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Uterine Fibroids – It's Not All Doom and Gloom

woman clutching her stomach in pain

If you've been diagnosed or suspect you may have uterine fibroids, then it's only natural that you're worried about how they will affect your life. Are they cancerous? Will they prevent you from having children? These are both thoughts that are probably racing through your mind right now.

Well, take a deep breath and try to stay calm because, fortunately, a uterine fibroid diagnosis isn't all doom and gloom, as we'll explain in this article.

Uterine fibroids are pretty common. It's estimated that between 20-50% of American women in their childbearing years currently have fibroids, and up to 77% of women will develop them at some time during their reproductive lifespan.

So what is a uterine fibroid exactly?

A uterine fibroid is a growth in the womb (uterus) made up of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the womb and appear singly or in groups. They also differ in size and can be as large as a melon or as small as a grape. In some cases, fibroids can grow into the uterine cavity or extend outwards on stalks. They often go undiagnosed because only about a third of them are large enough to be detected by a doctor during a physical exam.

Here at The Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy (MINT), we're specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of uterine fibroids. We're also committed to informing women about fibroids so they can better prevent them from developing or growing.

We're also pleased to give you the good news that most fibroids (over 99%) are benign, and for added peace of mind, you should know that they don't increase the risk of developing uterine cancer.

Not all fibroids are disruptive

Some women don't have any noticeable symptoms, whereas others experience severe problems that disrupt their everyday life. Symptoms include:

If any of these symptoms impact your daily life, it's time to contact the specialists at MINT for a fibroid evaluation.

Diet is a contributory factor in fibroid development and management

Research suggests that each fibroid develops from an abnormal muscle cell in the uterus and multiplies rapidly when it meets the estrogen hormone, fuelling the fibroid's growth. Consuming foods that increase your body's natural estrogen level could worsen your existing fibroids or increase your risk of getting fibroids.

The good news is that unprocessed plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains and beans, can help to balance hormones and reduce the risk of fibroids.

Fibroids aren't necessarily the cause of infertility

If you've been struggling to conceive or maintain a pregnancy, you may wonder if the blame lies with fibroids.

However, the good news is that only 2-3% of women struggle to become pregnant because of fibroids alone.

When fibroids interfere with conception, it's typically because of their size and position in the uterus.

If you're worried about infertility, please contact MINT's friendly team. Early intervention and treatment can improve your chances of getting pregnant.

Surgery may not be necessary

It used to be that the only treatment for fibroids was a hysterectomy. The good news is that several treatments nowadays help women manage fibroids. In some instances, where there are no irritating symptoms, there may not be a need for treatment at all.

As the growth of fibroids slows with the onset of menopause, your doctor may suggest careful monitoring if your symptoms are tolerable. Regular ultrasounds and follow-up visits can help detect if there are any significant changes.

The last piece of good news is that here at MINT, we provide a minimally invasive non-surgical treatment that shrinks fibroids safely and effectively – uterine fibroid embolization – UFE preventing the need for a hysterectomy in many cases.

Unlike major surgery, UFE can be performed as an outpatient with little or no downtime. During the procedure, a small catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the arm or leg and, with the help of X-rays, is directed to the vessels feeding the fibroids. Tiny particles injected into the blood vessel stop the blood from flowing to the fibroids. The patient can return home after the procedure and usually return to work within 3.7 days. Gradually over the ensuing weeks and months, the fibroids shrink. UFE can treat all sizes of fibroids and is 90% effective in reducing symptoms.

In cases with no alternative but major surgery, UFE can aid a more successful surgery by shrinking the fibroids and reducing blood loss.

It can be frightening for women not to know what's going on with their bodies and to be unable to find relief, but here at MINT, we're committed to helping steer women in the right direction. Even if you have large fibroids, you may not require major surgery.

Why not schedule a consultation to determine if you are a candidate for UFE? Our medical staff will review your medical history and symptoms and order an MRI to confirm the size and quantify of fibroids to determine if you're a good fit for the treatment. Call MINT today and take the first step to get your life back on track. We currently have 5 offices based in MO and IL including Chicago.

Photo courtesy of 8photo @ freepik

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