Uterine Fibroids? Hysterectomy is NOT your only option!

Hysterectomy is NOT your only option! Learn about an alternate uterine fibroid treatment.

The number of hysterectomies in the United States each year is somewhere between 400,000 and 600,000. According to ABC news, up to 75% of these hysterectomies may be unnecessary. In fact, AARP The Magazine called hysterectomy one of “four surgeries to avoid.”

For years, women have been told that the uterus has no function other than childbearing, and that removal of the uterus has no adverse effects. Historically, that is why hysterectomy was the most recommended treatment option for symptomatic uterine fibroids.

Today, we know better.

Here are the facts. A study conducted at the Mayo Clinic and published in January 2018 showed that hysterectomy (without ovary removal) led to a 14% higher risk of abnormal blood fat levels, a 13% higher risk for high blood pressure and an 18% higher risk for obesity. For women having hysterectomy younger than 35, the risks are more severe, with a 2.5 times greater risk of coronary artery disease and a 4.6 times greater risk of congestive heart failure. In addition, PubMed reports that women who have hysterectomies have a 60% increased risk of incontinence (involuntary urine leakage) by age 60.

No one, even those in the medical profession, fully understands the role the uterus plays in hormone management within the body. But we do know that removal of the uterus results in earlier menopause, even when the ovaries are conserved (not removed).

Today, women suffering from uterine fibroids have a non-surgical option to hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) and myomectomy (surgical removal of the fibroids). Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a safe, FDA approved and highly effective outpatient procedure. Women who choose this treatment have a high level of satisfaction and a significant improvement in their quality of life, even over the long term.1,2

Another key advantage of UFE over hysterectomy for uterine fibroid treatment is the potential to avoid surgical complications, such as postoperative pelvic hematoma or infection, vaginal cuff rupture, injury to the bladder, bowel or ureter, or neuropathy. Additionally, UFE does not require general anesthesia and does not result in pelvic scarring. In a study of four randomized clinical trials comparing UFE to surgical interventions, UFE for uterine fibroid treatment was associated with less blood loss, shorter hospital stays and a faster return to work than with surgery.3

UFE is also ideal for women who have previously undergone myomectomy but whose fibroids have rapidly returned. Since UFE cuts off the blood supply to all fibroids, the results are longer lasting.

There are many instances where a hysterectomy is the right course of treatment for a patient, but not typically in the case of uterine fibroids. Dr. Golewale of NG Vascular & Vein Center has had much experience performing this uterine fibroid treatment and would be happy to consult with you and/or your doctor to ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

  1. Smith WJ, Upton E, Shuster EJ, Klein AJ, Schwartz ML. Patient satisfaction and disease specific quality of life after uterine artery embolization. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004;190(6):1697–1703.
  2. Scheurig-Muenkler C, Koesters C, Powerski MJ, Grieser C, Froeling V, Kroencke TJ. Clinical long-term outcome after uterine artery embolization: sustained symptom control and improvement of quality of life. J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2013;24(6):765–771
  3. van der Kooij SM, Bipat S, Hehenkamp WJ, Ankum WM, Reekers JA. Uterine artery embolization versus surgery in the treatment of symptomatic fibroids: a systematic review and metaanalysis. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011;205(4):317.e1–e18.

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