Just what are your uterine fibroid tumor treatment options?

uterine fibroid treatment option decisionsBeen blogging here for a number of months on the medical decisions I made to finally address my uterine fibroid tumor problem. I consider myself fortunate because a number of women have decided to share their choices as well. It’s now time to string some of the Forum “threads” together and assemble a post that lists fibroid treatment options.

I’ll start with some general information from the MayoClinic.com Uterine Fibroids Decision Guide. Visit the site for treatment details including what to expect, common concerns, and pros and cons. I’ll also include links to related posts on this site for each of the options.

What are the uterine fibroid tumor treatment options?

  1. Watchful Waiting
  2. Drug Therapy
  3. MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound Ablation (MRgFUS)
  4. Uterine Fibroid/Artery Embolization (UFE/UAE)
  5. Myomectomy
  6. Hysterectomy
  7. Other Approaches

Watchful Waiting

Your doctor will look for signs of rapid fibroid growth or interference with nearby structures such as your bladder or intestines.

Report to your doctor any new signs and symptoms that could signal problems, including heavy menstrual bleeding, back or pelvic pain, urinary frequency or constipation.

Please visit:

Are you following the “Watchful Waiting” fibroid treatment option?
Uterine fibroid symptoms (not my idea of fun)
Uterine fibroid tumors and anemia?

Drug Therapy

Medications can be used to treat the signs of uterine fibroids, such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pressure. They don’t eliminate fibroids but may shrink them. Side effects can make them difficult to tolerate. Because of these limitations, medical therapies are temporary solutions for fibroids.

These medications include gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists and androgens. For alleviation of symptoms, oral contraceptives or progestins and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used.

Please visit:
What the heck is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist?
How are you feeling after your Lupron injections? Any side effects?
Anyone using birth control pills to control the bleeding from fibroids?

MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound Ablation (MRgFUS)

Unlike other fibroid treatment options, FUS is noninvasive and preserves your uterus. During the procedure, MR images are used to locate your fibroids to be treated. Then the ultrasound transducer is used to send focused sound waves (sonications) into the fibroid to heat and destroy small areas of tissue.

Please visit:
New treatment uses sound waves to shrink uterine fibroid tumors
Does anyone have an experience with ExAblate (MRgFUS)?

Uterine Fibroid/Artery Embolization (UFE/UAE)

In uterine artery embolization (UAE), a doctor uses a slender, flexible tube (catheter) to inject small particles into the uterine arteries, which supply blood to your fibroids and uterus. The goal is to block tiny vessels that lead to your fibroids, starve the fibroids and cause them to die.

Myomectomy

Doctors may recommend myomectomy — surgical removal of the fibroids and repair of the uterus — for women with troublesome fibroids who plan to bear children or who want to keep their uterus. Women who undergo myomectomy report improvement in symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding.

Please visit:
How are you feeling after your Hysteroscopic Myomectomy?
How are you feeling after your Laparoscopic Myomectomy?
How are you feeling after your Abdominal Myomectomy?
How are you feeling after your Abdominal Myomectomy (part 2)?

Hysterectomy

Fibroids are the No. 1 reason for hysterectomy — surgical removal of the uterus. It’s the sixth most common surgery in the United States for women. Hysterectomy is the only permanent solution for fibroids; however, it ends your ability to become pregnant. If you choose hysterectomy, you face additional decisions about surgical approach and whether you will have your ovaries removed.

Please visit:
Does anyone have a hysterectomy experience to share?
How are you feeling after your Laparoscopic Hysterectomy?
How are you feeling after your Abdominal Hysterectomy?

Other Approaches

Endometrial ablation removes the lining of your uterus, either ending menstruation or reducing your menstrual flow. One of several techniques destroys the cells of the uterine lining — laser, electrical energy, or placing a balloon in your uterus and filling it with hot water. Also, your doctor might remove or shave down submucosal fibroids.

Myolysis (coagulation) uses a needle to apply electric current directly to fibroids. Myolysis can also treat fibroids by using a laser probe. A similar technique, cryomyolysis, destroys fibroids by freezing them. The goal of this laparoscopic procedure is to disrupt the blood flow of fibroids and cause them to shrink over time.

Alternative treatments show up on the Internet and in books focusing on women’s health. Dietary recommendations include eating soy protein. Another suggestion is to reduce your intake of meat and dairy products. Other recommendations include consulting a practitioner of homeopathy, practicing stress reduction techniques and taking herbal preparations. More research is necessary to determine whether any dietary practices or methods can help prevent or treat fibroids.

Please visit:
How are you feeling after your Endometrial Ablation?
Does anyone have a dilation (dilatation) and curettage (D&C) experience to share?
Is there a natural alternative therapy or treatment for uterine fibroids?
Can I change my diet to help with fibroids?
Did you see Oprah trying acupuncture?

I’m going to add a comment with the uterine fibroid treatment options I picked. Feel free to do the same or leave your thoughts, concerns or questions concerning treatments.

——————–

Related Post:
Has anyone needed a second uterine fibroid surgery or procedure?

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56 Responses to “Just what are your uterine fibroid tumor treatment options?”

  1. claudia Says:

    Hi Amy- I don’t think the donating blood thing comes from paranoia.
    I’ve heard from several sources (including my own 1st, 2nd, & 3rd opinion Drs.) that a myomectomy is a very “bloody” procedure. One of my co-workers was scheduled for a myomectomy and she had to make 2 seperate appointments to donate her own blood (they needed alot and couldn’t take it all at one time.)I’ll bet you’ve already looked at some other posts regarding a Myomectomy?

    I’m booked for a partial abdominal H in September (unless I chicken out before then (!):)

    Good luck to you!

  2. Camille Says:

    Hello:

    I am 63 years old – have had fibroid tumors since I was 37. They wanted to do a complete hysterectomy, I ran out of the office – biggest fear was starting menopause, becoming old looking, and getting fat like most of my friends I knew that had had one, including my younger sister, following their hysterectomies. I put up with the painful periods, pelvic pain many times that would double me over when I would walk, bloated stomach, etc. One of my doctors told me they would began to shrink once I went into menopause. Well sure enough menopause came around at about 47 years old. As time went on the fibroid tumors did shrink, but the menopause left me with one horrible side affect – vaginal stenosis. I know many of you out there have never heard of this one before, but very common (go online to learn more about this one – worth it!). I went 6 of my 15 years of marriage with my second husband of now, seeing constant doctors & not one of them could make the diagnose of vaginal stenosis – until an older doctor I once went to told me that is what was the matter with me – believe me you don’t want sex – it is the most excruciating pain and not very much fun for the man because it scares him into not wanting sex with you if he thinks he is constantly hurting you. This is far worse than the fibroid tumors were – so like giving up hope for the vaginal stenosis I went on another 7 years in celibacy. Finally my younger sister was experiencing the same thing – but she went on line and found a doctor in Mobile, AL that strictly dealt in hormones! When I went to him, he examined me, had me go for blood work, then he prescribed 2 grams daily of testosterone 1 mg/G, and 2 grams of progesterone 10mg/G – both inserted vaginally. I’ve been on these creams for 1-l/2 years now – and low and behold within 3 mos. of taking these creams I was having sex again, BUT guess what – my fibroid tumors have grown back again and I am experiencing pain again especially when my little dog decides to jump unexpectedly on the pelvic area of my stomach – its a killer. Oh, and I look like I am 5 mos. pregnant – I am not a fat overweight person either, I eat what I am suppose to and walk 3 miles daily. Have an appointment with doctor this Wednesday to talk with him about having the fibroids removed, along with the uterus, and possibly the ovaries. Still afraid of having a bloated stomach and getting fat – that hasn’t changed in my mind since I was 37. Anyone out there with the problem I had besides the fibroid tumors too. Age isn’t a factor here as anyone can (including teenagers) get vaginal stenosis.

    Camille

  3. Amy Says:

    Camille,
    I’ve been reading this whole blog for years and no one with your experience has posted this info – so thank you so much!

    I see so many women who are told to just wait until menopause and the darned things will shrink! Well, yeah, but in my case, I decided to go on a hormone patch because my menopausal symptoms were so strong… so yep, the darned things don’t shrink. And now, the last time I saw a doctor, she didn’t want to do a myomectomy because she says I’m too old! Grrr.

    So everyone out there: to hell with watchful waiting – get the fibroids out before you are put in the position of having to get everything taken out!

    Thanks again, good luck with the surgery and please keep us posted!

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  5. Amy Says:

    Hi Everybody! YAY!!!

    FYI — I contacted WordPress and they were able to fix the blog!!!

    I’ve asked if it was an actual malfunction or the domain mapping wasn’t paid up or whatever…. and will continue to follow through on this is just in case.

    I really hope the whole thing is working again and all the regulars come back!

    (for those who get ALL the comments emailed to them, sorry for all the repeat posts, but I want the message to get through to everyone!)

  6. sandi45 Says:

    Thanks god I’ve found this useful/informative site for people who had or had fibroids.

    I’m 45 and was diagosed with fibroids Sept this year after going for an ultrasound test. My stomach is bloated with excruiating pain. Sometimes the pain can last for minutes even after taking painkillers.

    For treament I was adviced by the Gynecologist to have a full womb removal because my age. I was not keen on the idea of having my womb removed and I do know some women still have children after the age of 45!! So I asked for more information on fibroid treatment. He mentioned non surgical removal using laser. I thought brilliant, but left feeling unsure and needed to know of anyone who had laser removal of fibroids.

    Sandi


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