and can treat uterine fibroid through a non-surgical method. This is through Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). Through UFE women can keep their uterus and ovaries, but still treat the pain and bleeding associated with the fibroid disease.

During the embolization procedure, a small catheter is placed into the arteries feeding the fibroid.. Small particles are delivered into the artery to stop the blood flow into the fibroid. This causes fibroid tumor to shrink and cease to cause any trouble or pain thereafter.

The embolization procedure has many advantages. It does not want a patient to remain overnight in the hospital. In a majority of the cases women return to normal activities within two or three days. A study has indicated that women who had Uterine Fibroid Embolization had successful pregnancies too.

On an average, 85 to 90 percent of women who have had the procedure, experience significant or total relief from heavy bleeding, pain or bulk related problems. The procedure is effective for multiple fibroids and also for large fibroids. The procedure has also shown fewer complications, as compared to hysterectomy and myomectomy, which is the surgical removal of fibroids.

It is important that women who suffer from fibroids, before going for surgery to remove the uterus, should get a second opinion from an Endovascular specialist whether a surgery is really necessary. An ultrasound or a MRI diagnostic test will help the Endovascular specialist to determine if the woman can be cured through the embolization procedure. .

Uterine fibroid embolization procedure gives women a better alternative, enables them to return to active life, besides empowering them to retain their ability to possibly have a successful pregnancy. .

The procedure has been used successfully in the West for over two decades. Initially, it was used to stop bleeding after childbirth. In the United States, according to an estimate, over 14,000 undergo uterine fibroid embolization every year..

Uterine fibroid embolization is a very safe method and less than two percent of the patients have entered menopause as a result of going through it. . It is important that all women with fibroids, before going for surgery, should be aware of their treatment options and get a second opinion from an Endovascular Specialist

There is need to empower women in India by making them aware of the alternative.

Dr Virender K. Sheorain specializes in Uterine Fibroid Embolization and is presently with the Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon. E mail: veeru_5@yahoo.com. (ANI)

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