An Alternative Treatment for Fibroids Your Gynecologist Won't Tell You About

When my gynecologist suspected that I had fibroids and that I would need a hysterectomy at some point, I started fainting. I'm that way. The thought of being cut open makes me woozy and I start going down. After the nurse put a cold cloth on my head and some juice I started feeling better.

I had been having long heavy periods for the past few years. The periods became heavier over a long period of time so gradually that I got used to it, though I did recall at one time my periods were rather light. What brought me in finally was a really bad cough that made it hard for me to hold in my pee when I coughed. I was worried that my coughing threw something out of whack, a fairly unlikely scenario since I'm in good shape especially in my stomach region. The gynecologist didn't know for certain that I had fibroids, no one else had ever felt them before. Of course, it could've been a cancerous mass, but she didn't downplayed that probably to prevent me from fainting again.

She scheduled me for an ultrasound, but said the hysterectomy would get rid of everything. If I were to get a total hysterectomy, I wouldn't have to worry about uterine or ovarian cancer and those periods would be long gone. She had done several before and this would help her complete the remodel on her house. I asked about other alternatives - myomectomy and cryosurgery. To her, both of these would end up with my having a hysterectomy. I remember that Condoleeza Rice (Bush II's Secretary of State) had an alternative treatment. My doctor mentioned briefly that there is such a thing as Uterine Fibroid Embolization, but that there are a ton of complications and she wouldn't be able to do it, but a radiologist would. She also said that it wouldn't work well, and she (or someone else) would end up doing the hysterectomy anyway.

I drove home from my doctor's office scared and angry. If the worst happened - cancer, I would get a hysterectomy, but she would not be the one doing it. I really didn't want to get a hysterectomy, especially a total hysterectomy. I remembered that my doctor said that she usually starts the surgery intending just to take out what's necessary, but then realizes that it's easier for her to take out everything. That frightened me. This is major surgery. True, she had done well over a hundred of these, but she wasn't nimble fingered enough to take out only what was needed?

Of course, there were complications with myomectomy, cryosurgery and uterine fibroid embolization. However, with a hysterectomy, the recovery time is up to 8 weeks, and depending on how much is taken out, your vagina could be shortened, the sutures could come undone, and your other organs fill in the space where the uterus had been. The uterus was what helped keep your bladder and colon apart, and now they're right on top of each other. This seemed like cutting off a leg over a broken toe. "Well, at least the toe doesn't hurt anymore." Of course, if I had cancer then I would do what was needed to save my life, but removing an organ and then some just to have lighter or no periods? Drastic. Plus, I'll be honest, I'm a sexual person and I have terrific birth control (IUD), I didn't want all those natural hormones taken away that fuel my sex drive.

The more I thought about this the angrier I got thinking about the gynecologist. She said hysterectomies were really easy to do, just snip and snap and her record was stellar. Symptoms? Sure, there are symptoms, but hey, you won't have a period anymore if you have a total hysterectomy.

I was relieved to find out that I had fibroids, non-cancerous. One was the size of a tennis ball, the other a golf ball. I'm a very small person, so that's probably what gave my stomach some of its girth (although I hid it pretty well).

A friend of mine also had fibroids. She told me her doctor went over all the symptoms and wasn't the cut happy jerk my doctor was. She said based on what her doctor told her, she was going through with the hysterectomy. I asked my friend if her doctor went over alternatives. She said she did, but since the doctor didn't perform them, she couldn't stand by the results. My friend said she felt comfortable about what her doctor told her and she decided on a hysterectomy. She was approaching menopause and "didn't need her uterus anymore." I told my friend I wish I had had her gynecologist. I was wrong. Mine was the best gynecologist ever.


Here's what happened. My friend and I both had fibroids. My friend went through a total hysterectomy. Prior to the hysterectomy, my friend ran marathons. After the hysterectomy, the 2 month recovery wasn't long enough. While my friend is in terrific shape, she still has trouble walking up stairs.

My gynecologist made me so angry that her flippant attitude made me seek alternatives. I ended up going against my gynecologist's advice and underwent Uterine Fibroid Embolization by a Interventional Radiologist instead. Of course, my fibroids were suited for this procedure, and not every type of fibroid is. Like any other procedure, I could get an infection, sometimes fatal (rare with this procdure, much more common with a hysterectomy) and I could become infertile if the substance from the UFE went to my ovaries instead of my fibroids. This procedure doesn't remove the fibroids, but shrinks them. If your fibroid is already huge (cantaloupe) or outside the uterus, this procedure is unlikely to help. I might also lose fertility, although at my age, I don't need fertility, just a sex drive. I was well aware that at some point, one of my fibroids could fall into my uterus and cause a great deal of pain and I would need a D & C. This was something my gynecologist warned me about. She also said she'd probably end up doing a total hysterectomy since things always seem to go in that direction. I made a note never to see that gynecologist again, of course.

My procedure lasted 45 minutes (it can sometimes last up to 2 hours) in which the IR put a catheter up my femoral artery and shot microscopic globules into the veins leading to my fibroids. I had significant cramping and wasn't allowed to walk up the stairs for 5 days. However, after that time, I felt normal. I had spotting every now and then and until now, my periods were irregular or non-existent. There was a two week period in which I had severe cramping, but since then, the fullness in my belly is gone and my periods are short, and light. I'm also not peeing every time I cough. Part of the reason why I'm writing this is that last year at this time, I was coughing and peeing. Now, I'm just coughing.

So, before you let your gynecologist convince about how easy a hysterectomy is, find out more about other procedures. UFE or other treatments might not be right for you. A hysterectomy might be the only thing that solves your problem. Yet, do some research first. A hysterectomy is major surgery for YOU, even if it's a cut and a snip for your surgeon. The impact of not having an organ that has been in you since before you were born has an impact on the other organs in the pelvic area, not to mention the natural hormones that stir normal sexual desire and overall contentment.

Condoleeza Rice underwent UFE in 2004 when she was 50 years old.

FYI, technically, it's not surgery.
sweetbutterbiscuit sweetbutterbiscuit
41-45, F
Dec 15, 2012