Too many women think you have to treat fibroids with a hysterectomy, but there are other fibroid treatment options. And many of them allow you to avoid surgeries! Want to explore alternatives to removing your uterus? Here are 7 ways to manage fibroids.
Exploring Fibroid Treatment Options
After getting diagnosed with fibroids, there is more than one way you can proceed. Here are some options.
1. Watchful waiting.
Not every woman with fibroids will decide to shrink or remove the growths. Instead, you can treat your symptoms, waiting to see how you feel with this approach. Are your periods intense? Try managing cramps with hot water bottles, over-the-counter medications for pain, yoga or exercise.
At the same time, you can try making lifestyle changes that could shrink your fibroids. The goal here is to reach your optimal weight, since fat cells store excess estrogen and can make your fibroid symptoms worse. Also, get your blood pressure in the optimal range, since there’s a scientific link between high blood pressure and fibroids.
2. Birth control can help.
Some forms of hormonal birth control can improve fibroid symptoms, but this option could also lead to fibroid growth. In some cases, an IUD may be a better choice of birth control with fibroids. Discuss your options with your doctor or one of our fibroid specialists in Dallas.
3. Fibroid Medications
Relugolix is an FDA approved medication that treats fibroid-related heavy bleeding. However, if you have a submucosal fibroid with a stalk, the medication could make your symptoms worse. That’s why it’s important to know the location of your fibroids before choosing your treatment options.
GnRH agonists such as Lupron offer another fibroid treatment option. This type of medication temporarily shrinks fibroids by blocking estrogen production in your body. In the process, they can reduce symptoms such as heavy bleeding, but they also trigger a chemical menopause and increase the risk of osteoporosis if used for too long. For that reason, prescriptions are usually short-term, and typically are a treatment option used just before a myomectomy.
Endometrial ablation destroys the lining of the uterus, reducing heavy bleeding without directly targeting fibroids.
5. Uterine Fibroid Embolization. (UFE).
This is the minimally invasive fibroid treatment option that shrinks your growths by cutting off blood flow to the tumors.
This is a surgery that removes individual fibroids. The surgery won’t impact fertility, but you have to delay pregnancy during a post-surgical recovery period that can last 6 months. Plus, fibroids often come back after the surgery.
UFE vs Myomectomy
Now that we’ve reviewed two fibroid treatment options that actually target your tumors, let’s understand their key differences. Obviously, myomectomy surgically removes fibroids, while Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) shrinks them through a non-surgical procedure. And, with both treatments, you get to preserve your uterus. As a result, you can get pregnant after both of these fibroid treatment options. But that is not the case after a hysterectomy.
This is a surgery that removes your uterus. It offers a lasting cure for fibroids, and it’s the only fibroid treatment option that does so. Unfortunately, it puts you in menopause and increases your risk for other health concerns. For that reason, we consider this treatment option a last resort for most women with fibroids.
Treating Fibroids without Surgery
We invite patients in Dallas who want fibroid treatment options that avoid surgery to schedule a Uterine Fibroid Embolization consultation in our office. As we already reviewed, this is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure performed after we make a small incision in your femoral artery. Then, we inject embolic material to block your fibroids blood flow, causing them to shrink.
Fibroid Treatment Options: What Does Recovery Look Like?
When considering your treatment options, it’s important to consider what kind of recovery will be involved.
Your recovery will be painful, and after surgery, you will abruptly enter menopause. You also face the risk of surgical complications.
During UFE recovery, you may notice abdominal pain or even flu-like symptoms. However, you won’t have to worry about menopausal symptoms or surgical complications.
Ready to explore your fibroid treatment options? Come into our Dallas area fibroid center, to see if UFE is right for you.