How Can Uterine Fibroids Affect Your Life? [Dr. Morar]

Choosing to have a hysterectomy to treat uterine fibroids can have unintended and unwelcome consequences. Uterine Fibroid Embolization is a less invasive treatment option that can produce better outcomes for a woman’s reproductive health.

Why should women avoid a hysterectomy when they have uterine fibroids?

There are two main reasons why avoiding a hysterectomy as a treatment for fibroids may be the best course of action. Number one is that fibroids are a completely benign condition, removal of the entire organ for a  benign condition is unnecessary. The hysterectomy procedure is a major abdominal surgery, with at least a six-week recovery period, and the complication profile is much higher than other non-invasive, or less invasive treatment options.

The second reason to avoid a hysterectomy is the potential for a condition called post-hysterectomy syndrome. A lot of folks are unaware of this condition, and includes a number of different symptoms that women will suffer after having a hysterectomy, such as sexual dysfunction, dysphoria, depression, and anxiety disorders. 

These are the two main reasons that avoiding a hysterectomy should be considered. The uterus is an internal organ that is not meant to be removed. Taking out the uterus could be big ordeal for a woman to deal with.

What is the difference between uterine polyps and uterine fibroids?

They are both different types of growths that can happen inside of the uterus, but in general, a polyp is a small type of growth that happens only in the inner lining of the uterus, as opposed to a fibroid that happens in the muscle layer of the fibroid. Most often, fibroids are benign, non-cancerous tumors that grow inside the meat part of the uterus. A polyp is more of a little, tiny mushroom or skin tag that grows in the inside lining of the uterus. The polyp can become cancerous at some point, and that is the main thing to know. When we have a polyp, even though the symptoms can be similar, including excessive bleeding and even pain, we want to get a biopsy done and be sure that it is not cancerous.

The other big differentiator is that fibroids are far more common. About 80% of all women will have fibroids, and most of them don’t even know that they have fibroids. Polyps on the other hand are not as common. When somebody has a polyp, it is necessary to be more careful and get a biopsy to make sure it is not cancerous. Fibroids and polyps are growths that happen inside the uterus, but they are very different. They are different types of tissues, the polyps involve the lining inside of the uterus, where a baby would attach, whereas a fibroid grows in the meaty part of the uterus and is a benign condition.

Should a woman expect a more difficult pregnancy after UFE?

This question has two answers – yes and no. In my experience, with over 1000 patients, pregnancy becomes easier, there are mixed responses based on the provider. Most of the time women who have fibroids and have pregnancy issues, it is because it is a physical limitation. Normally, there is a uterus that has two fallopian tubes, the eggs come through the fallopian tubes and the sperm comes in from the bottom of the uterus, and at some point, they have to meet. When there is a fibroid, it is possible that the fallopian tube gets pushed and closed off and fertilization never occurs.

Once we do the fibroid embolization procedure and shrink the fibroids, many women can get pregnant that weren’t able to before. There is a small category of women that can have a problem with miscarriages once they have the fibroid embolization procedure. This is a much smaller number of patients, but if women are of child-bearing age and wish to have a pregnancy following a fibroid embolization procedure, the medical literature does state there is a slightly increased chance of miscarriages.

That is not a restriction in being able to get pregnant, there is just a slightly higher chance of miscarriage because when we do the procedure there may be some scarring in the lining of the uterus, resulting in a slightly increased chance of a miscarriage. Pregnancy actually becomes easier, but there’s a small number of patients who do have an increased risk of having a miscarriage after the embolization procedure.

See How American Endovascualr Can Help with Uterine Fibroids

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), is a minimally invasive-image guided procedure with fewer complications, quicker recovery times, and without a hospital stay. The American Endovascular/American Fibroid Centers affiliated physicians are among the nation’s most respected providers of endovascular procedures such as Uterine Fibroid Embolization. You can rely on them for high-quality, compassionate care before, during, and after the procedure. Request a consultation with Dr. Morar or your nearest American Endovascular Center today!