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Uterine Fibroids Health Center

More Options to Treat Fibroids

Uterine Fibroid Embolization Offers Quick Relief and Fast Recovery From Fibroid Symptoms
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Doesn't Work for All Women continued...

But many women don't know about "options" says Carla Dionne, founder of the Uterine Fibroid Foundation. Dionne tells WebMD, "I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids when I was 28." She says that surgery was the only option she was offered, but didn't want surgery because she wanted to have more children. She says her fibroids were diagnosed after the birth of her daughter but she went on to have two more children -- all the while suffering more problems caused by fibroids.

For the next 19 years she lived with symptoms that seemed to get worse every month including: backache, urinary incontinence, terrible bleeding, and anemia. "I had all those symptoms," she says.

But in 1999, Dionne's mother sent a note, just the corner of an envelope with the word 'embolization' on it. She says her mother watched a television show that reported research by a University of California, Los Angeles radiologist, Scott Goodwin, MD. "He was treating women with uterine fibroids with embolization," she says.

After some false starts, she finally made contact with Goodwin in last 1999. "I underwent the procedure in December and within two weeks, the urinary frequency had disappeared," she says.

Within a month her anemia was gone and she was working out at the gym five days a week. Her first period was normal in just three months, she says.

A year later Dionne, along with a handful of women she met in an online fibroid support group, founded the UFF, which is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., where she lives.

Yet, as positive as her experience was, Dionne says that she doesn't think UFE is for all women who have fibroid disease. "Many women want surgery," she says. The goal of the foundation is to "educate and support women so that they know the options" and can make truly informed decisions.

In what may be a major advance in educating women, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is softening its stance on UFE. For years, ACOG maintained that UFE was an experimental procedure, but in January it released a new statement that recognizes that embolization "when performed by experienced physicians, appears to provide good short-term relief among appropriate candidates." But ACOG notes that women should first be evaluated by an ob-gyn.

Lipman, who like Vogelzang is a radiologist, says the new statement from ACOG reflects what he sees happening in his practice. "It used to be that most of my patients came to me by reading about the procedure on the internet, now about three-quarters of my patients are referred by gynecologists."

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