Congratulations on considering safe and effective uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) to treat your fibroids. At Alate Health in Houston, Texas, board-certified interventional radiologist Andrew Doe, MD, uses this procedure to reduce symptoms and improve the quality of countless women.
UFE is a minimally invasive procedure. Your provider places a small catheter into one of your arteries. He then injects tiny beads into the blood vessel. This blocks the blood supply to your fibroids. As a result, they shrink.
If you’re thinking about UFE, it helps to understand what happens after your procedure. Keep reading to learn what to expect after treatment.
What to expect on the first day
You can expect to be in the recovery area after your UFE procedure. At Alate Health, we offer private recovery rooms. The medical staff monitors you frequently after treatment.
Some patients may need to lie flat. This is to help control bleeding from the area where the catheter was placed. You can expect to have a bandage where the catheter was placed.
It’s normal to experience discomfort, pain, or cramping after the procedure. Post-UFE pain is typically the strongest in the first 2-6 hours after treatment. Your provider helps you manage your pain with IV pain medication.
Once you’re cleared to go home, you can leave. You will need someone to drive you. Your provider gives you a sedative during the UFE to keep you comfortable.
It’s crucial to rest and take it easy while you recover.
What to expect in the first two weeks
Your provider gives you detailed instructions about what to do once home. Always follow your doctor’s instructions.
Most women continue to experience milder pain for 4-5 days after UFE. This pain usually lessens each day.
Sometimes the pain medications can make you constipated. You can take over-the-counter stool softeners to help. You should also drink plenty of fluids and eat foods high in fiber.
Some women also get a low-grade fever or mild nausea after UFE. Researchers think this is because the treated fibroids release chemicals. These symptoms usually resolve in about a week.
Most women also have some vaginal discharge after UFE. Do not engage in sexual intercourse or put anything in your vagina (e.g., tampons) for two weeks after your procedure unless instructed otherwise.
You can shower 24 hours after your UFE treatment, but no baths are allowed for five days.
You’ll also need to limit physical activities and take some time off. This helps your body recover fully. By week two, you should feel much better.
Most women can resume their normal activities 8-14 days after UFE.
What to expect in the first few months
It takes time for the fibroids to shrink after UFE. You should notice an improvement in fibroid-related symptoms within the first three months after your procedure.
You may notice that you don’t get a period in the month following UFE. This is because it can take a few months for your cycle to get back to normal.
Know that when your period does resume, it’s usually much better than before UFE. Over 90% of women who have UFE say their periods are better two years after their treatment.
Life after UFE
You can expect to enjoy an improved quality of life after UFE. Over time, your fibroids continue to shrink. This means your symptoms will continue to improve. Most women report great results even five years after UFE.
Keep in mind that your follow-up appointments are part of your treatment. They also help keep you healthy and safe. Be sure to make all your post-UFE appointments.
To learn more about what to expect after your UFE treatment, schedule an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Doe at Alate Health in Houston, Texas.