BENGALURU: Fibroids are a very common problem in Indian women. They are benign tumours arising from the uterus, which means there is no worry of any cancer in them.
Therefore, there is no need of any unnecessary surgery for fibroids of the uterus. Some reports suggest around 30-40 per cent of Indian women suffer from fibroids of the uterus.
It causes excessive bleeding during the monthly cycles and sometimes causes painful periods.
If the fibroids are very large, they can cause problems with urination, constipation and even severe backache. Some women seeking to get pregnant might also suffer from primary or secondary infertility.
Once a woman is diagnosed with fibroids in her uterus she must take an opinion from an Interventional Radiologist (IR) and check, if she is suitable for a non-surgical cure for her fibroids called Uterine Fibroid embolization (UFE) or Uterine Artery Embolisation (UAE).
This is best done by getting a contrast-enhanced MRI scan of the pelvis which is reviewed by the Interventional Radiologist.
The MRI scan will confirm the presence of fibroids which is extremely important as ultrasound is operator dependent and prone to some errors.
MRI scan also confirms the exact number and location of fibroids much better than any ultrasound scan and more importantly clearly shows the blood supply to all the fibroids.
Based on these findings it is noted that nearly 90 per cent of women with fibroids will be suitable for fibroid embolisation.
An interventional Radiologist (IR) is the best specialist doctor trained and legally bound to do these procedures. As of today, it is heartening to know that this procedure can be done in most hospitals in India.
The procedure itself is non-surgical where in the blood supply to the fibroids is blocked by placing a small catheter into the arteries supplying the fibroids under the guidance of a special X-ray machine. The procedure is relatively painless and done under the effect of local anaesthesia and mild sedation with the help of an anaesthetist.
The patient requires just one day stay in the hospital after the procedure in majority of the cases. The procedure is very effective as more than 90 per cent of women get permanent relief from their symptoms.
Also, based on personal experience, more than 95 per cent of them can prevent themselves from any form of surgery for their uterine fibroids.
It is also noted that UFE or UAE is a very good option for patients seeking to retain their uterus for future pregnancy if required.
There are many reports including data from some government organisations that unnecessary surgeries are done for the uterus and if they are done for fibroids it’s important for all women to be aware that they have a very good non-surgical option for the treatment of their symptomatic fibroids.
It is almost reasonable to say that no women should have any surgery for her uterine fibroids without an opinion from an Interventional Radiologist (IR).
The author is director, Interventional Radiology and Interventional Oncology, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital