Interventional Radiology Clinic located in Houston, TX
Up to 80% of women have uterine fibroids by the time they’re 50. Not all fibroids cause symptoms, but those that do can make it very difficult to function normally. If you’re suffering from heavy periods or other possible fibroid symptoms, reach out to experienced board-certified interventional radiologist Andrew Doe, MD or Sandra Newberry, MD. At Alate Health, the team offers fibroid removal treatments that shrink fibroids and reduce fibroid bleeding to end your symptoms quickly. Call the Houston, Texas, office, or use the online appointment tool to set up your visit.
Uterine Fibroids Q & A
What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are muscle and fibrous tissue growths inside your uterus. There are four types of fibroids:
- Intramural - muscle wall uterine fibroids
- Subserosal - fibroids in the outermost uterine layer
- Submucosal - fibroids within the innermost uterine lining
- Pedunculated - stalk-growing fibroids
Although fibroids aren’t cancerous, they can still cause considerable problems, including heavy bleeding and long periods. A fibroid can be as small as an apple seed, as large as a grapefruit, or anywhere in-between.
Fibroids sometimes occur in clusters, too. Most women get fibroids sometime in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. They’re fairly uncommon after menopause.
What are the signs I have fibroids?
If you have fibroids, you might not have any symptoms. Sometimes, women find out about their fibroids during a routine women’s wellness exam. But, in many cases, fibroids cause a range of very difficult issues, including:
- Periods over a week long
- Frequent feeling of pelvic pressure
- Painful periods
- Pain during sex
- Frequent urination or urinary incontinence
- Leg pain
Fibroids also often cause a heavy menstrual flow that requires needing both pads and tampons or changing pads/tampons every two hours.
If you have uterine fibroids, you may be six times as likely to need a Caesarean section when you have a baby. Fibroids can even cause infertility in some cases.
Though the cause of uterine fibroids is unclear, a combination of factors contributes to their occurrence.
Genetics, weight, ethnicity, hormones, and age are proven to increase the risks and severity of symptoms. It is still unknown why some women with fibroids experience severe symptoms while others do not.
The following factors contribute to a woman’s risk of developing fibroids:
Uterine fibroids are generally found in women ages 35-50. They rarely occur during the early 20s and either stabilize or shrink during menopause.
Estrogen and progesterone are associated with fibroids. They typically appear in women during childbearing years when hormone production levels are high.
Your chances of developing uterine fibroids increase if your mother or other family members have had them.
Women who are overweight have a greater chance of developing fibroids. A diet with too much red meat and not enough fruits and vegetables is thought to be a contributing factor.
Environmental habits may also impact the occurrence of fibroids. This includes alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, and toxins that affect the uterus.
African-American women are diagnosed more often with fibroids. They also appear earlier and grow larger than those found among other ethnicities.
Fewer incidents of fibroids are found in women who have given birth. Pregnancy may also protect against them due to uterine changes after childbirth.
An MRI is the best test to assess the size, location, and number of fibroids. This information helps determine what treatment options are best for you. Fibroids are highly treatable and do not always require removal to alleviate symptoms.
How does interventional radiology treat fibroids?
Fibroid treatment depends on your specific symptoms and needs. At Alate Health, the fibroid specialists focus on minimally invasive treatments that end your symptoms without major fibroid surgery.
Uterine fibroid embolization is a safe and reliable way to shrink fibroids. In this FDA-approved procedure, your Alate Health specialist creates a small groin area incision for catheter access.
They insert the slender catheter directly into the artery that delivers blood to your fibroid. Then, they administer a measured dose of embolic agents that cut off the fibroid’s blood supply.
Because your fibroid doesn’t get blood to keep it alive and growing, it starts to shrink. Eventually, the fibroid withers completely.
There’s simply no reason to resort to major fertility-ending surgery like hysterectomy, which comes with weeks of downtime when 90% of women get excellent fibroid relief through a uterine fibroid embolization procedure at Alate Health. Recovery takes a week or less.
To learn more about fibroids treatment, call Alate Health or schedule an in-person or virtual appointment online today.
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