Healthwise: Treating Fibroids

By: Cheryn Stone Email
By: Cheryn Stone Email

June 9, 2010

There's a new effort in Charlottesville to inform women about a condition they may not realize they have.

Dr. Pradeep Rajagopalan says one in two women will develop uterine fibroids, or benign tumors of the uterine muscle.

A smaller percentage of those women will develop symptoms depending on the size and location of the growth.

"Most of the symptoms occur during the menstrual cycle," Rajagopalan said. "That's when they seem to flare up. The most common symptoms we see are definitely excessive bleeding, pain and pressure."

Next week at a free briefing, you can learn more from Rajagopalan with no appointment necessary. The seminar will be on June 16 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Martha Jefferson Outpatient Care Center on Pantops.

"We wanted to raise community awareness," Rajagopalan said.

Rajagopalan said there are ways to relieve the painful symptoms, which range from anti-inflammatory drugs, which is likely a temporary fix, to hysterectomy, a major surgery to remove the uterus.

"Most of the women we see are busy," Rajagopalan said. "They have active lifestyles, they are working. They are definitely looking for things that will be effective, but that they will be able to get back to work in a shorter period of time."

Rajagopalan also discussed a less invasive option, uterine fibroid embolization, or UFE.

"[It] involves making a small nick in the skin in the groin, putting a catheter in the artery," Rajagopalan said. "Then, we inject these tiny particles into the artery, and it blocks the blood flow, causing the fibroids to shrink."

The cause of fibroids isn't known, but it could be hormonal. Risk increases with age. With the chances being one out of two, it makes sense to be part of the conversation.

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