Non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids possible now, says doctor

About 37% of Indian women aged between 20 and 40 and 57% of those in the 40-59 age group have fibroids

May 19, 2023 07:03 pm | Updated 08:37 pm IST - CHENNAI

Uterine fibroids can be treated without surgery through a pinhole procedure — uterine artery embolisation. This leaves no scars in the abdomen, has a shorter hospital stay and fast recovery, while preserving the uterus, according to Karthikeyan Damodharan, director, Vascular and Interventional Radiology, MIOT Hospitals.

He was speaking at a webinar on “Non-surgical fibroids treatment” held as a part of The Hindu Wellness Series and presented by MIOT International on Friday.

“Uterine fibroids are lumps that grow on the uterus…These are lumps that occur due to overgrowth of normal uterine tissue and tend to slowly grow in time,” he said. Fibroids mainly occur due to hormonal imbalance and genetic factors.

Fibroids, he said, were common in young women. Statistics show that 37% of Indian women aged between 20 and 40 and 57% of those in the 40-59 age group have fibroids.

Dr. Damodharan said a fair majority of patients do have problems due to fibroids, affecting their physical and emotional health. The main complaint that women come with was disturbances in menstruation, he said. Women could have very heavy flow or passing clots or periods lasting much longer or very painful periods, he said.

Fibroids could grow up to 10 to 15 cm in size, resulting in pressure symptoms — sensation of bloating, lower back pain, urinary urgency, constipation and can be a cause for infertility. The current treatments offered are major surgeries for removing the uterus (hysterectomy) or for removing only the fibroid (myomectomy) and hormone tablets that give temporary relief, he said.

At MIOT, a pinhole procedure — uterine artery embolisation — is done. Under local anaesthesia, a tiny cut is made on the groin and a tube is passed under X-ray guidance into the blood vessel that supplies the uterus. “We push a tiny catheter closer to the artery that supplies the fibroids and inject tiny plastic beads. These beads go along with the blood flow and block the tiny blood vessels that are supplying the fibroids. Once the blood flow is blocked, the fibroids start shrinking in size,” he said.

The procedure required a shorter hospital stay of three days, faster recovery, with patients returning to normal life after five days, he said.

The link for the webinar’s YouTube video is:

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