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Uterine Fibroid Treatment

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Call (805) 569-7279 to learn more about non-surgical relief from fibroids.

Cottage Health doctors offer a full range of options for fibroids, including a nonsurgical approach done by interventional radiologists.

What are fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop from the uterus wall. You might hear them called "fibroids" or "myomas." For most women, fibroid tumors cause minor or no symptoms. Fibroids can range in size from very tiny to larger than a cantaloupe.

Symptoms

Depending on their size and location, fibroids may cause:

  • Heavy, drawn-out menstrual periods and unusual monthly bleeding, sometimes with clots
  • Pelvic pain and pressure
  • Pain in the back and legs
  • Pain during sex
  • Bladder pressure leading to a frequent urge to urinate
  • Pressure on the bowel, leading to constipation and bloating
  • Abnormally enlarged abdomen

In the U.S., one third of surgeries to remove a woman’s uterus (hysterectomy) are done because of fibroids.

Help without surgery

Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive alternative to surgery. But it may not be the right choice for every woman who has fibroids.

Before the procedure is scheduled, you will have an MRI scan of your pelvis done to see if you have a good chance for being helped by UFE. Then you will meet with an interventional radiologist to look at the results and talk more about whether you want to move forward.

UFE is done in the interventional radiology suite at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. You will be awake but sedated. After making a tiny incision, the interventional radiologist will guide a catheter tube to the arteries that supply blood to the fibroid and releases tiny particles, the size of grains of sand. This blocks the blood flow to the fibroid and causes it to shrink and die.

Healing Time

UFE often requires a hospital stay of one night. Many women start light activities in a few days and most return to normal activities within seven to 10 days.

On average the fibroids shrink to half their size after UFE and are unlikely to regrow.  Of those women who have had UFE, 85 to 90 percent have major or total relief from heavy bleeding and pain.

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