The Fibroid Epidemic: Siouxland Woman's Magazine
VOLUME 8 ISSUE 1
When Myrah Favors heard a radio ad for a non surgical treatment
for fibroids called Uterine Fibroid Embolization, or UFE, she wondered if she would be a candidate. She was intrigued and consulted with her gynecologist to see if this was something more she should look into. She was seen at Vascular and lnterventional Specialists, was scheduled for the one-hour outpatient procedure and after minimal recovery, she was back at work within a week. Months later, her symptoms were gone and she kept her uterus.
26 million Americans have fibroids, and 70-80% of women will develop them by the time they are 50. For such a prevalent condition, most women do not have access to all the information and options, including not undergoing surgery like Myrah. So, what are fibroids and what is UFE?
Fibroids are benign growths of muscle in and around the uterus and usually diagnosed with ultrasound or MRI. They can cause heavy painful periods, anemia, abdominal pain and pressure, back pain, constipation, bloating, sexual dysfunction and urinary symptoms. The symptoms are usually cyclical, like menstruation. They can also cause negative social implications such as social anxiety from having to constantly urinate, fear of bleeding through a pad or tampon, and pain during sex. In some cases, fibroids can cause infertility
Thirty years ago, if you had been diagnosed with uterine fibroids, you would have been offered one option: hysterectomy. Hysterectomy requires general anesthesia, recovery can take up to 6 week, and it often results in removal of the ovaries. A less invasive, uterus-sparing surgery called myomectomy also involves anesthesia and is not always successful.
Fortunately, doctors known as lnterventional Radiologists (IR) have been treating uterine fibroids without surgery for decades with a procedure known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). Unlike surgery, UFE requires nothing more than a small nick in the wrist or groin area. An IR inserts a slim tube (called a catheter) and guides it to the artery that supplies the fibroids. Tiny particles are delivered through the catheter, blocking the blood flow to the fibroids. The fibroids begin to shrink, relieving the symptoms of pain, heavy periods, urinary frequency, and pelvic pressure in over 90% of cases.
Dr. Neal Khurana, a board-certified interventional radiologist and fibroid expert says "UFE is like pulling the weeds but keeping the garden -the uterus and ovaries stay put which is so important, not only medically speaking but for the patient as well."
Every 10 minutes, 12 hysterectomies are performed in the United States and up to 9 of them did not meet the guidelines set for hysterectomy. Up to 60 percent of hysterectomies are performed for uterine fibroids and the patient is not always aware of less invasive procedures like UFE. If you are told you are a candidate for myomectomy or hysterectomy, you are likely a candidate for UFE.
The procedure is done as an outpatient in the office and takes about an hour with light sedation. "The recent advancements of this procedure include smaller catheters where we can work through your wrist and have you home the same day. It is truly incredible to be this minimally invasive and help women find relief without surgery and more importantly keep their reproductive organs intact" says Dr. Khurana.
Whether you are a candidate for UFE depends on several factors including age, symptoms, and fibroid type, size and number. Dr. Khurana states that "Every woman suffering from fibroids has a story. I want to hear that story from the start and be a part of the solution. This means a clinic consultation, reviewing imaging, and helping each woman make an informed choice about her health."
To see if Uterine Fibroid Embolization is right for you, schedule a consultation with
Dr. Neal Khurana at Vascular lnterventional Specialists of Siouxland at (605) 217-5617.