fibroids are noncancerous tumors of the uterus that often
appear during childbearing years. They commonly cause heavy
menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain and pressure, bowel and
bladder problems, and sometimes, infertility and miscarriage.
Fibroids are also the leading cause of hysterectomy.
there are two treatments that can sometimes be considered
before a decision is made to have a hysterectomy. Fibroid
embolization and focused ultrasound are minimally invasive
options that reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Ebbie Stewart
says warrant more research to help guide women and health care
providers on a treatment plan. She co-authored a recent study
that looked at the two treatments, compared recovery time, and
noted adverse events in the first six weeks after treatment.
research found women undergoing uterine artery embolization
have longer recovery times and use more prescription
medications, but women undergoing focused ultrasound have
longer treatment times," said Stewart.
often call focused ultrasound a fibroid-specific treatment.
Uterine fibroid embolization is more of a global therapy,
where the pellets (embolic agents) can flow wherever there’s
blood supply in the uterus," she said. "While this
study shows a quicker recovery for focused ultrasound, what we’re
really interested in is how women are doing one- to- three
years down the road. We want to say to women, based on what we
know about you, treatment ‘A’ is better than treatment ‘B.’
We hope to have those data in the next year or two."
range in size from seedlings, undetectable by the human eye,
to bulky masses that can distort and enlarge the uterus. You
can have a single fibroid or multiple ones. Fibroids can be
found during a pelvic exam or prenatal ultrasound. In extreme
cases, multiple fibroids can expand the uterus so much that it
reaches the rib cage.