Uterine fibroids are very common and affect 70% of women by the age of 50. However, the symptoms they cause can vary greatly and some women with uterine fibroids do not require treatment at all. In this instance, watchful waiting is usually employed, which involves regular pelvic exams to monitor the tumor growth.
For women that experience heavy menstrual bleeding or significant abdominal pain, treatment is often needed to manage the symptoms. Depending on the individual factors of the woman’s situation, either pharmacological or surgical treatment may be most beneficial.
Initially, it is important to consider the presence of symptoms due to uterine fibroids. Many women with fibroids do not need treatment, as the symptoms do not make a big impact on their life.
Additionally, the type of symptoms is important because some treatments target specific ailments. Symptoms can be broadly classified into two groups of heavy menstrual flow and discomfort of the abdominal area.
They type of fibroids and the general health of the woman should also be considered. Her age may affect the treatment given, particularly if she is close to menopause.
Women who are currently pregnant or who are planning to become pregnant in the future should be given special consideration because uterine fibroids can have an impact on fertility and fetal growth, as well as impact the treatment decision. Additionally, some types of surgery should only be recommended if the woman is sure that she does not want to bear any children in the future, as they may render her infertile.
Medical treatment can be used to address the symptoms that result from the presence of uterine fibroids. Treatment options may include:
Surgical removal of uterine fibroids is often indicated if they are causing the women to experience significant symptoms that impact on her daily life. There are several different types of surgery and the best procedure will depend on the unique situation of the woman.
An emerging treatment method involves the use of radiofrequency ablation to destroy fibroid tissue with minimal damage to surrounding uterine tissue. This is a non-invasive procedure that shrinks the fibroids and allows many women to make a full recovery within a few days.