Uterine fibroids are an issue that approximately 70 percent of women will face in their lifetime. Many women suffering from abnormal bleeding and pelvic pain and pressure caused by fibroids want relief as soon as possible.
A hysterectomy is often mentioned in the list of treatment options for women with fibroids. It is a common procedure in the United States, with approximately 600,000 hysterectomies performed each year. But, often times, this procedure is too drastic for the patient’s needs.
You should avoid a hysterectomy as a treatment for uterine fibroids if:
- You want a baby in the future. A hysterectomy is not an option for women if they would like to have a baby. For young women with uterine fibroids, it is recommended that alternative fibroid treatments are administered even if children aren’t desired since the surgery is irreversible.
- You can’t afford to take time off. Traditional hysterectomies take approximately six weeks to recover, while minimally invasive procedures can take about two weeks. For women who are busy with school, work, or raising a family, this time off may severely impact their lives. Even after recovery, it may be even longer before the patient can return to a completely active lifestyle.
- You have not yet reached menopause. When the ovaries are removed as part of a hysterectomy, a woman’s hormonal balance is disrupted, causing estrogen and progesterone production to decline. These two hormones play an important part in heart, bone, breast, and brain health. Even when an ovary-sparing hysterectomy is performed, the patient is more likely to develop premature ovarian function failure.
- You wish to avoid the risks of surgery. Infections affect approximately 9 to 13 percent of those who undergo a hysterectomy. There is also a risk of damaging surrounding organs, nerve damage, hemorrhage, and anesthetic complications.
The Benefits of Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Uterine fibroid embolization is completed through local anesthesia and is significantly less invasive than a surgery and patients can return to their daily lives much faster than those who have undergone a hysterectomy. In addition, studies show that approximately 90 percent of women who underwent UFE had significant or complete relief from the symptoms of uterine fibroids.