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    Registered User feline's Avatar
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    Question What's a fibroid?

    I had internal and external ovarian ultrasounds today. I was told that I need a specialist to "interpret" the films and blood tests to confirm whether I have ovarian cysts or not. (I have self-diagnosed and am waiting for the health professionals to catch up). Can't get an appointment until February/March due to the "silly season".
    I was told though that there is are several fibroids and one is extremely large. Can someone please tell me what this means? Does it mean some of my PCOS symptoms are attributable to fibroids? My cycle is regular but terrifyingly and constrainingly heavy. I also have acne, weight gain which is carb-dependant, skin discoloration, skin tags, high bp, need I go on?
    Any info would be appreciated greatly.
    Gabrielle
    Sydney, Australia

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    Google Junkie nobimbo's Avatar
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    Hi Gabrielle,

    A fibroid is a benign growth in the uterus. The heavy bleeding can come from fibroids, but not necessarily. 40% of all women over 40 have fibroids, and in many women they do not cause any symptoms. However, they often can cause symptoms, and those symptoms depend on the type and location. Some women have heavy bleeding, others have bulk symptoms, pressure on the bladder or rectum, or back pain, hip and/or leg pain if the fibroid(s) are pressing against certain nerves.

    Although the other symptoms you mention aren't from fibroids, they do sound indicative of PCOS. Women with PCOS have an increased risk of developing fibroids because of estrogen dominance (estrogen feeds the fibroids). I do want to mention that heavy bleeding can also be from PCOS, if you don't ovulate and tend to miss periods, which leads to increased endometrial lining build up and heavier periods.

    I have a large fibroid which caused horrific bleeding episodes and severe anemia. I opted to have a procedure called Uterine Artery Embolization to shrink my fibroid. It is a somewhat new procedure that is performed by an Interventional Radiologist, not by a gynecologist. It avoids major surgery, and the recuperation time is minimal. Most gynecologists are still pushing hysterectomy or myomectomy (removal of just the fibroids, but they often grow back afterwards). If you are interested in reading about UAE, here are two links for you to peruse. The first link is to a yahoo message board for women who have had or are considering UAE. Be sure to click on the file links on the left of the page for some great info, and you can search the archives for messages as well. The second is a site created by a woman who has had UAE, and it offers the best information I have found on this subject:

    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/embo/

    http://www.hopeforfibroids.org/justthefaqs.html

    If you want more information, please feel free to email me or post here with the questions. Hope this helps.

    Linda
    dx pcos 1984, type II diabetes 2001, also hypertension
    Met 2000mg since 2001, started Glucophage XR 4/22/04, then switched to Met ER 6/04; also: multi, Vit. C, Vit. E, B12/folic acid combo, fish oil & borage oil combo, garlic capsules, cinnamon, Vitex, calcium with magnesium/zinc, biotin, CoQ10, selenium,iron
    Other meds: Verapamil and Altace(for blood pressure)
    Started laser hair removal 7/29/03, completed 3/04 (it works!)
    UAE for fibroid 3/24/03 and 3/16/04

  3. #3
    SoulCyster #1 KatCarney's Avatar
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    Hi Feline...

    Other factors determining your treatment course with fibroids are your age, your health goals, type/size/location of the fibroid...

    Frequently, with middle age women, doctors will take the wait and see approach.

    If you are younger and wish to have children, your doctor may opt for different removal techniques, as some of the newer techniques don't have a track record with keeping fertility intact. (not that they destroy fertility, but there aren't enough cases on the books to make a call one way or the other.)

    There are several wonderful books on the market about fibroids. I highly suggest getting as much info as possible from your MD, and doing lots of research yourself.

    Take care,
    Kat (who has two fibroids - one small, one large)

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    Google Junkie nobimbo's Avatar
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    Concerning pregnancy post UAE:

    Here are the results of a very recent study about this issue. Of course there needs to be more studies about this, and especially comparative studies with myomectomies:

    Pregnancy and Delivery After Fibroid Embolization

    Uterine artery embolization (UAE) has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment alternative to hysterectomy in several large studies involving women with symptomatic fibroids. Even so, none of the initial studies were designed to look at fertility and pregnancy after UAE.

    However, because of the growing number of success stories with UAE, more and more younger women desiring to preserve fertility are choosing to undergo this treatment. While there have been some pregnancies reported, there is very little published medical information on how many women are able to conceive following UAE.

    A report recently presented in Las Vegas at the annual American
    Association of Gynecological Laparoscopists (AAGL; http://www.aagl.com/) involved the largest group of pregnancies
    occurring after UAE (J Am Assoc Gynecol Laparosc. 2003
    Aug;10(3):S27-8). According to this report, women were able to achieve pregnancy but, in general, were described as:

    - older (average 36)

    - diagnosed with extensive, multiple, large fibroids

    - majority (13/21; 62%) had suffered prior miscarriages

    - majority (14/21; 67%) had no prior children

    Of the 24 pregnancies reported (19 identified in the abstract and 5 additional pregnancies announced during the presentation):

    - 2 ended in therapeutic abortions

    - 4 suffered early pregnancy loss

    - 18 resulted in live births

    Most pregnancies were uneventful and healthy full-term babies were delivered. However, three pregnancies involved an abnormal location of the placenta. Two of these women were admitted to the hospital during their third trimester due to hemorrhage related to a placenta covering the opening of the cervix (placenta previa). The third pregnancy involved an enlarged placenta that grew into the muscle wall of the uterus (placenta accreta), making removal of the placenta nearly
    impossible after delivery. The c-section delivery for this patient
    involved a transfusion and required a hysterectomy in order to stop bleeding from the uterus.

    All babies and moms went home in good condition, per the study
    reported. However, because of the abnormal placenta delivery
    complications, it is strongly advised that pregnancies after fibroid
    embolization should be followed closely and managed in birth settings able to handle acute complications.


    Linda
    dx pcos 1984, type II diabetes 2001, also hypertension
    Met 2000mg since 2001, started Glucophage XR 4/22/04, then switched to Met ER 6/04; also: multi, Vit. C, Vit. E, B12/folic acid combo, fish oil & borage oil combo, garlic capsules, cinnamon, Vitex, calcium with magnesium/zinc, biotin, CoQ10, selenium,iron
    Other meds: Verapamil and Altace(for blood pressure)
    Started laser hair removal 7/29/03, completed 3/04 (it works!)
    UAE for fibroid 3/24/03 and 3/16/04

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    Registered User feline's Avatar
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    Default Thankyou for your replie

    Thanks for your replies girls.

    It seems like the road to having a family might be a long and rocky one, given the fibroids, the PCOS which I'm 99 percent sure I have (awaiting blood and urine tests to confirm) and my hubby's low sperm motility.

    At the moment, that's all secondary though to my wish to get my health right so I can live life as a "normal" woman. I'll keep plugging away at it.

    I appreciate the time and effort you have taken in giving me information to follow up on. It's these little things which make my resolve to sort the problems out stronger. It's amazing what knowing that others have been there and understand can do for you.

    Love to all
    Gabrielle

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    Google Junkie nobimbo's Avatar
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    I just want to provide an update on the uterine artery embolization (UAE) I had done last March. I found out on my 6 month MRI, which was in Sept., that although my fibroid and uterus did decrease in volume significantly, my fibroid has found a new blood supply. This meant that it could grow larger once again and cause renewed problems. UAE is successful in 90% of women, and this meant I was in the 10% for whom it failed. The last couple of months my AF has been very heavy for 24-36 hours, and my fibroid is once again causing me much misery. I know of a few women on the yahoo embo board who have had a successful 2nd UAE, and I am considering doing this again in March when I have some time off from work. Supposedly, it is even easier the second time around, and the success rates seem very good on the repeat procedure. My only other options are to "wait and see", since I am 47 and nearing menopause, or hysterectomy, which I am not even considering at this point. My gyn's solution is to give me Depo shots to induce an early menopause, but that is completely out of the question as far as I'm concerned, as I have read all the horror stories about Depo. My hormones are in good shape right now, and I don't want to mess things up there, plus I am working so hard to lose weight and I know what Depo can do in terms of that. I would love to try focused ultrasound, but it is still in clinial trials and none are available here. The location and size of my fibroid make myomectomy out of the question as well.

    Anyway, just wanted to update on my UAE. I still think it is a good option for those with fibroid symptoms wanting to avoid major surgery.

    Linda
    dx pcos 1984, type II diabetes 2001, also hypertension
    Met 2000mg since 2001, started Glucophage XR 4/22/04, then switched to Met ER 6/04; also: multi, Vit. C, Vit. E, B12/folic acid combo, fish oil & borage oil combo, garlic capsules, cinnamon, Vitex, calcium with magnesium/zinc, biotin, CoQ10, selenium,iron
    Other meds: Verapamil and Altace(for blood pressure)
    Started laser hair removal 7/29/03, completed 3/04 (it works!)
    UAE for fibroid 3/24/03 and 3/16/04

  7. #7
    Registered User feline's Avatar
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    Smile Thanks for the info

    I went to the GP this morning and she has referred me to an obstetrician who will have a look at my films and proceed from there as far as the fibroid is concerned.

    I hope to find a PCOS sympathetic person when I get there. My GP seems reluctant to diagnose, as I have a regular cycle. Seems she needs my body to be completely screwed before all the other symptoms mean anything.

    Good luck with the second procedure nobimbo. I hope this sorts it all out for you. Thanks for the time and effort you've put into replying to me.

    Regards
    Gabrielle

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