When you have uterine fibroids, the common symptoms of pelvic cramping, abnormal bleeding and heavy periods can make you feel downright miserable. Gynecologists and surgeons in the Sutter Health network offer a variety of therapeutic and minimally invasive treatments to help you feel better.
Depending on the size, location and severity of your fibroids, your doctor may suggest trying different therapeutic options to manage your symptoms before considering surgical removal. Your doctor may suggest nonsurgical medical treatment such as birth control pills or the insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD) to balance the levels of estrogen and progestin in your body. These medical options may improve your symptoms.
Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE)
In the Sutter Health network, interventional radiologists offer an innovative and minimally invasive treatment for uterine fibroids using catheters and image guidance techniques. Uterine artery embolization treats the benign tumors that cause fibroids by inserting tiny particles into the uterine artery to cut off blood flow to the tumor and shrink the fibroid. This procedure is especially well-suited for women who don’t plan on becoming pregnant in the future.
Before the embolization procedure, your interventional radiologist gives you sedatives to make you feel relaxed. After applying a local anesthetic, your doctor inserts a small catheter into your femoral artery via an incision in your groin. The catheter is routed to your uterine artery where multiple fibroids are treated by blocking the blood supply to the fibroids.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
Most minimally invasive surgical procedures on the reproductive system are done via laparoscopy or hysteroscopy, both of which are viable treatment options for uterine fibroids. Making incisions in the uterine wall and removing the fibroids surgically, called myomectomy, can also be done, and is often the surgical procedure of choice for women who still wish to become pregnant.
If there are simply too many fibroids in the uterus, and you have completed childbearing, your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy to remove your uterus completely. This can be done laparoscopically through small incisions in your abdomen, or vaginally by making an incision in your vagina to access and remove the uterus. If these minimally invasive procedures aren’t an option, your doctor will likely remove the uterus through a large incision in your lower abdomen.
Talk to your doctor to determine the best treatment option for your specific situation.