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"Is interventional radiology treatment used on uterine fibroids?"
I am a 34 year old woman with uterine fibroids. How will they be treated? Is radiology the least invasive option?
Uterine fibroids are benign growths that can develop in the uterus. They can vary in number, size and they types of symptoms they cause. Most commonly, women complain of cramping and bleeding. First line treatment for fibroid disease is medical. Hormone therapy in the form of birth control pills or IUDs that secrete hormone are first prescribed to control the size and therefore symptoms that fibroids cause. Adjunctive medications such as NSAIDs (e.g. Motrin) and iron supplements can be used to help with symptomatology such as pain and anemia from bleeding. If this fails, invasive procedures are available and these include fibroid resection, myomectomy (excision of the muscle containing the fibroids) and a total hysterectomy and Uterine artery embolization. Of these, uterine artery embolization is the least invasive procedure and is performed by an Interventional radiologist. The idea behind this treatment is that a guidewire can be passed through your blood vessels all the way down to the vessels that specifically feed the uterus and the fibroids in questions, and that artery is embolized (or clotted off). This cuts off the blood flow to the fibroid, causing it to shrink and reduce or eliminate the symptoms of fibroids such as pain, bleeding, cramping, etc. This therapy works for most women, but depending on the severity of the disease, the patient may require definitive therapy down the road (hysterectomy). I highly recommend discussing your diagnosis of fibroids with your gynecologist and evaluate all treatment options before proceeding with any decision.
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