Identify and Fight Pelvic Pain From Endometriosis and Fibroids

Women may feel overwhelmed by the number of gynecological issues that they could possibly face. But for every condition, physicians have discovered more than one method of treatment. Discuss options with your doctor for every challenge that arises, including:

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that develop within or attach to the wall of the uterus. They usually affect women over age 30.

Fibroids don’t always cause symptoms. When they do occur, the symptoms may include prolonged bleeding with periods, increase in urinary frequency, pelvic cramping or a feeling of pressure in lower abdomen.

Some women may just need pelvic exams or ultrasounds every once in a while to monitor a fibroid's growth. Two very different procedures for more serious cases of fibroids are uterine artery embolization and myomectomy.

Treatment Options

Uterine artery embolization involves the injecting of particles to stop the blood flow to a particular part of the body. Fibroids are very vascular structures, so they require a lot of blood flow to grow and live. With embolization, a small catheter is placed into an artery in the groin through which microscopic beads are injected. The beads selectively occlude the blood flow to the fibroids, essentially killing them and causing them to shrink. Though they remain in the uterus, these shrunken fibroids no longer cause pain or excessive bleeding during periods because they no longer have the blood supply.

This procedure doesn’t stop the blood supply to the uterus but only to the fibroids, allowing patients to have a normally functioning uterus and the ability to have successful pregnancies after the procedure. Not all women who suffer from fibroids are candidates for this procedure. The size, number, and location of the growths are all variables that a woman and her doctor must consider.

A myomectomy is the surgical removal of fibroids. The size and location of the fibroids helps the physician determine whether to complete this surgery using the traditional open method or laparoscopically. Laparoscopic surgeries result in less blood loss, less pain, and shorter recovery time, but also take longer than open surgery. Ultimately, it’s between the patient and the physician to decide what procedure is best. 

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows in other areas of the body. This can cause painful periods, pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic cramps, and pain during sexual intercourse. It can also result in irregular bleeding and possible infertility.

Treatment depends on factors such as age and the severity of symptoms. Some women with mild endometriosis may just be monitored, having regular exams every six to twelve months so the doctor can make sure the disease isn't getting worse. Surgery is usually only done if a woman has a severe case.

Physicians can diagnose and treat based on symptoms, patient history and a clinical check-up, but they also have the option of using a laparoscope. With the laparoscope, a doctor can not only confirm the diagnosis, but treat as well by using the laser to basically debulk, or remove, the majority or all of the endometriosis that’s visible. Medication can also be used in conjunction with laparoscopy or on its own if a woman wants to avoid or cannot undergo surgery.

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