Uterine fibroids are abnormal growths in your uterine wall. These masses can be tiny like a seed or grow as large as a grapefruit. You can have one fibroid or many, and they can develop slowly over years or within a few months. And, while a fibroid is considered a tumor, they’re very rarely cancerous.
Between 20-80% of women have uterine fibroids by the time they turn age 50, but they don’t always cause symptoms. When issues do arise, however, they often cause uncomfortable problems, including:
- Heavy bleeding
- Painful periods
- Pain during sex
- Lower back pain
- Pelvic pain or fullness
- An enlarged lower abdomen
- Urinary incontinence
- Pregnancy and labor complications, including higher rates of cesarean section
- Reproductive issues, such as infertility
For many women struggling with moderate to severe fibroid symptoms, hysterectomies are often recommended as the solution. This surgical procedure removes your uterus and sometimes additional reproductive structures, such as your ovaries. Approximately 600,000 women have hysterectomies annually. But, 90% of hysterectomies are unnecessary, especially with alternate treatments available, such as uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).
As the leading provider of UFE in Houston and its surrounding areas, Andrew Doe, MD, and our team at Alate Health can bring you effective relief for your fibroid symptoms without the need for surgery or a total hysterectomy.
How UFE works
Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive, FDA-approved technique that shrinks your fibroids by cutting off their blood supply.
During uterine fibroid embolization, Dr. Doe makes a tiny incision in your groin to insert a small catheter inside the artery feeding your fibroid. Then, he injects tiny gel or plastic particles into your vessels to keep blood from feeding your fibroid. When deprived of blood, a fibroid shrinks, and your symptoms subside.
Dr. Doe performs UFE as an outpatient procedure at our state-of-the-art facility. The procedure usually takes about 40 minutes, and you will receive medication to help you relax and prevent any pain or discomfort. Afterward, you will rest comfortably in a private recovery room while we monitor you, and then you can go home to continue recuperating.
Unlike the lengthy recovery time following a hysterectomy that often requires a hospital stay, you can expect to return to work within 3-7 days after having UFE.
The advantages of UFE
In addition to preserving your uterus, there are several benefits to treating fibroids with UFE, including:
- Over 90% patient satisfaction
- Addresses all of your fibroids
- Less invasive
- Fewer risks and complications
- No hospitalization required
- Shorter recovery times
- Back to work within a week
- No scarring
- Reduces fibroid symptoms
- Covered by insurance
While UFE preserves your uterus, Dr. Doe usually doesn’t recommend this procedure if you’re looking for fibroid treatment options that will retain your fertility.
To see if uterine fibroid embolization can treat your fibroids, book an appointment online or over the phone with Alate Health today.