Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous (benign) tumors. They grow in the muscle tissue of the uterus. Uterine fibroids are a common problem many women face. In fact, 20-80% of women develop fibroids by the time they reach age 501.

Common symptoms of uterine fibroids include:

  • Heavy or painful periods
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Feeling "full" in the lower abdomen
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain during sex
  • Lower back pain
  • Reproductive problems, such as infertility, multiple miscarriages or early labor
two girls talking

Treatments

At Roper St. Francis Healthcare, we have access to a wide range of treatments for uterine fibroids. Therapies include minimally invasive procedures, surgery and medicine. It's important to discuss the risks and benefits of each treatment with your doctor.

We understand that every woman is unique, so we tailor a treatment plan to fit your personal needs. Our expert doctors will work with you to find a therapy that helps you feel better, so you can live a full and healthy life.


Surgery


Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus. It also sometimes removes the ovaries. Women who undergo a hysterectomy usually need four to six weeks of recovery time. Be sure to discuss all the risks and side effects with your doctor before undergoing a hysterectomy.

Myomectomy

A myomectomy is surgery to remove the fibroids that leaves the uterus in place. This surgery usually requires a long recovery period. Make sure to talk with your doctor about all the risks and side effects of a myomectomy.


Medications


Short-term fibroid relief medication

Your doctor may recommend that you take medicine to help with fibroid symptoms. These medicines are called GnRH agonists.

The medications work by reducing estrogen levels in your body. When there is less estrogen, the fibroids shrink. However, once you stop taking the medicine, the fibroids usually grow back to their full size.


Minimally invasive procedures


Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)

Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a procedure that cuts off the blood supply to fibroids. This process causes the fibroids to shrink. UFE is also sometimes called uterine artery embolization.

UFE has similar results to a hysterectomy or myomectomy. However, it usually only takes an hour and has a shorter recovery time. It also doesn't require removing the uterus or ovaries. Most patients have UFE as an outpatient procedure, which means they don't need to stay in the hospital.

Roper St. Francis Healthcare has an advanced Interventional Radiology Clinic at Roper Hospital that specializes in UFE. We have a team of highly trained interventional radiologists, nurses and radiology technicians dedicated to providing safe and successful UFE treatment.

During UFE, a small incision is made in your groin to access an artery. Then, the interventional radiologist inserts a catheter into the artery and guides it to the uterus. A special X-ray is used to see which arteries are feeding the fibroids. Once these paths are visible, the interventional radiologist injects a material that can block the arteries leading to the fibroids. This blocks blood flow, which causes the fibroids to shrink.

UFE can sometimes cause infertility. It's important to talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of this procedure and whether it's right for you.



[1]
Uterine fibroids. 1 April 2019.
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