It might surprise you to learn that up to 80% of women develop uterine fibroids during their reproductive years. Since you’re reading this, the piece of the puzzle that probably doesn’t come as a surprise is the fact that these growths can become problematic.
If you’re dealing with troublesome uterine fibroids that are causing no small amount of discomfort, you want to figure out the best path forward to relief. One of those paths might be a hysterectomy — fibroids are the leading reason more than 400,000 women in the United States undergo a hysterectomy each year.
To paint a clearer picture, Dr. Ulas Bozdogan of Advanced Endometriosis Center, who counts uterine fibroids among his areas of expertise, discusses when a hysterectomy is the best option for this common condition.
Trying other fibroid treatments first
While we already discussed how common uterine fibroids are, affecting up to 80% of women, most don’t have symptoms. This is because the uterine fibroids are small and don't interfere with function.
For the minority of women who do develop symptoms, they’re typically due to the size, number, and/or location of the fibroids, which can lead to:
Fibroids can lead to a dull ache in your lower abdomen or lower back. Or, your pain might only occur during certain activities, such as while having intercourse. In some cases, there’s no pain, but there’s a feeling of pressure in your abdomen.
Many women with symptomatic fibroids count menstrual issues among the side effects. More specifically, many women complain of heavy periods that come more frequently and last longer, not to mention spotting in between periods. Some women even develop anemia thanks to the blood loss.
Fertility or pregnancy issues
Fibroids aren’t a common cause of infertility, but the presence of these growths in your uterus can cause pregnancy issues such as miscarriage.
In cases where the uterine fibroid is very large, you might develop outward signs of the growth in the form of an extended abdomen.
Treating troublesome uterine fibroids
When we treat fibroids, we target your primary symptoms. For example, if abnormal periods are your biggest complaint, we can turn to hormonal birth control that can regulate your cycles and how much you bleed. This approach can also reduce period-related pain (cramping).
If the size of the fibroid is your biggest issue, forms of hormonal birth control aren’t a good option as they can sometimes increase the size of the growth. Instead, we might turn to gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists that halt your period and shrink your fibroids, which places you in a sort of menopause.
Another solution that addresses most of the side effects of uterine fibroids is a myomectomy, a procedure in which Dr. Bozdogan removes your fibroids using minimally invasive, robot-assisted surgical technology.
Whether you opt for the agonist medications or a myomectomy, please know that uterine fibroids can, and often do, grow back.
The only way to put an end to your issues with uterine fibroids once and for all is with a hysterectomy. During this procedure, Dr. Bozdogan removes your uterus and the fibroids within it, which not only solves your current issue but also prevents future growths.
We can’t say here what’s best for you, as a hysterectomy is a big step that puts an end to your ability to have children and places you into menopause. Only you can weigh the pros and cons and decide what's best, but we’re here to answer any questions you might have.
To learn more about treating fibroids with a hysterectomy, we invite you to book an appointment with Dr. Bozdogan today online or over the phone. We have offices in New York City and Hackensack, New Jersey.