Vivien Williams: Many women have uterine fibroids.
Erica Knavel Koespel, M.D., Radiology: Uterine fibroids are benign, non-cancerous tumors that form within the uterus from an overgrowth of connective tissue and smooth muscle. They are actually very common within women who are usually premenopausal.
Vivien Williams: Dr. Erica Knavel Koespel says symptoms include heavy bleeding, anemia, difficulty emptying the bladder and pelvic pain or pressure.
Erica Knavel Koespel, M.D.: We do have a variety of options to help us treat uterine fibroids.
Vivien Williams: Treatments range from medication to surgery. One less invasive option is uterine artery embolization. Doctors access the fibroids via catheters inserted through a small artery in the groin or wrist. Once there, they fill the fibroid with contrast to make sure they are in the right spot. Then they deliver small particles that plug up the tiny arteries feeding the fibroids.
Erica Knavel Koespel, M.D.: Once these tiny arteries are cut-off or plugged up, the blood supply to the fibroid is gone and the fibroid shrinks.
Vivien Williams: For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I am Vivian Williams.