Do you know that up to 80% of women develop uterine fibroids before they reach age 50?
Symptoms can range from unnoticeable to downright debilitating. Uterine fibroid embolization is the premier minimally-invasive treatment for uterine fibroids and it offers significant advantages over a hysterectomy.
Let the expert staff at Zenith Health & Aesthetics in Memphis ease your uterine fibroid pain so you can live a more comfortable life.
Medical Director Phillip T. Zeni, Jr., M.D., FSIR has successfully performed more than 500 UFEs in Memphis over the past twenty years.
What Are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids, also known as leiomyomas or myomas, are non-cancerous growths on the uterus that affect premenopausal women. These growths appear on the muscular walls of the uterus and can range from pea to grapefruit size.
Types of Fibroids
Four types of uterine fibroids may form in the uterus: intramural, pedunculated, submucosal, and subserosal fibroids. Women can develop one or more types of fibroids at any time. Each type may cause different symptoms.
Intramural fibroids are the most common fibroids found in the uterus. These fibroids grow in the uterine wall and can grow to very large sizes if left untreated. Some women have many intramural fibroids growing in the same region. Pelvic or lower back pain and abnormal bleeding may result from this fibroid type.
Pedunculated fibroids grow from stem-like structures (called peduncles) on the wall of the uterus or inside the cavity of the uterus. Quick movements may cause the peduncle to twist and cut blood flow, resulting in intense pain.
Submucosal fibroids, the rarest type of fibroid, form under the uterine lining where they may crowd the uterine cavity. This type of fibroid may cause excessive bleeding and other significant complications.
Subserosal fibroids grow on the outer uterine wall. Large growths in this region can crowd nearby organs and cause discomfort or pain.
What Are the Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids?
Although uterine fibroids are very common, many women do not know they have them since symptoms may be minimal or they do not notice the symptoms. The location, size, and the number of fibroids present may influence whether you experience noticeable symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Difficulty emptying your bladder
- Frequent urination
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Leg pain
- Lower back pain
- Pain during intercourse
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Prolonged menstrual bleeding
- Spotting between periods
Any of the symptoms above warrant a trip to your doctor. If you experience any sharp pain in your pelvic region or have severe vaginal bleeding, please seek immediate medical attention.
What Are the Risk Factors for Uterine Fibroids?
Although the precise cause for fibroids has not been determined, there are some risk factors that are usually prevalent. Any of the following factors could increase your chances of developing fibroids:
Uterine fibroids are linked to the two distinctly female hormones estrogen and progesterone. The hormonal connection with fibroids is why nearly all women experience them at some point in their lives. For premenopausal women, these two hormones signal the uterine lining to prepare for pregnancy every month.
If someone in your family has a history of uterine fibroids, there is an increased chance that you will also develop them.
During pregnancy, the female body has a surge of estrogen and progesterone. As a result, getting pregnant could increase your risk of developing fibroids.
How Do I Find Out If I Have Fibroids on My Uterus?
Your gynecologist may detect fibroids during a routine examination. If you have symptoms of fibroids and uterus feels enlarged, an ultrasound can confirm the presence of fibroids. If fibroids are detected, a more sophisticated image (MRI) can pinpoint the location and number of fibroids and determine their exact sizes.
How Do I Treat Uterine Fibroids?
There are several options for treating uterine fibroids. Your doctor may suggest hormonal medications first. If these treatment options prove unsuccessful, you typically then have two procedures to choose from: the old-fashioned hysterectomy or the newer more advanced embolization (UFE).
Old Solution: Hysterectomy
In the past, women had few options other than hysterectomy to remove fibroids. Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. Although this operation is effective, it removes much more than fibroids. It is major surgery that comes with long recovery times, a hospital stay, and receiving general anesthesia.
Women who undergo a hysterectomy no longer have their uterus and, therefore, are no longer able to become pregnant. Removing the uterus can cause hormonal issues and trouble with the bladder, bowels, and the pelvic floor after the operation. Removal of the cervix results in sexual dysfunction in up to 30% of patients.
New Solution: Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)
Many women are opting for the modern treatment to remove uterine fibroids called uterine fibroid embolization.
What Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization?
UFE is a minimally-invasive uterine fibroid treatment that blocks the blood supply to fibroids to make them shrink. This procedure is done in our modern outpatient procedure suite. It begins with inserting a small catheter into a small incision in the upper thigh. Moving painlessly through the blood vessels until it reaches the area near your fibroids. A special x-ray ensures precision and safety throughout the treatment. Next, tiny particles called embolization spheres are placed through the catheter to block fibroid blood flow. Blocked blood flow causes the fibroids to shrink. After shrinking though time, fibroids die off, which eliminates most of the associated symptoms.
What Are the Benefits of UFE?
The leading professional association for ob-gyn practitioners, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, has determined uterine fibroid embolization is an important alternative to a hysterectomy. This endorsement is good news for the 250,000 U.S. women who consider a hysterectomy each year.
Here are the most important benefits of choosing UFE over a hysterectomy:
Choosing UFE means keeping your uterus. Removing the uterus isn’t the ideal choice for many women, because a hysterectomy eliminates the ability for a woman to conceive. If you wish to become pregnant or would like to preserve the possibility, UFE is the ideal uterine fibroid treatment for you.
UFE Does Not Influence Hormones or Organs
You won’t experience changes in your hormones or organs. A hysterectomy forces women into early menopause and all the hormonal changes that arise from this. Removing the uterus can impact the bladder, bowels, and pelvic floor. All three regions are interlinked with the uterus and impacted during surgery. They can cause unwanted post-operative symptoms of their own, including pain, infection, and protruding tissue.
With UFE, you do not have to worry about any changes to your hormones or organs. This minimally invasive treatment does not influence any other region of the body.
UFE is an outpatient procedure at Zenith Health and Aesthetics. UFE takes around one to two hours to complete, and you will not need to stay at Zenith Health for an extended amount of time for observation.
A hysterectomy is a major surgery that requires an extended hospital stay that allows the medical staff to monitor you for several days.
Reduced Recovery Times
You can resume regular activities within a few days, unlike a hysterectomy that will require six to eight weeks for a full recovery. UFE performed at Zenith Health will not require an overnight stay and most women go home within a few hours. Many women feel ready to return to work within a few days after treatment and enjoy a full recovery within one or two weeks.
Uterine fibroid embolization is a lower-risk alternative to hysterectomy. All major surgeries come with risks. Whether its anesthesia or infection, you contend with fewer risks when choosing UFE.
High Success Rate
UFE has an average success rate of around 90% according to study results. Five years after treatment, approximately 80% of patients still do not have any symptoms and therefore do not need a hysterectomy or further fibroid treatment.
Improved Mood and Self-Confidence
You may not even realize how uterine fibroid symptoms influence your mood. Living with the symptoms of uterine fibroids can seriously disrupt your quality of life. Pain, sexual issues, and heavy periods can take a toll on your mental health and overall wellbeing. Self-esteem and confidence can suffer when you are not feeling in good physical health.
Most women find substantial symptom relief after undergoing UFE. Removing unwanted symptoms creates a ripple effect for rediscovered positivity to flow in your life. You will likely feel like yourself again without compromise. What many do not expect is the dramatic improvement in their outlook on life.
Cheaper Overall Costs
UFE delivers comparable results without the higher price tag. With health care, everything adds up. The intensity of the procedure, the longer stay in the hospital, and follow-ups for a hysterectomy can cost much more than UFE.
This safe, effective, and streamlined treatment does not require hospitalization, which can save you thousands of dollars overall.
Is UFE Better Than a Hysterectomy?
For many women, UFE is the better option. Research has concluded that both uterine fibroid treatment options have similar success rates; however, a hysterectomy comes with potential downsides that many women wish to avoid.
Will UFE Remove All of My Fibroids?
Although UFE does not remove all fibroids, it will shrink them substantially. The high success rate shows that this method is one of the most effective treatments for uterine fibroids. After the procedure, symptoms such as severe pain and heavy periods go away, and you avoid the risks associated with a major operation.
Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization Right for You?
The best way to determine the appropriateness of UFE for you is to schedule an appointment with the experienced, professional staff at Zenith Health and Aesthetics. We will review and discuss your full medical history, symptoms, and treatment options. Additionally, we can perform certain tests to discover the exact extent of your condition. We may also advise that you stop taking certain medications, such as aspirin. If you are pregnant or have certain medical conditions, we may discuss other options with you.
If you are struggling with symptoms of uterine fibroids or believe you might be, you could be a candidate for UFE. Ideal candidates for treatment are:
- Age 18 or older
- Not pregnant
- Wish to preserve the uterus
- Do not have a pelvic infection
- Have symptoms of uterine fibroids
Will Health Insurance Cover UFE?
Most health insurance companies cover UFE.
With the help of our medical team and uterine fibroid embolization, it is possible to find relief from your symptoms. Learn more by contacting Zenith Health and Aesthetics, 6126 Poplar Ave., Memphis TN 38119 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most women agree that uterine fibroid embolization is the best option for them. With a high success rate and many extra benefits, we believe that you will agree.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are ready to discover what UFE can do for you, contact us today to schedule your consultation! To learn more, schedule an appointment at Zenith Health & Aesthetics, 901/779-5000 in Memphis, in northern Mississippi 662/655-1090.