Busy women have options for treating fibroid tumors

Posted by: smilie on 12/07/2004 - 05:25 PM

Uterine artery embolization requires less recovery time than hysterectomy

Nicole Williams of Columbia probably isn’t quite as busy as Condoleezza Rice, a top adviser President Bush has named as the next secretary of state.

But when Williams decided to have something done about her fibroid tumors, she chose the same treatment Rice did recently: uterine artery embolization.

Though not for everyone, it’s an option for women who are too busy for tumors — and too busy for the hysterectomy that is the most common remedy for them.

“I couldn’t afford to be out of work for six weeks,” said Williams, a radiology support specialist at Palmetto Health Richland. “And I have a phobia of being under (general anesthesia).”

Like Rice, Williams is black. That means she was twice as likely to develop fibroids, tumors that can be troublesome although they are not cancerous.

In fact, Williams’ mother had fibroids and had a hysterectomy in her early 30s to get rid of them.

Fibroids, and the symptoms associated with them, are the most common reason women have hysterectomies,� said Dr. Janice Bacon, who chairs USCobstetrics and gynecology department.

Yet while more than 200,000 women have hysterectomies for fibroids each year, fewer than 14,000 opt for embolization, which has been used on fibroids for about eight years. A hysterectomy is surgical removal of the uterus, usually with the ovaries as well and usually through an abdominal incision.

A hysterectomy involves several days in the hospital and up to eight weeks or more recovery. Embolization usually entails an overnight stay in the hospital and recovery in seven to 10 days.

Is embolization a good choice for you? That depends on many factors, including how much aggravation your fibroids are causing, how close you are to menopause, and whether you still want to have children.

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