Ask the Nurse

My doctor says I have fibroids and need a hysterectomy. Are there any other options?

Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that may grow as a single nodule or in clusters, and may range in size from 1 mm to more than 20 cm (8 inches) in diameter. Some women never exhibit any symptoms and don’t have any problems associated with fibroids, in which case no treatment is necessary.

In the past, women with symptoms from fibroids were only offered hysterectomy (the surgical removal of the uterus). Today, many women and their doctors are considering other minimally invasive treatment options, which may eliminate symptoms. Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) can be used to treat the bleeding symptoms and menstrual cramps caused by uterine fibroids. Or, if fibroids are particularly troublesome, a surgeon can perform a myomectomy, which removes the tumor but leaves the uterus intact. This can be done through a laparoscope, a hysteroscope or through an abdominal incision.

For women who are no longer interested in having children, an interventional radiologist can perform a fibroid embolization, which works by decreasing blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink.

All My Best,
Speaking of Women's Health Nurse

September 12, 2011 at 11:47am