Not all uterine fibroids cause problematic symptoms and therefore don’t require treatment. But for women with pain and other frustrating symptoms from uterine fibroids, the good news is that effective treatments exist to minimize your discomfort. Treatments for uterine fibroids range from non-invasive to invasive surgeries.
At Alate Health, our board-certified interventional radiologists give expert diagnosis and treatment for fibroids, serving women across the Houston, Texas, area. Keep reading to know some of the top treatments for uterine fibroids.
All about fibroids
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that develop in the tissue of your uterus. Uterine fibroids are common, affecting between 20-70% of women, and are not cancerous. For some women, however, fibroids can cause pain and other disagreeable symptoms, which may include:
- Heavy or painful periods
- Lower back or abdominal pain
- Incontinence and frequent urination
- Digestive issues (e.g., constipation)
- Discomfort or pain during sex
If you deal with any of these symptoms, treatments for uterine fibroids could help.
Picking the right treatment
Meeting with a fibroid expert, like one of our providers at Alate Health, is the best way to determine which treatment is right for you.
To make the best recommendation for your needs, your provider evaluates your symptoms, fertility status, current physical health, and medical history and conducts a physical exam and imaging studies.
Different factors come into play when deciding on a fibroid treatment. Your Alate Health provider assumes, for example:
- The size and location of your fibroids
- The severity of your symptoms
- If you want to become pregnant
- Your age and proximity to menopause
With this in mind, your provider works with you, developing a personalized plan to treat your fibroids. At Alate Health, our providers and team work hard to relieve our patients from fibroid symptoms without invasive surgery.
Your provider might recommend over-the-counter drugs, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for mild pain. If you experience heavy bleeding, hormonal birth control pills, an intrauterine device (IUD), or an iron supplement to prevent anemia may also be recommended.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agents (GnRHa) are another popular medication used to treat fibroids. While GnRHa may help shrink fibroids in some women, it can cause frustrating symptoms, such as hot flashes, insomnia, joint pain, and decreased libido.
Endometrial ablation, a minimally invasive treatment, is another non-surgical option. During this therapy, the lining of your uterus is destroyed using tools such as a laser, wires, electric currents, and other techniques.
This therapy is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, and complications are rare. It is not recommended for women who want to get pregnant in the future.
Myolysis is a laparoscopic, minimally invasive surgery to shrink fibroids. It uses electricity, freezing, laser, or high-frequency ultrasound and is generally recommended to women finished with childbearing who have only a few smaller fibroids.
Since a myomectomy removes the fibroids from your uterus but leaves the uterus intact, it’s an option for women who want to get pregnant in the future. Keep in mind that with this procedure, there is a high rate of recurrence.
A hysterectomy is a major surgery that removes your uterus permanently. It stops all menstrual bleeding and other symptoms caused by your fibroids. However, you cannot have children once you have a hysterectomy. It can also cause side effects like hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)
A safe and effective non-surgical fibroid treatment, UFE shrinks fibroids by preventing them from getting the blood they need to grow. Your provider places a tiny catheter into your blood vessel that feeds the fibroid, then places tiny particles in the vein to block blood flow to the fibroid.
This procedure requires only a small incision and generally takes no more than 90 minutes. UFE is best on fibroids that aren’t too large and isn’t recommended for women planning to get pregnant in the future.
According to research studies, at least 85% of women who undergo UFE experience a drastic improvement in their fibroid symptoms. Complications are rare, but some women may experience incision site bleeding and infection.
Set up an appointment with one of our experts at Alate Health to discover which fibroid treatment is right for you by scheduling a consultation online or over the phone.