Medications such as birth control pills and hormone treatments for uterine fibroids target the hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle, hopefully treating symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pressure. The medications don’t get rid of fibroids but may shrink them. The potential side effects of using these medications are similar to the symptoms experienced during menopause. These include weight gain, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, changes in metabolism. Fibroid symptoms usually return when the medication is stopped, while the fibroids tend to grow back and possibly returning to their original size again.
In certain instances endometrial ablation may provide relief to woman with heavy menstrual bleeding from their uterine fibroids, in particular the submucosal fibroid type. The procedure destroys the endometrium which is the lining of your uterus with the goal of reducing a woman’s menstrual flow. It does not help with menstrual cramping or other symptoms related to the size and location of the fibroids. In some women, menstrual flow may stop completely. Some types of endometrial ablation use extreme cold, heated fluids, microwave energy, or high-energy radio frequencies. It is important to know that endometrial ablation is only done on women who do not plan to have any children in the future as pregnancy can be dangerous.
Surgical treatments include options, such as hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) and myomectomy (removal of just the fibroids). These options are generally effective, but do require anesthesia, longer recovery times and typically multiple incisions. Some women are not candidates for myomectomy due to the size, number or location of the fibroids. Some women with multiple fibroids may undergo several myomectomies. Recovery can last between several weeks to several months with or without a hospital stay. A thorough discussion with your gynecologist is recommended regarding your surgical options including the potential risks. Surgical candidates are almost always candidates for uterine fibroid embolization as well.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)
A minimally invasive non-surgical option for treatment with excellent outcomes and many advantages over conventional surgery. Embolization preserves the uterus, is well tolerated and has shorter recovery time. It also provides simultaneous treatment of all fibroids. UFE is a great option for women who do not want surgery.