July is Fibroid Awareness Month, a time to provide you with the facts you need to know about uterine fibroids. NCH Director of Interventional Radiology Evan Oblonsky, M.D. has answers to frequently asked fibroid questions.
How common are fibroids and should women be concerned if they have them?
Uterine fibroids are the most common tumors in the female reproductive system. The majority of fibroids are diagnosed between ages 35 and 54. Fibroids are benign and are not precancerous or premalignant.
If women have large fibroids, should they be worried?
There is no real danger in having fibroids. Sometimes the larger the fibroids are, the more symptomatic they may be, as the size and location of them cause the symptoms. The most common symptoms include: heavy menstrual bleeding, passing clots, seven days or more of menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain and pressure, urinary incontinence/loss of bladder control and frequency, anemia, pain during sexual intercourse, constipation, an enlarged abdomen and backache or leg pain.
How does a woman know for sure that she has fibroids?
An initial diagnosis of fibroids is given by an OB/GYN, family practice or internal medicine physician after a pelvic exam and ultrasound are performed. Next a CT scan, hysteroscopy or MRI is performed to make a more definitive diagnosis.
Does having a fibroid increase a woman’s cancer risk?
Fibroids are benign tumors and are not premalignant or precancerous.
Which women are candidates for Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)?
Women who are experiencing symptoms associated with uterine fibroids, women who would like to retain the uterus, or women who are looking for alternatives to hysterectomy are good candidates. Also, women who are non-surgical candidates due to pre-existing conditions such as obesity, bleeding disorders or anemia could benefit from UFE, and those who are not pregnant and are not planning on having any more children are good candidates.
What are the benefits of UFE?
UFE is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure with a shorter recovery period than surgery. You can preserve your uterus, decrease heavy menstrual bleeding from symptomatic fibroids, have a quick outpatient procedure and return to work faster. The procedure is covered by most insurance companies, and overall, results in significant improvement in patients’ physical and emotional well-being.
What do women who are pregnant and have fibroids need to know?
The effects that UFE has on the ability to become pregnant, the development of the fetus and the ability to carry the fetus to term have not been determined.
Does NCH also perform endometrial ablation?
In addition to UFE, NCH performs many procedures that treat uterine fibroids such as endometrial ablation (hysteroscopic ablation), hysterectomy (including minimally invasive options), hysteroscopic resection and myomectomy (including minimally invasive options).
Get more information about Uterine Fibroid Embolization. Schedule a consultation by calling 847-618-5890.