Putting an End to Fibroids

Putting an End to Fibroids 645d52faac004.png

Putting an End to Fibroids

There are many medications that can help relieve the symptoms of uterine fibroids, such as pelvic discomfort and heavy menstrual bleeding. However, these medicines do not remove the fibroids and only provide a temporary solution. Once the medication is stopped, the relief it provided from fibroid symptoms is stopped as well. Therefore the only way to successfully put an end to fibroid symptoms is to remove the fibroids.

There are several surgical approaches to removing uterine fibroids. One excellent option is a non-invasive procedure, called Uterine Fibroid Embolization, which we specialize in here at MidAtlantic Vascular and Interventional. Another option is a major surgery such as a hysterectomy, or a uterine sparing surgical procedure, such as a myomectomy.

A myomectomy is usually offered as a treatment recommendation for women who wish to have children after the fibroids are removed, or who wish to keep their uterus for other reasons. Whereas a hysterectomy is typically an option for women with fibroids that would like to avoid having to take medication and experience the side effects associated with them, as well as avoid the risk of fibroids returning following some of the other treatment procedures available. A hysterectomy is also oftentimes the preferred method of treatment of uterine fibroids for women that do not plan to have children.

Both a hysterectomy and a myomectomy are major surgery and come with their own risks of complications and side effects. Therefore it’s important to work with your doctor in preparation for either of these surgeries.

A myomectomy, in particular, has the potential complication of injury to internal organs and excessive bleeding. There is also the risk of the uterus becoming weaker after surgery, which carries its own set of problems.

Fortunately, there are certain things that can be done in preparation for surgery, that can help decrease the risks of complications, and lend themselves to a safer, more successful operation.

To minimize the risks during myomectomy surgery, your doctor may recommend:

Iron supplements and vitamins

Sometimes the fibroid side effect of heavy menstrual bleeding can lead to iron deficiency and anemia. In order to build up a patient’s blood count, your doctor might recommend taking iron supplements and vitamins for a period of time before the procedure.

Hormonal treatment

Some of the medications used to treat the symptoms associated with uterine fibroids, including anemia, can be an effective treatment to prepare the body for surgery. These medications include gonadotropic-releasing hormones ( GnRH agonists), and certain hormone-containing birth control pills. By blocking the production of estrogen and progesterone, and in some cases stopping menstruation entirely, these medications can help the body to rebuild hemoglobin and iron stores for a more successful surgery and recovery.

Medication to Shrink Fibroids

GnRH agonists are sometimes used to shrink fibroids prior to surgery. By shrinking the fibroids in preparation for surgery, the patient may not have to have an open procedure, and can instead have a minimally invasive surgical approach to remove the fibroids.

Though the research on this is mixed, there is some clinical evidence to support the effect that GnRH therapy can have on shrinking fibroids and decreasing heavy bleeding, to the point where surgery is no longer required. However, due to the side effect profile of these medications such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, and other symptoms of menopause, some women wish to avoid these GnRhH agonists altogether.

Other common pre-surgery recommendations may include:

  • Take a bath or shower before coming in for your surgery.
  • Abstain from applying any lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave attempt to shave the surgical site yourself ( This may not be required by all doctors, however, it’s worth asking about).
  • Make sure to have someone that can drive you home, as the anesthesia and pain medication administered will make it unsafe to drive after the operation.
  • Be sure to remove any jewelry and piercings.

Lastly, and most importantly, make sure that you understand exactly what method of surgery is planned, as well as the risks, side effects, benefits, and potential complications involved.

If your doctor has suggested the use of medications that can shrink fibroids and reduce bleeding during surgery, make sure to ask about potential risks and side effects associated with these medications, as these medications aren’t necessarily the best option for everyone. In some cases, fibroid medications can shrink and soften fibroids so much so, that they become harder to detect and surgically remove.

It’s also important to be aware of all of the treatment options available to you because in some cases, a hysterectomy or a myomectomy might not be the best option, and your doctor may recommend a less invasive procedure such as Uterine Fibroid Embolization, which we specialize in here at our office.

If you are interested in finding out more about Uterine Fibroid Embolization as a treatment procedure for uterine fibroids, please feel free to call us today to set up a consultation.

There are many ways to treat uterine fibroids, call today and let us help you find the best one for you.

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