While fibroids can grow anywhere in the female reproductive tract, the most common ones that a professional Gynecologist deals with are the uterine fibroids. These fibroids are benign growths that manifest with pain, prolonged bleeding, painful sexual intercourse and difficulty in urination.
Normal pregnancies with uterine fibroids are not impossible, but depending on the location and size, they may affect the delivery of the baby. In many cases, they may impact the implantation process and cause difficulty in pregnancy.
In some cases, the fibroids remain asymptomatic and are an incidental finding. This is because fibroids vary in size and may be as small as seeds or increase to the size of a melon. Fibroids are the leading cause of hysterectomy in the United States and affect the quality of life of women, globally. While the exact cause of fibroids is not understood, we know that they have a hereditary component and are under the influence of female hormones like progesterone and estrogen.
There are pharmacological and non-pharmacological ways of dealing with uterine fibroids. Read on to know more about dealing with them:
1. Eat right
Keeping the weight in check and eating right help in managing fibroids. Studies show that excess weight and obesity increase the risk of fibroids. This is possibly due to the estrogen released from fat cells that stimulates the growth of fibroids. Losing weight can, therefore, help minimize the odds of fibroids.
In fact, certain foods also decrease the discomfort associated with fibroids. These include simple carbohydrates and sugary foods, causing spike in blood glucose levels, and consequently the insulin levels. The latter causes weight gain and increase in the size of fibroids.
2. Get enough vitamin D
Research says that the risk of fibroids is also associated with decreased levels of serum vitamin D and vitamin A. Getting sufficient vitamin D reduces the risk of uterine fibroids by almost 32 percent. Women living in regions with insufficient sunlight are likely to be deficient in vitamin D and be at higher risk of fibroids. Such women should increase their intake of fortified orange juice, egg yolks, milk, cheese, dairy products and green leafy vegetables, and should get sunlight exposure with sunscreen.
3. Focused ultrasound
Focused ultrasound treats fibroids with heat. The downside of this treatment is that only certain types and sizes of fibroids are treatable with this procedure. This technique involves spending quite a bit of time inside an MRI machine. This treatment technique is still evolving and not available at every center.
Myolysis is a laparoscopic technique that destroys fibroids. Myolysis, however, doesn’t remove them per se. The most commonly used techniques for Myolysis include radiofrequency (RFA), which has shown to reduce the size of fibroids by 45 percent. Like focused ultrasound, the RFA, is still under development and its impact on future pregnancies is not understood yet.
5. Uterine artery embolization
One of the frequently used procedures is uterine artery embolization (UAE)—in use for more than a decade. The size of the uterine fibroid reduces more than 30 to 45 percent with UAE, and this procedure has the added benefit of offering faster recovery than traditional open surgery.
The downside of UAE is readmission, as many fibroids are averse to this treatment. Additionally, UAE may not be the best option for women who are looking to get pregnant in the future.
Its best to seek the advice of a professional like Best Gynecologist in Karachi to find the treatment option that works best for you and has the least side effects.