Middle-aged women who are diagnosed with uterine fibroids – noncancerous tumors that grow in or on the muscle lining of the uterus – often worry that life will never be the same. Many think their active lifestyles are a thing of the past.
However, this does not have to be the case. Luisa, who had the uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) procedure in her early 40’s, was soon able to return to the activities she enjoyed before she developed fibroids.
Luisa’s warning signs
In her 40’s, Luisa noticed that her periods were getting heavier. At first, it was a small difference, but it didn’t take long for them to become nearly unmanageable.
At a routine OB-GYN appointment, she mentioned the issue to her doctor and he was able to do a physical exam that revealed the fibroids. Over time, Luisa also began to experience urinary urgency and even heavier periods.
At first, the only options for treatment that were given to Luisa by her OB-GYN were a myomectomy or a hysterectomy. She took some time to consider these two, and in the meantime, she heard a radio ad for a seminar on uterine fibroids.
Luisa signed up for the seminar and it was there that she learned about uterine fibroid embolization, a procedure that entails blocking the blood flow to the fibroids in order to shrink them. Her OB-GYN recommended that she go talk to an interventional radiologist, the type of doctor that does UFE procedures.
The interventional radiologist explained in depth about what uterine fibroid embolization would involve. After looking at her MRI, the doctor determined that Luisa was a perfect candidate for UFE. She had the procedure within a few weeks.
After having the UFE procedure, Luisa noticed a huge difference in her lifestyle. She was able to return to doing things that she loved, where previously, she would have been stuck at home dealing with her symptoms.
Within a month of the procedure, everything changed. She was no longer physically or emotionally troubled by the fibroids. She saw the difference that UFE made in her life immediately.
Luisa describes the difference by saying, “It’s night and day. Absolutely night and day.”
Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat uterine fibroids. It is an outpatient procedure, usually lasts less than an hour, and involves just a small incision to the femoral artery.
During the treatment, the interventional radiologist inserts a small tube into the incision in the femoral artery. The tube is guided to the location of the fibroids and then embolic material is injected into the blood flow leading to the fibroids. This stops the growth of the fibroids, causing them to reduce in size and stopping the symptoms.
Many women who had to give up their normally active lifestyle to care for the symptoms of fibroids are able to return to the action within a month of having UFE.