Learning More About Uterine Artery Embolization
December 17, 2021
If you’re suffering from uterine fibroids, it is essential to get the right treatment to get rid of the problem as soon as possible. Failing to do so in good time – especially if the issue is more serious – can lead to a lot of health risks and difficulties, even to the point where you can no longer become pregnant.
Despite all that, uterine fibroids can sometimes be treated with medication, and if that fails there are a number of minimally invasive treatments that may also be effective. One of them is uterine artery embolization (UFE).
What is uterine artery embolization? The treatment can be described as minimally invasive, since it doesn’t actually involve surgery. Instead, it involves a flexible tube known as a catheter that is used to inject small particles known as embolic agents into the uterine arteries, in order to control the growth of the fibroids and even break them down. The main way in which this action is achieved is by preventing blood from reaching them and effectively starving the fibroids. The entire process can be somewhat lengthy, requiring about 7-10 days for completion, depending on how large the growths are and how difficult it is to break them down.
It is essential to find out as much as possible about the treatment and know what you can expect from it. In most cases, you won’t feel much discomfort from the start, but you might end up feeling tired quickly. Your doctor could also prescribe pain medicine, if you experience some mild pain or discomfort during the period of the treatment.
If you aren’t used to heavy menstrual cycles, it’s important to be prepared for them during the next couple of months. Many doctors have reported their patients experiencing greater blood loss during their following 2-3 menstrual cycles. Moreover, vaginal bleeding may also occur between cycles, and it’s also possible for some patients to experience some grayish or brownish vaginal discharge as the fibroids are being broken down.
As most experts will tell you, it’s very important to take proper care of yourself at home and avoid demanding tasks and activities:
- Don’t lift heavy weights and avoid heavy workouts for the period of the treatment, as well as the weeks that follow (talk to your doctor about the specifics of when you can start again).
- Avoid a sedentary lifestyle as well. Try to take brisk walks each day and maintain a relatively active lifestyle – at least as much as possible.
- Take showers instead of baths.
- Confer with your doctor about when you can resume driving. It is also recommended that you take a week off work, especially if your job is overly demanding or stressful.
Compared to other treatments, such as hysterectomies and myomectomies, uterine artery embolization has several important advantages to keep in mind. No incisions or anesthetics are required, as the procedure is not painful or overly invasive. Also, UFE is able to treat all fibroids at the same time, so you won’t have to go back to the clinic for additional treatments. Finally, not only is there no blood loss involved with uterine artey embolization, but you won’t experience the kind of bone density loss and other serious side effects associated with previously used treatments such as GnRH-a therapy.