Uterine artery embolization typically provides significant relief of symptoms. It also affects your menstrual period and it may have an impact on fertility.
June 04, 2013
- Symptom relief. Most women get significant symptom relief in the first three months after treatment. In addition, some research shows that five years after treatment uterine artery embolization continues to reduce symptoms such as heavy bleeding, urinary incontinence and abdominal enlargement in most women. These results appear to be comparable to that of myomectomy, in which the fibroids are surgically removed and the uterus repaired.
- Menstruation. Your menstrual period will probably resume within a few months. A small number of women, however, enter menopause after the procedure. The risk appears highest among women age 45 and older.
- Impact on fertility. Although the risk of entering menopause after the procedure is low, subtle ovarian damage may make getting pregnant more difficult. There also may be an increased risk of pregnancy complications, especially involving abnormal placement or attachment of the placenta. Despite these risks, many women have had successful pregnancies after uterine artery embolization. However, more long-term, larger studies are needed to determine the impact of uterine artery embolization on fertility and pregnancy — and the risks of uterine artery embolization must also be compared with the risks of surgery.
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- Bouwsma EVA, et al. Comparing focused ultrasound and uterine artery embolization for uterine fibroids — Rational and design of the fibroid interventions: Reducing symptoms today and tomorrow (FIRSTT) trial. Fertility and Sterility. 2011;96:704.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Gynecology. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 96. Alternatives to hysterectomy in the management of leiomyomas. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=13318. Accessed April 23, 2013.
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- Vander Kooij SM, et al. Uterine artery embolization versus surgery in the treatment of symptomatic fibroids: A systematic review and metaanalysis. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2011;206:e1.