July is Fibroid Awareness Month, and with 80 percent of all women developing fibroids by age 50, it is an important topic of conversation. Here, is Dr. Tyler Green’s physician perspective on the subject.
Fibroids are common benign (noncancerous) growths on the uterus. The problem with fibroids is that they can cause heavy menstrual bleeding or sometimes pelvic discomfort as they push on other organs within the pelvis. When fibroids are causing these sorts of problems, there may be several available treatment options. One treatment option is a minimally invasive procedure called uterine fibroid embolization, or UFE for short. The way that a UFE procedure works is that we insert a very small and flexible plastic tube, called a catheter, into the artery in the groin or wrist. Watching with X-ray, we then guide the catheter into the arteries that supply blood to the uterus and then inject very small round beads into those arteries to shut down the blood supply to the fibroids. Without a blood supply, the fibroids no longer bleed, and they shrink, reducing the pressure that they exert on adjacent organs within the pelvis. As a result, symptoms improve. Compared with surgery to cut out the fibroids or to remove the uterus entirely, uterine fibroid embolization is a less invasive procedure, with less risk and faster recovery. Our patients enjoy the comfort and convenience of an outpatient procedure, which is performed in our office, and they go home the same day without an incision.
Written by Dr. Tyler Green (photo of Dr. Tyler Green and his family provided by Dr. Green)