If you’re experiencing heavy or prolonged menstrual periods or abnormal bleeding between menstrual periods as well as pelvic pain or pain during sex, you may be all too familiar with the pains of living with uterine fibroids. What you may be unfamiliar with are the different treatment options for fibroids, particularly uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). According to a recent Harris Poll, many women in the U.S. with uterine fibroids aren’t aware that UFE – a minimally invasive technique – may be an alternative to a hysterectomy.
“Misperceptions about uterine fibroids and the treatments available often lead women to undergo invasive and potentially unnecessary surgery for their fibroids, despite more than 20 years of clinical use supporting uterine fibroid embolization,” said Dr. James Spies.
Spies, a professor of radiology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., is a former president of the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR). That group commissioned the online Harris Poll survey of almost 1,200 women.
According to Dr. Idries Abdur- Rahman, a board-certified OB/GYN practicing in Chicago, 50 percent to 80 percent of women have uterine fibroids and a growing number of those women are African American.
Fibroids are found through pelvic examinations, transvaginal ultrasounds, MRI’s, hysteroscopy and blood tests. If fibroids are found in your uterus there are several treatment options you can choose from to remove them. Historically, to remove fibroids doctors would perform a hysterectomy, which is a surgical procedure the remove the entire uterus.
According to the Harris Pill, 1 in 5 women thinks that hysterectomy is the only treatment for fibroids.
Over the last decade more and more doctors have performed UFE, a minimally-invasive, non-surgical procedure. Radiologists perform uterine fibroid embolization to treat tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. These tumors are usually benign, according to the U.S. Office on Women’s Health.