When you hear the words fibroid tumour you are understandably going to have a worried reaction. The word tumour is not a happy one! But when it comes to fibroid tumours most women have very little to worry about. Some women do not even have symptoms, and there is a range of options when it comes to treatment for those who need it. So is a hysterectomy one option to treat uterine fibroids, yes it is. Is it required? No. It depends on your specific circumstance.
What are fibroid tumours?
Fibroids are categorised depending on where they are found, you can have subserosal fibroids that extend from the wall of the uterus to the pelvis, you have submucosal fibroids that are just under the lining of the uterus and you have intramural fibroids that are between the muscles in the wall of the uterus. When a group of cells come together to form a mass in the uterus this is a fibroid tumour. As mentioned some women have no symptoms. More common ones in those that do include heavy periods, bleeding that goes on for a longer time, and pain in the abdomen. The choice of treatment depends on the type of fibroids you have, the number, how large they are and your own age and health.
Treatment options outlined
Hysterectomies were once a routine treatment for fibroid tumours but this does not have to be the case anymore. There are a number of treatments and all vary in how invasive they are. Some are medications, some surgical operations and so on. Here is a look at your alternatives when you actually do not require a hysterectomy to treat fibroids. It is worth noting though that even hysterectomies have changed a great deal from what they once were. A new form called a supracervical hysterectomy, for example, removes just the uterine cavity and as a result the fibroids, it does not affect any other part of the reproductive system. There are no traditional consequences as you find with traditional hysterectomies and it is a quick recovery period.
Medications help with the symptoms and might shrink the fibroids. They include
GnRH agonists, a progestin releasing IUD, tranexamic acid, some type of oral contraceptive, NSAIDs and more.
MRI guided focused ultrasound surgery
Uterine artery embolization, radiofrequency ablation, laparoscopic or robotic myomectomy, hysteroscopic myomectomy, endometrial ablation.
Surgical traditional procedures
Abdominal myomectomy, hysterectomy
If you want to have children still
One of the reasons some women are nervous about hearing they require a hysterectomy is because they may not have yet had children and want that option open to them one day. A traditional hysterectomy and the endometrial ablation treatments would both mean there is no chance of having a future baby. Two other treatments, radiofrequency ablation and uterine artery embolization should be avoided if you want to keep your fertility at optimal levels. If you have uterine fibroids there are a lot of options so for most women you can find ways to get treated and preserve your ability to conceive.