If you have uterine fibroids, you understand the unpleasant symptoms they can cause. But did you know untreated fibroids can also lead to more severe health problems?
At Alate Health in Houston, Texas, Dr. Andrew Doe, a board-certified radiologist, specializes in helping women struggling with uterine fibroids find relief using minimally invasive uterine fibroid embolization.
On-surgical treatment helps end the negative side effects fibroids cause and lowers your risk of developing other fibroid-related health problems. Keep reading to learn what you need to know!
All about uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that grow in the uterine wall, under the outer layer of the uterine wall, below the inner lining of the uterus, and sometimes outside the uterus. These noncancerous growths range from extremely small (about the size of a small seed) to quite large (about the size of a grapefruit).
At least 35 million American women are diagnosed with fibroids, and for a large portion of these women, the fibroids trigger problematic symptoms that require medical intervention. Their symptoms depend on the locations of the fibroids and their size and may include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding, especially with clots
- Bleeding between periods, especially with clots
- Lower back pain
- Severe menstrual cramping
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Pressure or feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Periods that last longer than a week
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Difficulty emptying your bladder fully
It's important to note that some women with uterine fibroids don’t have any symptoms.
Five fibroid-related health concerns
Many women worry that uterine fibroids lead to uterine cancer. But studies repeatedly show that having fibroids doesn’t increase your risk of developing this serious disease.
However, that doesn’t mean fibroids don’t cause other health-related problems. Here’s a look at some of the fibroid-related health concerns these tumors can cause:
- Fertility complications: 5-10% of infertile women have fibroids
- Pregnancy complications: Fibroids are associated with preterm labor, placental abruption, low birth weight, and increased risk of breech birth, cesarean delivery, or abnormal labor
- Anemia: The heavy bleeding fibroids cause can lead to low iron in your blood
- Kidney damage: Large fibroids interfere with your bladder and ureter, resulting in kidney damage
- Anxiety and depression: Fibroids can affect your mental health, most likely because of the negative impact the symptoms have on your quality of life
The good news is that you can avoid most of these health-related concerns by treating uterine fibroids before they become too large,
Treating uterine fibroids
At Alate Health, radiology expert Dr. Doe uses cutting-edge uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) to treat uterine fibroids effectively. Dr. Doe performs more UFE treatments daily than any other practitioner in the Houston area, so you’ll know you’re in good hands at Alate Health.
This innovative treatment cuts off blood supply to the fibroids using a tiny catheter that places particles into the blood vessels serving the tumor. Without a steady blood supply, the fibroids shrink, leading to a significant reduction in the unpleasant symptoms fibroids cause.
The minimally invasive treatment only requires one tiny incision and generally takes no more than 90 minutes to perform. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology consider UFE safe and effective for women not looking to conceive, and complications are rare.
Dr. Doe first reviews your current symptoms and medical history during your consultation. He then orders an MRI to pinpoint the location, number, and size of your fibroids. Based on his findings, Dr. Doe recommends UFE as an alternative to surgery.
The treatment works best for moderate to large fibroids. Extremely large fibroids may require a different treatment. Studies indicate that UFE is at least 85% effective in easing fibroid symptoms, and at Alate Health, we exceed this number, with over 90% of our patients enjoying significant improvements.
Learn more about uterine fibroids and the treatment options available by scheduling an appointment at one of the Houston, Texas, offices of Alate Health. You can also request an appointment online at your convenience.