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An Introduction to Uterine Fibroids: What Is A Fibroid? What Are The Fibroid Treatment Options?

Dr Eisen Liang - Monday, February 20, 2017

An Introduction to Uterine Fibroids: What Is A Fibroid? What Are The Fibroid Treatment Options?

You've probably heard of uterine fibroids but don't know much about them. Or even if you've read about them, it may be difficult to understand all the medical jargon.

Dr. Eisen Liang is an interventional radiologist and fibroid embolization specialist. Together with obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr. Bevan Brown, they seek to spread knowledge on uterine fibroids and the different treatment options for women in our modern era of advanced medicine. 

Their 5000 words article How to Treat Fibroids was published in the GP Magazine Australian Doctor. Here's a section that's been reworded to help you better understand the nature of fibroids.

Uterine fibroids are benign tumours that are commonly present in women. In fact, it's so common that it affects one in four women of reproductive age. While they are non-cancerous, 10-40% women may experience accompanying symptoms that significantly affect their quality of life and may need treatment. Most would find these symptoms bothersome, inconvenient, and painful.

Before, when simple medical measures proved to be ineffective, the only treatment option given was a hysterectomy, the removal of the entire uterus. Now with advancements in procedures in the past two decades, there have been less-invasive options offered. 

(Image via: mirena-us)

One is Mirena, an intrauterine device used for birth control. It releases a steady dose of progesterone hormone. It might help to reduce heavy menstrual flow but does not shrink fibroids.

Another is endometrial ablation, a procedure that destroys a thin layer of the lining of the uterus with heat energy. It stops menstrual flow altogether. 

A very effective non-surgical procedure is uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). It works by blocking blood supply to the uterus, starving the fibroids, and shrinking them without having to remove them. According to many studies, UFE has been proven to be as effective as hysterectomy in relieving symptoms of heavy menstrual bleeding, period pain, and bladder symptoms.

Because of the development of these less invasive treatment options as well as advances in techniques in hysteroscopic, laparoscopic, and robotic surgery, hysterectomies for uterine fibroids are no longer necessary in many cases. In fact, they should only be considered as a last resort when other less invasive treatments have trialed and failed.

Women who are experiencing symptoms related to uterine fibroids should speak with their GP or gynaecologist to discuss the many treatment options and find the one best suited for them. You GP or gynaecologist might not be familiar with UFE. To download a Fact Sheet to take it to your doctors, click this link:
Factsheet For Doctors

To find the full set of articles for you and your doctor on uterine fibroids, its symptoms, and the various treatment options, click on this link below:

Doctor's Resources

Dr Eisen Liang is an interventional radiologist with special interest in gynaecological intervention such as Uterine Fibroid Embolisation (UFE), adenomyosis embolisation and ovarian vein embolisation for pelvic congestion syndrome. He performed his first UFE in 1998 and has been performing UFE at Sydney Adventist Hospital since 2007.
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