Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths in the uterus that often appear during childbearing years. Uterine fibroids almost never develop into cancer. Fibroids range in size from a size of a small seed, to a bulky mass that can alter and enlarge the uterus. Most women don’t know they have uterine fibroids because they often don’t understand the symptoms. Following are the symptoms which indicate that you should visit an interventional radiologist:

1. Heavy menstrual bleeding
If you have fibroids within the uterine wall or fibroids that protrude into the uterine cavity, more surface area is created. Consequently there is more thickened lining to shed when you have period. It’s not the size but the location of the fibroid, or fibroids that has the most impact. Besides heavier and longer periods, fibroids can cause bleeding at other times of the month, and all this blood loss can cause anemia. Fibroids may also cause painful menstruation

2. Menstrual periods lasting more than a week
Excessive menstrual bleeding is one of the most common symptoms of uterine fibroids. Abnormal uterine bleeding that is prolonged can have some serious side effects over time. Untreated, it can lead to fatigue and anemia, which is the result of low red blood cell count. These factors can eventually lead to the need for blood transfusions.

3. Pelvic pressure or pain
Pelvic pressure – Women who have large fibroids often feel some heaviness and pressure in their lower abdomen or pelvis. The enlarged uterus makes it difficult to lie face down, bend over or exercise without discomfort.
Pelvic Pain – Very few women may get acute pain in their pelvis. This occurs when a fibroid goes through a process called degeneration. Usually, the pain is localized to a specific spot and improves on its own within two to four weeks.

4. Frequent urination
Most women with uterine fibroids have an enlarged uterus. In fact, a very large fibroid can expand the uterus and press against the bladder, reducing its capacity for holding urine or blocking the outflow for urine to pass. A woman may wake up several times during the night to empty her bladder and may occasionally experience an inability to urinate despite a full bladder.

5. Difficulty emptying the bladder
In some cases, fibroids can cause urinary retention. This can happen when large fibroids press against a ureter. If a ureter becomes completely pinched off, surgery is needed quickly to prevent urine from flowing back, which may permanently damage the kidney on that particular side.

6. Constipation
If the fibroid is located near the colon, it can obstruct normal bowel movement and lead to constipation, painful passage of stools or hemorrhoids. Women that have fibroids that cause heavy menstrual bleeding can become anemic, which may require them to take iron supplements. These supplements also cause constipation.

7. Lower backache
Rarely, fibroids press against the muscles and nerves of the lower back and cause back pain. A large fibroid on the back surface of the uterus is more likely to cause back pain than a small fibroid within the uterine wall. It can also cause sciatica as the fibroid presses against the sciatic nerve and sends pain down the back of the legs.

It’s important for you to discuss with an interventional radiologist as soon as you notice any of the above symptoms or any irregularities in your body. Dr. Milan Jolapara, MD DM (Interventional Neuroradiologist & Peripheral Vascular Interventionist) at Dev Interventional Clinic offers a minimal invasive procedure- Uterine Artery Embolization– to get rid of uterine fibroids. Contact Dr. Jolapara or write to us on: [email protected]

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