treat fibroids, which has affected her for 14 years.
Fibroids affect 80 percent of Black women and 70 percent of white women by age 50, according to the National Institutes of Health.
At the time, Bailey’s fibroids were causing her severe exhaustion and had grown so large fans began to think she was pregnant.
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Bailey knew that a hysterectomy (a surgical procedure to remove the uterus) was not an option for her. “…That was…something that I really didn’t want to have,” she says. “I wanted to be open to having more children if I wanted to. Even if I didn’t want to, I just wanted the option.”
So, she instead opted for uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), which she discovered by doing her own research. UFE is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat fibroid tumors of the uterus by blocking the arteries that provide blood to the fibroids and causing them to shrink. It can often be done in an outpatient setting.
“[The] procedure is done through [a] catheter. They enter in the wrist or in the groin and the catheter goes around, [into] the blood vessels towards the origin of the arteries that feed the fibroids,” Dr. Yan Katsnelson, the founder of USA Fibroid Centers says.
Doctors use minute beads to “clog the vessels that go to the fibroids, and the fibroids just die and disappear.” “Think [of it] like [you] stop watering the plant or the field of grass. The grass dies,” he says. “It’s exactly the same thing. Without sufficient blood supply, the tumors stop functioning and just get absorbed…”
Unfortunately, many women living with fibroids are not aware that there are options for treating fibroids beyond a hysterectomy. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 200,000 women are subjected to hysterectomies each year to treat fibroids.
“I use my celebrity to keep the information out there for women to understand that they do have options and they do not have to suffer in silence,” she says. “And they do not have to have their uterus removed to deal with their fibroid situation. That should be a last resort if it even needs to happen at all.”
Bailey documented the 40-minute procedure on the “Real Housewives of Atlanta”. “The experience was great,” Bailey adds. “I went in, they gave me some light anesthesia. I don’t remember the procedure.”
She suffered cramping but, was able to return to filming after resting at home for two days. Within two to three months, she noticed drastic changes. Her menstrual flow was much lighter, lasting only three to four days as opposed to eight to nine.
Myomectomy vs. Fibroid Embolization: Which Treatment is Best for you?
Picking the best treatment
It is important to have an honest conversation with your doctor before making a final decision on the best method of treatment for your fibroids. They are many options available. Your doctor will help you determine a treatment plan based on your age, the size of your fibroids and your overall health. If your fibroids are small or don’t produce symptoms, you may not need treatment. In some cases, you may receive a combination of treatments. You should also speak with your doctor if you have fibroids and are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. He or she will monitor you closely.