How are you feeling after your Uterine Fibroid Embolization?

(Tuesday, January 30, 2007) Decided to edit this post significantly. In my zeal to present different recovery experiences, I seem to have created a monster. Women are reading this post and becoming frightened over the UFE/UAE procedure. I’m obligated to try again. So, I’ll include my own recovery experience on this post to provide balance.

Note: Please realize that you are online. By its nature, the Internet will draw women having problems with fibroids and looking for answers. Women with great UFE/UAE recovery experiences probably aren’t searching online for fibroid information. I discovered this when looking for Lupron information several months ago. I was alarmed by the disproportionate number of negative Lupron experiences and decided to start a blog with a more balanced perspective. Hopefully, I’ve come close to that.

Last point and then I’ll talk about my recovery. I have a post about the bell curve. (Actually, there are a few women on the site that mention it.) A bell curve is a very good way to think about any fibroid treatment. Some women will land on one end of the curve or the other but the MAJORITY will fall in the middle right under the bell. The MAJORITY of women who have this procedure will benefit from it. The MAJORITY will have a recovery that falls within the “7-to-10-day” window.

From FibroidSecondOpinion.com:

Many women will notice a relief of fibroid symptoms within six weeks after the procedure. However, it takes a few months for the fibroids to fully shrink and the full effect of the procedure to be evident. About 90 percent of women who were bothered by symptoms related to the size of their fibroids will have a significant improvement and be satisfied with the results. Likewise, about 85 percent of women who had heavy bleeding from their fibroids will have lighter and shorter periods and be satisfied with the results. About 10 to 15 percent of women who have UFE will continue to have bothersome symptoms and usually require other treatment.

Note #2: You have to take into consideration the size, location, and number of fibroids in your case. This will determine the success of your UFE/UAE and the recovery you experience afterwards. I was not able to have a UFE until two small (I think 2cm each) submucosal fibroids were resected via Hysteroscopic Myomectomy first. This was done to minimize my risk of complication post-embolization. PLEASE talk to the Interventional Radiologist about your specific case and your specific fibroids (size, location, number). I cannot stress this enough.

Here’s my experience.

From the post that describes my UFE recovery:

What did I experience?

  1. Intense pain and nausea during the first 12 hours. I think the nausea was much worse than the pain.
  2. Moderate cramps for a couple of days afterward. I took over-the-counter Motrin.
  3. Vaginal discharge for about 10 days. Mostly mucus-like but some blood was present. Moderate to light.
  4. Digestive problems for about a week. Could not eat solid food. Constipation and stomach pain.

The pain right after my procedure wasn’t much worse than the previous cramps I experienced every month. It really was the nausea from the drugs that made me feel worse. By the next day, I was listening to Bob Marley and feeling great! I did not experience very much pain later. Constipation (from the hospital drugs) was my biggest problem. My recovery fell within the “7-to-10-day” window.

From the post about my period after UFE:

Approximately a three-day period? I’ve NEVER had that. Light bleeding the whole time? I’ve NEVER had that. I keep waiting and waiting for the other shoe to drop. It does not appear that it will. This is now reality. My “new” new normal. I am happy/goofy/loopy but confused. It is so different. It cannot be a period. I will have to call it a question mark.

Today (6 months post-UFE):
Periods range between 3.5 and 4 days. My last one was 4 days but I spotted most of the time. On days 2 and 3, there was occassional light-to-moderate bleeding. My periods are still question marks! I cannot even begin to tell you how this procedure changed my life. I have the energy to live and the ability to go out in the world and do it. I am really well physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Links with more information:
Society of Interventional Radiology
Treating Uterine Fibroid Tumors | Fibroid Embolization
Surgical Video of Uterine Fibroid Embolization (OR-Live.com)
What to Expect from a Uterine Artery Embolization
Possible Complications from Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Okay. Here’s your chance. Let us know how you’re feeling!

——————–

Related Posts:
The UFE Experience. Wasn’t that a band during the 70s?
Memories right before my Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Memories directly after my Uterine Fibroid Embolization
My first several hours post-Uterine Fibroid Embolization
I’m really starting to think my wiring is kind of screwed
Two weeks after my Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Gosh…my period turned out to be a question mark!
My condition one month post-Uterine Fibroid Embolization
UPDATE: My condition two months post-Uterine Fibroid Embolization
UPDATE: My condition three months post-Uterine Fibroid Embolization
UPDATE: My condition four months post-Uterine Fibroid Embolization
UPDATE: My condition five months post-Uterine Fibroid Embolization

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778 Responses to “How are you feeling after your Uterine Fibroid Embolization?”

  1. Teena CAL Says:

    Donna;
    Hi there..wow, you’re online on day #2.. that is impressive. Don’t know what information you need, but here is some that my md gave me:
    101* temp or higher, bleeding from catheter opening or bleeding after 1 month-CALL MD
    no sexual intercourse, swimming or baths (one md told me 1 month-another 1 week)
    ibuprofen helps for cramping more than percocet (vicoden-other pain rx). Take each w/food
    Menstrual periods may have lessened symptoms or worse 1st x or for a while.

    Personally, since my uae on 8/14- I still take ibuprofen on/off for sporadic discomfort in my abdominopelvic region.
    I have some discomfort during exercise in my pelvic/thigh area (one md says it could be pva went to different artery)
    My md’s are good, but don’t seem to tell all from beginning.
    Best wishes 2 u!
    Teena

  2. jEssie Says:

    I’ve had my UFE and I’m on my 3rd moderate period but I’m having severe pains. Is it normal. And has anyone else experienced this?

  3. Alicat Says:

    I am going in for UAE next week. I am very hopeful but my fibroids are 9 and 11 cm round! I am concerned that this is very large for this procedure! Has anyone out there experienced this surgery with such large fibroids?

    • Marion Says:

      At the time of my UAE (6yrs ago) my fibroids were around 7, 3 & 4 cm approximately. They continued to shrink for about 18mths, but then began growing again and I ended up having a partial hysterectomy in 2013. The procedure itself is straight forward, a bit of pain directly afterwards, but taken care of by painkillers in hospital (36hr stay). I did not have a UAE again, as my fibroids grew to 3.4, 14 & 8cm round. Don’t miss the periods! so heavy and draining and flooding for a week a month, feeling horrible for 25 days a month was dreadful. Have other issues now, which could be related to not having had the fibroids removed till so late, but that’s another matter.
      I suggest to anyone who wants to keep their uterus…go for it, it’s not that bad and if successful the gains far outweigh the negatives.
      Wish you all well.

  4. Debbie Says:

    I had a fibroid the size of an orange. The UAE worked for about four years and then I needed it done again. So far, no periods. Very happy with procedure.

  5. Susan Says:

    Yes , 1st I had a 7 hour myomectomy to remove fibroids .
    4 years later had UAE. You can tell by the first procedure they were many and large. The UAE got me to menopause at 53.
    Had the myomectomy at 40 years old. Good luck.
    I am 55 now still have hot flashes

    • moira Says:

      I am almost 2 1/2 years past my first ufe, and fibroids returned along with miserable periods. As I contemplated my options, I went on the pill at 44, to stop my period. I’ve been on the pill for awhile and am not thrilled with weight gain/mood issues. I seriously considered hysterectomy, but am too worried about long term effects, morcellation, etc…I am now planning on another ufe. Worked great for awhile and certainly more convenient than surgery. My last ultrasound showed 2 large fibroids 11cm and 8 cm and a very distorted uterus. Wish they could figure out why this happens to people.

  6. Cynthia Dawson Says:

    Hi, I had a uterine embolization in 2008 and currently experiencing some health issues and recently started wondering if it could be related because the procedure deals with the use of my femeral artery. I have had swollen lymph nodes for over 1 year, shortness of breath, palpitations, severe fatigue and all my tests are coming back normal. I havebeen seeing my family physician since August 2015 and 2 months later still nothing and there is anyone out there with these symptoms please help…..

  7. Debbie Says:

    Cynthia. Maybe you should check out natural hormone therapy. I went to a seminar. So many people have peri-menopause and menopausal symptoms and have gone to their doctors with no help. Natural hormones have assisted in making a person feel normal again.

  8. Bibi Goins Says:

    After my uterine fibroid embolization, I know the cramping pain is going to be normal. But I have been having terrible pain in both legs & knees. The pain is so bad it’s unbearable! I called the doctor that performed the surgery & explained to him my pain. He said he doesn’t understand why I’m having that pain, & how I should walk around. I’ve been doing so & I am experiencing bad sharp pain in my knees & legs. The doctor said I should feel much better within three days. If I do not feel better by then I’m going straight to the ER. I’m hoping I don’t have any blood clots. This is the worst pain I have every experience after a surgery. I had a fibroid mymectomy Also I was cut. Never experienced this excruciating pain!!! I never recommend this to anyone. That type of surgery should be done in a hospital!

    • Susan Says:

      I had both of my surgery and procedures in hospitals. Performed by
      Doctors in the top of the field . With what you are describing ……
      I would go directly to the hospital .
      After a embolization you should
      Not be experiencing these
      Symptoms
      Susan

    • Rose Says:

      I agree with other poster, if its severe I would go to ER. Could be a clot. Best to check out. I did have sciatic nerve pain in my lower back, and down the back of my right leg because I was lying flat on the hard operating table for my procedure, which lasted about 3 hours. The pain was sharp at times, and I walked with a limp for about three days because of it, but the pain was relieved with short walks, and after a week, was 100% gone. Hopefully yours is just nerve or muscular pain. Good luck:)

  9. Rose Says:

    I had UFE in December 2013 for excessive bleeding. My fibroids caused me no pain. Guess I was lucky. I just looked like I was three months pregnant, and every month I would hemorrhage for the first day of my period. This went on for two years. Finally, I decided to go ahead with the procedure. I was 48 at the time, and women in my family don’t hit menopause until 53-54. I did not want a hysterectomy because of all of the sexual problems and bladder problems women experience post hysterectomy. Nor did I want to be a slave to HRT. So glad I did it, and sorry I waited so long. The pain was unbelievable for the first few hours after the procedure. I also could not even keep water down. Finally, after a massive dose of Toradol, an anti-inflammatory, and some Motrin via IV, I fell asleep for hours. When I woke up a few hours later, the nurse came in and removed my foley catheter (foleys don’t hurt btw), and I voided fine on my own. No pain at all. I was discharged the next day, and woke up feeling very well-rested. I did experience some severe cramping if I overdid it with the household chores. I experience a discharge every day for about 6 months. The hemorrhaging stopped with my next cycle. periods were normal again. After the procedure, I spent the next 5 days, mostly sleeping, and fighting an on and off fever. I did not have a BM for 5 days due to the pain killers I was on. I wasn’t eating that much , either, due to lack of appetite. No nausea. I took 10 days off , even though I could have gone back to work within a week. I would recommend this procedure to anyone who is a good candidate for it–not everyone is due to the size and type of fibroids they have. Sex life as good as it always was, and no bladder issue. Hope this helps someone out there. PS: My stomach has gone down, and I no longer look like I am expecting.

    • Rose Says:

      Forgot to add, before UFE, I had three fibroids. The largest one was 8CM, and they were all intramural or subserosal. Uterus was the size of a 12 weeks pregnant woman.

  10. Laura May Says:

    I had a ufe done 10 days ago.
    I was not happy with the freezing operating room and was not impresses with the way the nurse treated me.It was my first procedure and there was zero empanthy.The nurse also told me hiw excited she was that she was pregnant knowing that I cant have kids.I also felt rushed out after the ufe.The procefure was at 9am and I was home by 12:30 pm.I couldnt walk but they got me a wheelchair.Seriously??? The first 5 days during recovery I had no appetite and had constipation. The pain pills helped alot while I was stuck in bed.I do have more energy than I did.Today (day 10) My stomach feels very tight and I lost my appetite. I felt much better yesterday.I hope to never have to go through this ever again.
    Well that’s my story. Hoped it helped someone.

  11. CMA Says:

    @Laura…I am really sorry to hear about your experience and based on what I’ve read on this thread and other sites and also my own experience I can say it is not typical. Most of the hospitals performing this procedure require an overnight stay to monitor recovery and to administer appropriate pain medication. The idea of being released home hours after the UTE is just horrifying and I have not heard of that before. However, I will say, that while my procedure was painless and quick, recovery does take proper medication and preparation. Women should not be fooled that because it is minor it is not significant…you will need a full 10 days to feel at all like yourself, to have an appetite, to have normal bowel movements etc… Some of that is the procedure and some of that is due to the recovery pain meds. But I want to underscore that this is way less invasive and way less difficult in terms of recovery than a hysterectomy! I would guess that 9 out of 10 UTEs solve the fibroid issues we experience. My periods went from extreme pain and very heavy flow to pain free and light periods. I only wish someone had told me about this procedure YEARS before. But learn from Laura’s terrible experience…ask your doctor to walk you through what will happen, if the hospital does not want to keep you overnight…don’t have the procedure at that hospital! Also if you’re cold, tell someone…and if the nursing staff is being insensitive ask them to be mindful of your anxiety…just speak up…no one is a better advocate for you than you. Good luck!

  12. Andrea Says:

    Today is Friday I had my ufe on monday it was pain every since throwing up nausea, nite sweats fever you name it I had it. Contractions heartburn smh when does this nightmare ends. The meds that was prescribed was oxy codone for pain…that was also terrible taking the pain away 4 only 2 hrs the rest of the time in tremendous pain smh it also made me delusional heart papitations too much side effects I can’t deal with this. It’s my 4 day somebody please tell me it will get better!!!!! P.S. this is the first day I’m able to talk or text briefly b4 today I was too weak!!!!!

    • Celina Says:

      Hey Andrea,
      Day 3 and 4 of my recovery were the worst so your experience sounds nearly normal. The nausea and other side effects may very well be from the meds. Get off of them ASAP. Alternate Tylenol and Advil ( they process differently in the body and can overlap)… Tell your doc your narcotics are making you sick and you need OTC relief. Take a laxative too as the meds are probably constipationing you and making some of your symptoms worse. That said, if you are running a fever for very long you need medical attention as it may mean an infection.
      Please let us know how you do over the next few days. Things will get better.

  13. Angela Says:

    After my UFE procedure I was nauseated and could not keep anything down right after and next day. 3rd day I felt a little better just constipated from pain pills for about 4 days. After that was resolved within 7 days I was back at work. I only had 1 small fibroid (less than 2 cm) that was located on multiple uterine lining which caused excessive bleeding for weeks. I was very anemic and low blood, iron for over a year before this procedure. I have not had a monthly cycle – other than minimal spotting for half day in 3 months. This procedure practically saved my life. I would recommend to any female versus hysterectomy. I used Dr Lipman in Atlanta GA- is GREAT!!!


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