Uterine artery embolization typically provides significant relief of symptoms. It also affects your menstrual period and it may have an impact on fertility.
- 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 may continue on its normal schedule. If you miss any periods, they will probably resume within a few months.
A small number of women 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.
But, 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.
June 14, 2016
- Uterine fibroids. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Uterine-Fibroids. Accessed March 30, 2016.
- Gupta JK, et al. Uterine artery embolization for symptomatic uterine fibroids. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005073.pub4/full. Accessed March 30, 2016.
- Stewart EA. Uterine fibroids. New England Journal of Medicine. 2015;372:1646.
- Ducksoo K, et al. Uterine leiomyoma (fibroid) embolization. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 30, 2016.
- Spies JB, et al. Uterine fibroid embolization. In: Image-guided Interventions. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 30, 2016.
- Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). Radiological Society of North America. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=ufe. Accessed March 30, 2016.
- Hammond N, et al. Uterine artery embolization. In: Gynecologic Imaging: Expert Radiology Series. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 30, 2016.
- Stewart EA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 6, 2016.
Uterine artery embolization