New Delhi: If you are a middle-aged woman experiencing annoying periods and painful sexual intercourse, the reason could be a certain F word - fibroids. But the good news now is you may not have to remove the uterus.
A new and simple method which reduces the fibroids without removing the uterus is proving to be a boon for women.
"Fibroids are the most prevalent cause for removing the uterus in India," says Parul Garg, an intraventional radiologist working with major hospitals like Kailash Hospital in Noida and Pushpanjali Crosslay in Ghaziabad.
Uterine leiomyomas, or fibroids, are the most common non-cancerous tumours that develop in women. They cause heavy bleeding and prolonged pain.
"Usually, there are two treatments for fibroids, first is removal of uterus, which is done only if the woman has completed her family. This is however not a good option as it leads to menopausal symptoms in women, affecting their day-to-day life.
"The second option is to remove the fibroids, but only one or two can be removed and the relief is temporary," Garg said.
The new method, known as Uterine Fibroid Embolisation, cuts the blood supply on which the fibroids breed.
"A needle is inserted in the vein supplying blood to the fibroid. The blood supply is then blocked using polyalcohol vinyl. The blocking is done under local anesthesia," she adds.
This method has come up as a preferred option for those women who don`t want to lose their uterus.
Soma Sharma, 35, became tense when a tumour, weighing almost one-and-a-half kilograms, developed in her uterus.
"The tumour was as big as a five-month-old baby. It affected my movement and led to heavy bleeding," says Sharma.
She opted for the new method and was pretty pleased with her decision.
"I have one child, but removing the uterus would have meant closing the option (of another child) all together. Life is so uncertain, I did not want that. This was the best option," Sharma said.
However, Garg adds that it is preferred that women complete their family before the blockage treatment is done.
"The results on future productivity are not yet proven, although pregnancies have occurred in 50 percent cases after the blockage is done," she says.
Not removing the uterus is a preferred option also for those who don`t want more children as it is safer and has lesser side effects.
"Even for women who don`t want more children, removal of the uterus leads to a complicated social and marital life. Once the uterus is removed, the ovaries also stop functioning, which leads to menopausal symptoms like fatigue, depression and hormonal change before age," she adds.
According to reports, around 20 to 40 percent of women aged 35 and above have uterine fibroids.