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What are fibroids?

Women can develop fibroids in the uterus for a number of reasons, researchers haven’t identified a single definite cause but genetics (a family history of fibroids), diet, hormone imbalances and lifestyle can be contributory factors. They occur when cells from the uterus grow into tumours. The tumours can be as small as a peanut or as large as an orange. Although they are not cancerous (benign) and often have no symptoms, sometimes they cause painful periods and very heavy periods.

Some of the more common symptoms associated with fibroids:

Heavy and painful menstrual cycles

A lower abdominal mass

Frequent or difficult in passing urine

Bloating and abdominal pain

Painful sex

Constipation

Backache

Fibroids develop in the smooth muscle layer of the uterus called the myometrium. They’re more common than most people realise. Almost 4 in 10 women are thought to have fibroids and symtoms usually appear in your 30’s and 40’s although we do see very large fibroids in much younger women particularly in those of African descent.

How do i know that i have fibroids?

You may be suffering from some of the symptoms and suspect that you may have fibroids. The diagnosis of fibroids is made by a medical imaging test (an ultrasound or an MRI). The medical imaging is usually performed by a gynaecologist or a radiologist.

How can fibroids be treated?

Most women with symptomatic fibroids are advised to have a hysterectomy. There is however an alternative treatment which keeps the uterus intact and is much less invasive. It’s called Uterine Fibroid Embolisation. During this treatment the fibroids are isolated from their blood supply and so they are unable to cause the unwanted symptoms. The uterine muscle and ovaries are preserved. This procedure is scientifically accredited and is internationally recognised as a safe and permanent solution.

What is Uterine Fibroid Embolisation

Step 1

A tiny tube is placed in the radial artery of the wrist which is advanced into the blood vessels that supply the uterus

Step 2

Tiny particles are injected through the tube into the small arteries that supply the fibroids. The particles starve the fibroids of their nutrient and oxygen supply. The particles causes the fibroids to die.

Step 3

The fibroids shrink as they die. The effect on bleeding is instantaneous and period pains improve with the very next cycle.

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