Frequently Asked Questions about Fibroids
Fibroids are benign muscular tumors that can grow on the inside, outside, or within the wall of the uterus. They are different from uterine polyps and endometriosis because these conditions result in abnormal growth of endometrium tissue. Learn about the different types of fibroids.
The majority of women have developed fibroids by the time they reach age 50, but not all women have symptoms. The most common symptoms are:
- Heavy bleeding during your period
- Feeling of fullness or noticeable enlargement of the pelvic area
- Frequent urination or incontinence
If you’re experiencing one of more of these symptoms of uterine fibroids, you may be wondering how you can be diagnosed with fibroids. Fibroids are sometimes found during a routine pelvic exam with your gynecologist. If you and your doctor suspect you have fibroids, ultrasonography, hysteroscopy, hysterosalpingography, sonohysterography, or laparoscopy are tests that can be done to determine if there are uterine fibroids. These tests may also be done to track the growth of uterine fibroids over time. The number, size, and symptoms of uterine fibroids found will determine the treatment option that is recommended.
If you have mild symptoms, medication to control the symptoms may be recommended first. For more significant symptoms, if the fibroid grows, or if medication does not help, you may need surgery:
- Endometrial ablation: removing the lining of the uterus to control heavy bleeding.
- Myomectomy: surgery to remove fibroids, but leaving the uterus in place.
- Hysterectomy: surgery to remove the uterus.
- Uterine Fibroid Embolization: a minimally invasive procedure to block the blood supply to the fibroid, which causes it to shrink.
The best candidates for Uterine Fibroid Embolization are women who have symptomatic fibroids that are causing heavy periods and/or pain from the size of the fibroid. It is also an alternative to a hysterectomy for women who do not want to undergo surgery to remove their uterus.
Yes, UFE is covered by most private insurance plans and Medicare. The cost that you pay out of pocket will depend on your copayment and deductible amounts. We also accept the CareCredit credit card to help cover the cost of UFE. For more information about billing and insurance, click here. Our office is happy to help you through the insurance process if you have any questions.
The success rate can be as high as 90%, so most women will see a quick improvement in the symptoms caused by fibroids. If the artery feeding the fibroid is not completely blocked, it could grow back, but this is rare. Most women do not need to pursue other treatments for fibroids after UFE.
UFE is an outpatient procedure, so you’ll be able to go home the same day. The first week after the procedure, you’ll want to take it easy. Many women are able to return to normal activities in 8-14 days. Most women notice an improvement in their symptoms within 3-6 months.