Fibroid Tumors: What Every Woman Must Know
Diagnosed with fibroids? Three experts help WebMD explore your treatment options.
Treatment Options: What You Should Know continued...
"I believe many women are conceding to a hysterectomy for fibroid tumors because they are led to believe it's the only solution -- and that is wrong," says Bartsich.
At the same time, Goldstein says it's also important to recognize that not all hysterectomies are alike. In particular, he says the newest form of this operation (called a supra cervical hysterectomy) could still hold the answer for some women. Why?
"In a supra cervical hysterectomy you remove only the uterine cavity holding the fibroids and you do not touch the tubes, ovaries, cervix, or vagina, or any of the support muscles in the bladder or pelvis," says Goldstein. This, he says, means you don't suffer any of the consequences linked to a traditional hysterectomy, including bladder and sexual dysfunction, or instant menopause.
Recovery is also fast. Most women are out of the hospital in two days and back to normal living within two weeks. It's also a permanent treatment for fibroids that can bring much-needed relief.
Says Goldstein: "My personal choice is to always do as little treatment as possible; but at the same time, women should not routinely close their ears when the doctor mentions hysterectomy, because this one particular type can be extremely helpful and cause no more problems than some of the newer alternatives."
That said, it's also important that you know all your options. To this end, WebMD asked our panel of experts to help us prepare the following guide -- a look at some of the alternative treatments for fibroid tumors. Though not every option will be right for every woman, the experts we consulted unanimously agreed that for each woman, there is frequently one or more alternatives to a hysterectomy.
Option 1: Myomectomy Fibroid Surgery
What it does: Removes only the fibroid tumors, leaving the uterus and all other organs completely intact.
How It's Done: The three major approaches include traditional surgery with a large incision on the abdomen, minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery done through pin hole-sized incisions, and, depending on the site of the fibroid, some can be done through hysteroscopy, a surgery done through the vagina.
What It Accomplishes: Removes the fibroid tumor and offers relief for up to several years, after which time fibroids can sometimes grow back.
Best Suited for: Women who have fibroid tumors but wish to preserve their fertility.