Treatment For Fibroids

The most common type of pelvic tumors in women is uterine fibroids and although most often they are benign, (non-cancerous) they still cause suffering and problems. The wide variety of symptoms caused by uterine fibroids includes excessive bleeding, which can lead to iron deficiency anemia, pain, and discomfort and bowel obstruction. Intercourse can be very painful for women with fibroid tumors and fibroids have been implicated in pregnancy loss.

Hormone Treatment Can Have Some Unpleasant Side-Effects

Until recent times, the only effective treatment for uterine fibroids was hormone therapy or surgery. Fibroids grow in response to estrogen. By using injections of progesterone, which is an anti-estrogen hormone, fibroids shrink and there is often a very dramatic improvement in symptoms. The downside to using hormones is the side effects caused by excessive amounts of progesterone in the woman's system. Menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis result from high levels of progesterone; consequently, they can only be used for a short time. Once the therapy is discontinued, the symptoms return. The best time to use hormonal therapy, therefore, is to shrink the tumors prior to surgery.

Hysterectomy-Take It All

The two types of surgeries used to address uterine fibroids are hysterectomy and myomectomy. A hysterectomy is the complete removal of the uterus with or without the removal of the ovaries. To avoid an incision through the abdomen, a hysterectomy can be performed vaginally. If the fibroids are very large, then an incision through the abdominal wall is necessary. Such surgery is considered major and the procedure requires general anesthesia and a stay in the hospital of several days. Recuperation can take up to six weeks and pregnancy is a moot topic.

Myomectomy-Take Only A Bit

Myomectomy, an alternative surgery for uterine fibroids, is designed to remove only the tumor, leaving the uterus intact, thus preserving reproductive potential. Depending upon the size of the tumors, an incision may be required or the surgery can be done through a laparoscope or hysteroscope. A laparoscope is a telescope-like instrument that is inserted through the abdominal wall and a hysteroscope is a telescope-like instrument that is inserted through the vagina. If the fibroids are large, the myomectomy often ends up becoming a hysterectomy due to the excessive amount of bleeding which results from the tumors. Uterine fibroids are vascular, meaning a massive amount of blood feeds them through veins. Although myomectomy offers some relief from uterine fibroids, the relief is often short-lived since the smaller tumors continue to grow and will eventually need to be addressed.

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