Understand How Uterine Fibroid Embolization Treats Fibroids

Fibroids become more prevalent as women advance in age, with at least one in three females of ages 30-50 having them. They are abnormal tumors that develop in the lining of the uterus and vary in size. Fibroids can be tiny that they cannot be detected or large enough to distort and stretch the uterus. While most women with fibroids have no symptoms, those who do can have heavy menstrual bleeding, frequent urination, constipation, pelvic pressure or pain, and difficulty emptying the bladder. If you have fibroids, your specialist may recommend minimally invasive procedures such as uterine fibroid embolization in Houston, TX, to provide relief.

What is uterine fibroid embolization?

Uterine fibroid embolization is a less invasive procedure that specialists use for uterine fibroids – non-cancerous growths in the uterine lining.  Fibroid tumors or myomas stem from the muscular wall of the uterus and rarely become cancerous. However, they result in symptoms such as pain in the pelvic area and heavy menstrual bleeding.

While others may refer to the procedure as uterine artery embolization, the term is generalized as this procedure is also used for different medical conditions besides fibroids. Uterine fibroid embolization involves fluoroscopy, which offers guidance as the doctor delivers embolic agents to the uterine arteries. The doctor injects the small particles through a narrow tube called a catheter. These particles block the arteries, stopping the blood supply to the tumors. When this happens, the fibroids begin to shrink. Most patients have reported relief from their symptoms following uterine fibroid embolization.

How do I prepare for UFE?

Consulting with your specialist before the procedure will help you decide whether uterine fibroid embolization is the right option for you. Since its effect on fertility is yet to be established, most women resort to this procedure as an option to hysterectomy or when they are sure of not becoming pregnant again.  During a consultation, you may need to provide the doctor with a list of your current medication, including supplements. Your physician may ask you to stop the use of anti-inflammatory medicines and any others with blood-thinning effects.  Inform your doctor whether you are pregnant since the radiation is not safe for baby development. The following are instances when your specialist may advise against uterine fibroid embolization.

  • You react to foreign material with iodine
  • You are pregnant
  • You have a possibility of pelvic cancer
  • Have a recent or consistent pelvic infection
  • You have a vascular disease

Risks associated with uterine fibroid embolization

The procedure rarely results in complications. However, the risks involved are similar to those for surgical procedures for fibroids excision. Examples of these risks include:

  • Damage to other organs. There is a possibility of accidental or unintended embolization of different organs and tissues. Blocking blood supply to other healthy organs eventually results in damage. The uterus and ovaries share some blood vessels, making it more likely that the disruption of blood supply to the ovaries can occur during the procedure.
  • Infection.  Degenerating fibroids harbor the right environment for bacterial growth. As such, conditions may develop in the uterus. Most uterine infections are treated with antibiotics, but severe infections may require removal of the uterus.

To learn more about uterine fibroids embolization, consult with your gynecologist at Alate  Health.