Advice about Fibroids
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Advice about Fibroids
Hello! I recently found out i have a large fibroid and would like to
know who to go see for an opinion on how to proceed... it is painless,
but big. I saw that Ed Blumenstock and Yvette Gentry both deal with
surgical issues with fibroids... any feedback yay or nay?
thank you in advance!
fibroid as big as my uterus
I have seen both Gentry and Blumenstock (Gentry
was my OB and
delivered my son), and after winding up with ongoing complications
from my delivery (pelvic prolapse, etc.), she actually referred me
to Ed Blumenstock,
saying that he is who she would send her family
members to if they needed gynecologic-related surgery.
His specialty is urogynecology, which I don't believe Gentry is
board-certified in(?). I had my appointment with him recently, and
found him extremely knowledgeable and straightforward, with a good
bedside manner. He also took his time to cover my options, and
didn't rush through the exam or office consult.
When I'm ready to have my prolapse repair surgery I'll definitely be
going to him (and I've had 4 opinions now, including Dr. Gentry's).
She also recommended Dr. Kurt Wharton (who has a website if you
google him), but he didn't fall within my insurance so I never
followed up with him. Good luck!
Hi! I had bad fibroids, with some other complications, and
had a hysterectomy done by Dr. Vanessa Chan, Dr. Gentry's
partner. I couldn't be happier with my care. If you want
more info privately, you can email me. l
Hi! I was recently diagnosed with a large fibroid on a pelvic
ultrasound test after my family practitioner thought the uterus
felt funny. Any recommendation for an OB near/around Berkeley
that has dealt with your fibroid issue and was helpful? thank
Jim Nishimine (on Ashby) is fantastic as a consultant and
also as a surgeon (if this is what you will eventually
need). His manner is a little abrupt but as a doctor he is
amazing. I went to him in a similar situation several years
ago. Another equally excellent choice is Amy Huibonhoa (2999
Regent) -- wonderful doctor, wonderful human being. Good luck!
I have increasingly developed (benign) fibroid tumors that have
grown in the last few years. Periods are terrible, frequent
urination, enlarged uterus, etc. My doctor has recommended a
procedure called Fibroid Embolization (in lieu of full blown
hysterectomy.) This involves blocking the arteries that supply
the blood flow to the tumors. I may be somewhat close to
menopause, though I may be in for a few more years of
unpleasantness. Who knows? Anyway, has anyone had this procedure
and if so, can you tell me any pros and cons?
50 and not fabulous
I had a uterine artery embolization a couple of years ago for the exact same
reasons. It worked wonderfully. Periods have been irregular since. One thing
they warn you about is that it can bring on early menopause. I thought it did
until I just got my period a week ago after not having it since January. (I've
had stretches of a few months with no period.)
Long story short, the procedure worked well for me. Mostly pros. One con was
the first week after leaving the hospital. There was pain from not being able
to have a bowel movement for I think three days. That was not a fun
time--painful. However, it was one of the things to expect after the procedure
(I think due to the medication). The biggest pro is not having the awful heavy
periods that lasted a week or longer. No more having to change you-know-what
every 5 minutes. As my doctor said, it wasn't a health issue; it was a quality
of life issue. My quality of life has drastically improved. The only other con
I have had is hormonal. Instead of getting a pimple once a month for a couple
of days, I sometimes may get them everyday for a week or two. I can go months
with none. It's just that the hormones are a bit out of whack.
If you have very heavy periods that last a while, this is a great procedure.
Glad I did it
Looking for an ob/gyn for 2nd opinion on uterine fibroid treatment. It's
asymptomatic except for possible cause of recurrent (2) miscarriages. Would
like someone who sees hysteroscopy as last not first, resort. Thank you!
I have had really good experiences with Dr. Jacoby at the UCSF women's clinic.
I also have fibroids, and have been asymptomatic, except for the possible
cause of two miscarriages. No one ever recommended hysteroscopy to me, so I
can't speak to that, but I did see 2 doctors when I was trying to sort out my
My OB/GYN is Yvette Gentry at East Bay Women's Health, 510.653.0846. The wait
to see her is always annoyingly long, but she treats fibroid issues all the
time. I also saw Arzou Ahsan for a 2nd opinion. 510.845.8047. They gave me
very different advice, which threw me at first, but in the end I was glad to
have the perspective of two doctors.
BTW, I ended up not treating the fibroids, and had a successful (and pretty
uneventful) 3rd pregnancy ... my son is now almost 8 months old. Best of
My doctor (Ob/Gyn Partners for Health) has recommended
laparoscopic hysterectomy because of a large fibroid (16 week
size). I am going through menopause and wonder if any reader
has seen their large fibroid greatly reduced after menopause?
Any insights on keeping or taking out cervix? Things to
consider before going forward?
Reluctant to have surgery
there is a way to reduce fibroids using ultrasound (somehow you
shatter them) which is much less invasive than surgery.
it doesn't work if they are calcified though.
there is info at http://www.uterine-fibroids.org
I can recommend the book:'' What your doctor may NOT tell you
about premenopase'' by John R. Lee, MD and Jesse Hanley, MD
Please get a second opinion. My friend was told the same thing. She
went to another doctor who gave her drugs to shrink the fibroid, and
then had just the fibroid removed, and not a hysterectomy. That was
many years ago. Recently she has had another surgery where they block
the blood vessels to the fibroid to shrink the fibroid. Good luck!
Before you go ahead with the surgery, you may want to consult
with another doctor, or at least do some research online. I've
had fibroids myself, for years. I had a very large one treated
with a non-surgical procedure several years ago that was very
successful. They send a catheter up through an artery in your
groin and send some little pellets in to block the fibroid's
blood supply. I wasn't close to menopause yet when I had that
done. If I had been, I would have just waited, because fibroids
normally start shrinking once you reach menopause. My mother was
pretty miserable with large fibroids and the procedure I used
didn't exist yet when she was my age, so she just waited until
menopause. Hers gradually shrank and are non-existent now. Has
your doctor talked to you about the possibility of just waiting
it out? There's lots of good info on fibroids on the WEB, such
as http://www.coe.ucsf.edu/fibroids/bg_diagnosis.html and
http://www.nuff.org/health.htm. I also read a very helpful book
on the topic called ''Sex, Lies and the Truth about Uterine
Fibroids'' that I think I bought from Amazon. Fibroids are NO
FUN, but there are several different choices when it comes to
doing something about them, so you shouldn't let your doctor push
you into something you're not sure about. Incidentally, I ended
up changing OB/GYNs over this issue. My longtime OB/GYN didn't
like the less intrusive procedure, for some reason, and wanted me
to have surgery. I switched doctors to someone who was more
open-minded. It's been five years now since I had that procedure
done, and it changed my life. Good luck with your decision!
Fellow Fibroid Sufferer
My mom had several large fibroids prior to menopause that she was
adamantly against surgically removing. Her fibroids did not
interfere at all with any organs. The fibroids shrunk either at
or after menopause and she has no remaining issues. My sister
had a fibroid removed in her 20s (maybe the size of a fist). The
surgery only involved removing the growth and nothing else.
If you're heading into menopause, why does your doctor want to do
a hysterectomy for a fibroid? After menopause, fibroids shrink
naturally due to a decline in hormones.
I would definitely get a second opinion. If you can't wait, what
I'm a nurse and I used to work for an acupuncturist and I know
fibroids can be reduced by acupuncture. I don't know what a 16
week size is but you might want to consider talking to an
acupuncturist before having surgery. John Nieters has a call in
program on KEST (1450 am) on Thursday mornings, 8-9 am and you
could call in and ask if acupuncture would help in your case or
check out his website. Best of luck!
I've been dealing with fibroids and excessive menstrual bleeding
for about a year now. My symptoms are extreme and have
seriously affected the quality of my life. I've been working
with a Naturopath Dr., however I'm also considering surgery and
willing to try just about anything right now. My regular doctor
says that the bleeding may or may not be related to my fibroids
and that surgery may or may not reduce my bleeding. I'm looking
for advice from anyone who has experienced these symptoms and
has tried something that works. I'm eager to get my life back.
Seeking Better Quality of Life
I know what you are going through. I had fibroids which caused
horrible cramps, excessive bleeding (where I would ruin clothes
it was so bad) and long periods of 10 days. The first few days
were the worst and often require me to stay home and medicated.
The symptoms got progressively worse over about 18 months.
The only way to treat mine was to remove them so I had a surgery.
Becuase of the location of mine, and desire to get pregnant after
their removal, the only surgery I could do was an abdominal
myomectomy (through the abdomen with an incision identical to a
c-section) which preserves the uterous. Unfortunately it is also
the more painful option with a longer recovery. There are other
surgical methods which I believe are less painful and require
less down time.
If you havent had an ultrasound, I recommend getting one because
this will show the location and size of the fibroids, and give
doctors an indication of which type of surgery to recommend to
After my surgery, the pain and bleeding went away entirely, my
periods went back to normal, and I was pregnant 8 months later.
fibroid free and happy
I had a fibroid last year accompanied by heavy and constant
bleeding as well. There is a helpful Yahoo Group you can join
(uterinefibroids) with an active discussion group. I think you
need to get a new doctor - it's surprising that yours seems so
clueless about what's going on with you - is he/she even an
ob/gyn? Fibroids are easy to diagnose with ultrasound, and easy
to treat with a variety of surgeries. Fibroids don't go away on
their own and can't be treated with diet or excercise. This is
one time when you'll really want to rely on modern/Western
medicine. My doctors at Kaiser were great - Within 2 days of
surgery (vaginal myomectomy in my case) it was as though I had
never had a fibroid. Wishing you better health soon,
I had the same situation a few years ago. I too suffered for
about a year before doing anything about it. I thought I was
going through an early menopause, but then it just got to be too
much! I went to my GYN who was VERY good. Her name is Dr. Angelyn
Thomas. She had me go for an ultrasound that gave a very clear
picture of what was going on in there. She recommended surgery
which she would do. I thought about it for a long time and
decided to do it. In the meantime, though I did a lot of
visualizations and thought about the fibroid moving out of the
uterus by itself and in fact in did, but was still hanging on by
it's stalk (sorry for the graphics!). This was proven by another
ultrasound. I thought about the womb being the center for
creativity and trying to BE more creative. This may seem like
nothing to you, but it was really important for me to this kind
of work at the same time as the thinking about the surgery. When
Dr. Thomas did the surgery I was completely under wi!
th anesthesia and it was over in about an hour. She said it was
pretty easy to take out. She cauterized (like burning the cells)
where the stalk grew out of the uterus so that more wouldn't grow
back. My recovery was fine I took the full three weeks off from
work and my mom came to help out with my daughter and the
housework, etc, but really I was back on my feet in about a week.
I had no stiches or anything because she went in through the
vagina. The anesthesia was the hardest part to recover from. I
had no bleeding afterwards. My periods are so short now, like 3
days of bleeding. I was surprised. Dr. Thomas said I probably had
the fibroid for a while and it was making my periods longer (and
then out of control). It's been about 5 years and I haven't had a
recurance. They are dependant on hormone levels and I have been
working on that in other ways (not birth control pills). I know
you might not have the same situation as me, and I was very
nervous about the surgery and reading all the literature was very time-intensive and
anxiety-producing. If you want to talk about this please contact the mediator who
will give you my email address. If not, just run to your GYN, not
your regular Dr.
glad I went through with the surgery
I had EXTREME bleeding due to fibroids (including 3 week periods
and sudden ''flooding'' without warning) with my hemoglobin count
down to scary levels so that I was on megadoses of iron for
awhile. I had tried estrogen therapy - which didn't do anything
and was debating my options. Doctor felt that fibroids would
definitely grow back if I had surgery and at the end, I decided
to have a hysterectomy. But I was in my early forties and done
with having children and STOPPING THE BLEEDING had become such a
quality of life issue for me that trying alternative therapy was
just not a personal option. Sorry not to be more positive about
alternatives and I've known friends that have tried herbs, etc.
In the end, they've all either chose to live with the bleeding or
ended up with surgery - either to remove the fibroids or have a
I, too, have fibroids. I had one the size of a large
grapefruit/small melon and had very heavy periods for years.
Three years ago, I had Uterine Artery Embolization, a procedure
where they put a catheter up through an artery in your groin
until it reaches the blood source of the fibroid. Then, they
fill that space with some small, sand-like particles to block the
blood flow to the fibroid. It's a pretty non-invasive procedure,
but there's some pretty major pain afterward, while the
fibroid(s) shrink. You have to stay in the hospital overnight,
usually with a morphine drip. Aside from that pain, I can't say
enough good things about the procedure. My fibroids aren't
completely gone, but they're much smaller (golf ball size?). My
periods are normal to light now, my clothes fit, no more iron
supplements. You can read more about UAE and fibroids in general
on this UCSF site, though your doctor should also have talked to
you about it:
Not everyone is a good candidate. You have to have an MRI done
first so they can get a good look at the fibroids. Depending on
how the fibroids are attached to the uterus, you may not be a
good candidate. They prefer to do it for women who aren't too
far from menopause, I think, because in younger women the
fibroids may just grow back again. I was 45 when I had it done.
Mine have grown a bit in the past 3 years, but it's been very
slow. Of course, none of this does you any good if you're not
sure the fibroids are causing the bleeding. Does your doctor
have any other theories about what's causing the heavy bleeding?
If not, perhaps you should see another doctor for a second
UAE worked for me
I didn't see anyone give this response, so I am chipping in my 2 cents. I had
problems with periods getting heavier, and was told I had some fibroids. My gyno
mentioned surgery, but suggested trying an IUD first. He said they lighten periods
for most women, and in some, even stop them entirely. I don't plan to have more
children, and this seemed like a good noninvasive option to try out. Having the IUD
put in was no problem - really just like a pelvic exam, with a tiny amount of
cramping after. For about 6 months, I didn't notice much difference. Then my
periods started getting lighter and lighter, until it was just light spotting every
month. In the last year or so, they have stopped entirely - no cramps, no
bleeding. I have to say, it is absolutely fantastic. I think the IUD stays in for 5
years. Obviously, this is not an option if you are wanting to have kids in the next
5 years, but if you don't, you should talk to your doctor about this alternative.
Not missing it AT ALL!
Have you had a definitive diagnosis of fibroids? Have you had an ultrasound? An
endometrial biopsy? My endometrial cancer presented as heavy menstrual bleeding and
breakthrough bleeding between periods. Since I was relatively young at the time I
started having symptoms, (46) it took a year for it to be diagnosed. Luckily it was
still early enough that the treatment was relatively straight-forward.
I had fibroids that didn't bother me for years, but then produced symptoms that got
gradually worse until I felt crappy a lot of the time (heavy bleeding, shorter
cycle, cramping/aching, uncomfortable sex, anemia, etc.). Turns out there were 7 of
them from orange to walnut size (I could feel them through my abdomen!). I finally
had UEA (uterine artery embolization) 2.5 years ago, as described in another post,
preferable to me because it wasn't as invasive and had quicker recovery time than
surgical removal, and wouldn't put me into menopause as drugs would. The procedure
went fine (and was fascinating--I watched it on the screen!), overnight recovery
was fine, and then a week of unbelievable pain, with the tissue reacting to being
cut off from its blood supply. Took a couple of months to feel normal, and since
then I have felt GREAT. I'm really glad I did it. Turns out I went into menopause
anyway, which usually makes fibroids go away (I was 49 when I had it) but I'm glad
I didn't have to suffer all this time. I had to appeal to my HMO to get approval,
and the bill I saw (but didn't pay myself) shows it's insanely expensive, but less
than surgery, I guess. My radiological surgeon was Stephen Kohn (sp?) at Summit,
who I liked just fine.
Happy after UEA
An ultrasound about 4 months ago, just after my 2nd miscarriage,
revealed 5-6 fibroids. The largest (by far) is about 8 cm on the
outside, and at the top of the uterus. The others are all in the
15mm range, within the uterine lining. Doctor #1 diagnosed the
fibroids, and has suggested surgery to remove them. She noted
that there is no way to know if the fibroids would cause a
problem in a future pregnancy, but given my history, she does not
think its worth the risk to leave them alone.
Doctor #2 tells me that she sees no need for surgery. She noted
that most of the fibroids are quite small, and the only potential
complication she anticipates (degeneration of the large one)
would not really pose a threat to a pregnancy. She did note that
women with fibroids have a slightly higher miscarriage rate, but
Iím already in a more risky group given my history.
My original plan was to have the surgery with Doctor #1, and then
switch to Doctor #2 to get a fresh start on the whole pregnancy
journey. Now Iím just confused. Both doctors seem to agree that
the fibroids did not cause the miscarriages I;ve had. I had some
pain and bladder issues from the fibroid immediately following
the last miscarriage, but that only lasted a week or so; other
than that episode, I have no symptoms. Iím 35, and definitely
want to have a child. On the one hand, I donít want any
additional obstacles in my way, since I have several already.
But, the surgery (which would be my 1st other than the D&Cs after
miscarriages) seems extremely invasive and requires a lot of
recovery time. I donít want to put myself through that unless
its really necessary.
Has anyone been in a similar situation? What choice did you
make, and are you happy with that decision?
Hi -- We have 3 healthy children now and are quite thankful, but
after the birth of our 2nd, I suffered 2 miscarriages in a row --
one at 8 weeks, one at 10+. After the 2nd miscarriage, my OB did
all sorts of testing to figure out why, after 2 normal
pregnancies, I was miscarrying (I was 33-34 at the time). She did
anexploratory surgery via scope and a tiny incision and found a
*tiny* fibroid in my uterus, right where one of the fallopian
tubes enters, which she removed. She said that she could not be
convinced that that was the reason why I kept miscarrying, but
that it could disrupt an egg from implanting into the uterine
wall, so that might be the reason. Two months later, I was
pregnant and carried our 3rd to term! I am convinced that it was
this little fibroid -- she said that anything that disrupts the
smoothness of the uterine wall can prevent implantation, so it
was possibly the factor. BTW, while you have some restrictions
after the surgery, it was well worth it, and not bad at all -- a
blip on the radar screen that was well worth it! Good luck --
I tried to conceive for 10 years and then had fibroid surgery
and conceived after that and carried the baby to term and have a
healthy teenager now. There doesn't seem to be any down side to
having the fibroids taken out. The only thing that I'd suggest
is after you are pregnant, talk with your ob doctor and discuss
having a c-section. I had a c-section because the person who
removed the fibroid said that he did not know if my uterus would
withstand the delivery. He was right because when I had the c-
section I was told that my uterus had started to pull apart.
glad I had the fibroid out
This is a hard decision to make. I had an 8cm fibroid removed
about 10 years ago when I was living in NY. The first OB/GYN I
saw did not encourage the surgery and didn't seem to have much
experience with fibroids or the tests required to figure out
what's going on. The second doc I saw was an OB/GYN and
reproductive endricrinologist. He slowed down, looked at all
the symptoms I was having, did more tests, found other issues,
and dealt with them one at a time. When he did the
hysterosalpingogram to get a better look at what was going on,
he found that the since the fibroid was at the top of my uterus
it was completely closing one of my fallopian tubes and
partially closing the other. This made making the decision for
surgery easier. My myomectomy ended up very complicated and as
a result I had to have both of my sons delivered via c-section.
In the end, I am glad I did it, but again, it isn't an easy
decision. Good Luck!
Fibroids are of three different types depending on where they are
located. The question of whether or not it has the potential to
prevent implantation, and/or interfere with pregnancy, depends on
both the size and the type. There is literature on this, and my
experience is that physicians who is familiar with the literature
will basically say the same thing. However there are borderline
situations where there might be professional opinions that differ
because they just don't know yet what the effect is. I don't know
who your doctors are. For instance if its an IVF doc telling you
that your fibroids will decrease your chance of pregnancy by 40%
and he's going to charge you more because of your condition,
whereas your MD fibroid specialist said that it doesn't effect
anything, that's one situation. More likely you have two docs
with varying experience they're bringing to your case. Check out
the UCSF fibroid center or at least the research they've done
there on this exact situation of how they think fibroids effect
pregnancy and when surgery is needed. Learn what type you have.
Get more feedback on surgery. I have heard quite a few stories
from people who had long rehabilitation times after their not
very minor whatsoever surgery, and if your surgery is not
necessary why go through that?
I am 30 weeks pregnant, and a fibroid of about 4cm was found on
my cervix. I have been told that it is not blocking the birth
canal, but there are concerns about excessive bleeding during
labor and the cervix not dilating properly. If possible I would
like to have a vaginal birth. I was wondering if anyone has
experienced a similar situation and had any advice.
I have at least 7 smallish fibroids (they ''stopped counting'' at 7).
got pregnant at 41
without really trying, though I hadn't used birth control for over a
year. The pregnancy
was fine, and though there were complications at birth, they had
to do with
the fibroids. In the intervening 9 years my periods have gotten
and longer, most likely due to the fibroids. That's been the only
encountered. And that was treated with a shot of Lupron (which I
actually hated being
on, but it did the trick in terms of the bleeding). So if you choose
err on the side of
caution I think you still have a good chance of getting pregnant.
my 2 cents
I am scheduled for a myomectomy on Nov.30. As an active, just
turned 50 local dance teacher, I would appreciate information
on recovery time. How did you feel afterwards, and how long
before your energy level returned? Any speedy recovery advice
would be appreciated. Thanks
I had abdominal myomectomy in May 2003. The doctor has taken
out 1 10cm (grapefruit size)tumor and 6-7 smaller ones. It
took me 6 weeks to get back to my old self. I was in bed for 2
weeks and hardly sitting for another 2 weeks. I started
driving in 4 weeks but did not feel better until after 6
weeks. I am sorry this is not the news you were expecting but
I think myomectomy is a major surgery. Good luck and wishing
speedy recovery to you.
I also had a myomectomy, about 3 years ago. My surgery was performed by Dr.
Donna Wiggins in SF--who did a fantastic job. The scar is barely visible now. After
surgery, I stayed in the hospital for 3 nights. The first night is definitely the worst --
as part of your recovery, the nurses make you turn on your side (alternating sides)
every few hours and that is extremely painful. (My friends who have had C-sections
say it's exactly the same surgery.) After the first day, the pain subsided and when I
was released on the 4th day, I didn't even take any pain meds. I was walking around
with no problem and went on a major vacation a month later. I was a little tired but
that's about it. If you're healthy and in good shape (which is seems like you must be
if you're a dance teacher), you'll be fine. Good luck!
I had a myomectomy about 5 years ago, when I was 39, and had 9
fibroids removed. I found the recovery process quite similar to
the two c/sections I had subsequently. In all 3 cases, I stayed
in the hospital for 2-3 days, then home to rest for about a
week, on pain meds. Within a couple days I could walk around
somewhat, and off all pain medication within about two weeks.
Energy came back gradually, but I think I remember going back
to my (mostly sedentary) job about 10 days-2 weeks after my
myomectomy bcs I felt well enough. (altho I think official
medical advice was for closer to 6 weeks) I can't really recall
how long it took to feel ''normal'', but probably on the order of
several weeks. I think it helps to start walking as soon as you
can post-op, take regular pain medication initially to allow
yourself to keep moving (don't allow pain to get too bad--
also, I found NSAIDs like ibuprofen just as effective as the
narcotic at relieving my pain, and it made me a lot less
woozy), take bowel softeners to ensure you don't get
constipated (I wasn't able to have a BM for a week after my
myomectomy and that became extremely uncomfortable after
awhile). Good luck-- hope all goes well.
fellow myomectomy patient
Hi -- I had a myomectomy when I was 34. At the time, I was
fairly active (rode my bike to work nearly everday). I was told
that 6 weeks recovery time was standard, but I felt fine after
about 2-3 weeks. It would be very helpful to your recovery if
you could have someone take care of you for the first few weeks
so that you could sleep as long as you need. For me, it was my
mom. She cooked and did my laundry, which was incredibly
helpful. You may feel fine right when you are discharged, but
that's the drugs wearing off. Take it easy the first few weeks
and you may feel fine. Good luck!
p.s. try to get a private room at the hospital; it'll make all
I had a myomectomy Aug. 30, 2006 @ Kaiser in Walnut Creek. I
lost a lot of blood during surgery and became anemic as a
result (had to take iron pills). I stayed home from work for 6
weeks - only short walks the 1st couple of weeks, longer walks
and driving the last 4 weeks. NO bending, laundry, vacuuming,
cooking, or picking up anything over 10 pounds. I tired very
easily, but otherwise healed fast and well.
The key for me was in doing EXACTLY what my doctor recommended
and not pushing the envelope like some patients do as far as
moving around, working out, etc. I'm now 2 months postmyo and
back at work and working out, feeling great. Be patient and
don't try to do too much too fast!
Also, you may want to join the uterine fibroids group on Yahoo!
Groups (uterinefibroids[at]yahoogroups.com), where you'll be able
to get recommendations from others with the same condition.
I'm hoping for some perspective on my current dillema. I'm
pregnant with twins. At 23 weeks, one of the twins experienced
fetal demise, so now I've got one living baby, and one deceased
baby to deliver. I also have a 9 cm fibroid that sits in my
uterus, bascially almost on top of my cervix. This wasn't
discovered until my first ultrasound.
On top of all the grief and difficulty of dealing with loss
while hoping for a healthy life, I am now petrified of the
delivery. Because of the position of the fibroid, I will need
a c-section, but today my doctor explained that it will be a
difficult surgery because of the position of the fibroid.
Apparently they cut the uterus down low not simply for
aesthetics, but because it is thinner closer to the cervix in
preparation for birth. Since they cut very near the location
of the fibroid, they have to get ''creative'' with my surgery and
there is a chance of tremendous blood loss.
When I heard this, I just broke down. I have a 4 year old son,
a loving partner and the idea of possibly dying in childbirth
is almost more than I can bear.
I suppose I could get a second opinion about the surgery...but
not sure how that would help. I'm scheduled to deliver at Alta
So, I'm looking for reassurance if you have any.
I don't have any specific advice about your surgery, but I would say: not only get a
second opinion, seek out the best surgeon to do it, don't just stick with your OB.
I'd bet that in the Bay Area, you can find someone who has done this kind of surgery
(more complicated, with a fibroid) many times and is even an expert in it, with a good
reputation. Seek that OB or perinatologist out! As with any specilization, some OBs
are better surgeons than others...
Oh Jenny!!! Poor you! Really, in general Alta Bates is good. I had a massive fibroid
clean out with the incision you are talking about and the recovery was the same as a
regular C- section. Having it at the same time as your delivery? WOW Jenny, I am so
feeling for you. The loss of the twin....oh sweetie!!!! poor you. But, they are so
good at this there at Alta Bates.I don't think you will actually die. But do write a
will and make it all very clear about care for your child.
Can you borrow a walker from someone or get one at the goodwill? It is hard to stand
up afterwards and a geriatric walker helps. You would only use it a couple of days but
it sure makes it easier.
They went in from the belly button and bikini and cervix for mine. 3 entry points. I
had to have IVF afterwards because the fallopian silia can't work after the area has
been routed out.....not the same set of things as you of course, it was sort of one at
a time for me.....fibroid clean out first, then, I did have 2 healthy IVF pregnancies
and C-sections....maybe doing it all once is preferable? The recovery is hard, but
pretty fast. You will be very delecate for a month or so.
Remember to breathe. Just keep breathing in and out. It will calm you down. The nurses
there are great. The food is especially good at Alta Bates....Your hormones will be
You will be so wrapped up in your baby, but your hormones are going to be wild. So,
don't take yourself totally seriously.
ASK FOR HELP. Get someone over to help and ask your moms group to do meals on wheels
for you. People jump at the opportunity to help and it makes them feel good to do it.
I know you won't want people near your baby when it is so little. But do let them help
I have a 4 year old and can help with taking yours to the park etc...if you like......
Your post troubled me, as a twin Mom myself and having a Fibroid removed just before
pregnancy , i feel a 2nd opinion would be a MUST, You should see a Perinatologist, if
your not already...
So sorry for your loss and prayers for your upcoming birth..
gosh, I'm sorry you are in this difficult and scary situation.
I also had fibroids with both of my pregnancies and required c- sections both times. I
think ultimately this actually made everything easier bcs it was all more controlled
and prepared, and also I could better prepare myself psychologically and otherwise. I
did bleed quite a bit the first time,as the Ob cut thru one of the fibroids apparently
in getting the baby out,but I did not require any special treatment nor transfusion--
just a lot of IV fluids and rest, and eventually my blood count came up on its own.
Everything is open and visible during a c- section, so an experienced surgeon can
readily control whatever comes up. During my second c/s, I still had some small
fibroids, but minimal bleeding for whatever reason. (the ob made sure there was blood
previously typed and crossed as needed though, just in case). In both cases, the
babies were just fine. the other thing which I did which helped me was to sit quietly
and meditate as I could during my pregnancy and actively visualize the c-section--
occurring with minimal blood loss, drama, and happy baby. Maybe I will also mention
that I actually had about 10 fibroids removed prior to getting pregnant at all, and
that surgery was the least bloody of all-- so I don't think it's by any means a sure
bet that you are going to bleed a lot during the c-section.
Best of luck to you--
another fibroid mama
First, I'm sorry to hear that one of your twins died in utero, that's got to be
awfully tough to deal with.
I'm not a doctor, but from what I understand, there are a variety of ways to do the
incision. The preferred method is that low, horizontal, ''bikini smile'' incision
these days, but when my mom had me via C section 35 years ago, the standard incision
was vertical, starting right below the belly button.
So there is obviously leeway in where they can place the cut.
Your situation may not be optimum, but that doesn't mean you are doomed to terrible
It sounds like you need to call back your doctor and clarify what he or she meant by
''chances of extreme blood loss.'' Ask if you can bank your own blood (or the blood
of a like-typed
relative) in the event of needing a transfusion during surgery.
If possible, have the doctor give you the stats on the rate of complications of people
who have similar scenarios as yours.
Most of all, ask what the doctor is planning to do to try to AVOID those problems, or
SOLVE them if they do end up occurring.
I would definitely get a second opinion if I were in a very high-risk situation. Good
doctors are not offended by second opinions, and you'll be able to make a
better-informed decision with more information.
Best of luck.
E in Oakland
First of all, I'm very sorry for the situation you are in and I really admire your
courage to face it.
I'm 33 weeks pregnant and I've had some problems with my pregnancy as well even though
much milder than what you are experiencing now.
If you need a second opinion, I really have to recommend my doctor, Dr. Laurie Green
in California Pacific Medical Center who is an amazing professional. She has practiced
OBGYN for more than 25 years and she is dealing with difficult situations with a lost
of expertise, calm and kindness.
I've had a surgery, everything went really well and Dr. Green and her nursing team was
by my side making sure all was fine.
As far as I'm concerned, I have always really felt in good hands with her.
I hope this will be helful to you. I wish you all the best.
I've been told that I have a uterine fibroid the size of a lime
(that's not very big, apparently), and that due to the
placement of it, it may be causing constipation (which I have
noticed). I'm suspicious that it might also be causing the
lower back tailbone-area sharp pain I've been getting more and
more, which is pretty disabling when it happens. I see a lot
on the parents' network about alternative fertility
treatments...but what about treatments besides surgery (my
symptoms aren't bad enough yet for this) for fibroids? I can't
prove that my symptoms are from this thing, but it's a strong
suspicion. I'd love not to have to have the dreaded
ultrasound, since I have the world's smallest bladder, and it's
the ultimate in torture for me. Has anyone out there tried
acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine or any other sort of
treatment, and had good results reducing or eliminating such
I don't know about alt. treatments, as I'm a western-medicine
women's health provider, but I just want to let you know that
you don't have to have a full bladder to have the ultrasound
you need...it's done vaginally so there's no need to have a
full bladder to push the uterus up into the abdomen. You might
get some important answers from it. Good luck.
As I understand, fibroids can come and go.
My Dr. was concerned a while ago because I had a fibroid, she
said, as big as an orange, though I didn't feel it....the next
ultrasound we did, it was gone.
I suggest trying to solve your lower back pain another way and
see if it goes away (do you have a good chiropracator or massage
therapist?). If you can solve it through bodywork, exercise,
posture changes, then it's probably not a result of the fibroid.
How is your diet? Do you drink plenty of water? Eat fresh fruits
and vegies, get lots of fiber? If you do all that and are
constipated, then maybe the fibroid could be the culprit.
Those are the things I'd address first....process of elimination
(no pun intended) and see what you can find out that way....then
maybe you can just live with a fibroid. It's not going to hurt
you as long as it doesn't get too big.
Hi, I know that acupuncture has been able to help many people, but not all,
with uterine fibroids. Also, some dietary changes can support this sort of
acupuncturist I have known and seen for over 10 years has remarkable success:
Pam Heaton, on Park Blvd, 530-9128.
As for the tiny bladder syndrome, I was advised that supersaturating the body
the day before, AS IF you are having the ultrasound that day can prepare your
for the next day event. That means drinking the 48 ounces in 1/2 hour the day
before AND the day of. It worked for me so well that the technician was very
skeptical I had drunk enough.
There are a number of treatments for fibroids. One that is
widely used in Europe is the Mirena IUD, which has a small
amount of hormone. It is now available in the US.
Hmmn. After going through infertility, I had approximately,
um, fifty ultrasounds??? They're really not that bad. Please
don't let a pea-sized bladder scare you with regard to an
ultrasound. I'd get one, so that you can see exactly what's
going on with regard to the pressure. Also, the most effective
way of getting rid of these, as far as I have heard, is
surgery, but chinese meds might work (although it is very big
only had a small one, but have been there
Hi, I had fibroids last year. I did a lot of research on them. I
didn't want to do surgery either. The GYN I went to (Dr. Angelyn
Thomas) was open to alternative treatments which helped me to feel
that I could cover all ground. I went to an Chinese
accupuncturist/herbalist and a wholistic doctor. My main problem
was excessive bleeding, like my periods never stopped at one
point. I had no pain, but was becoming very anemic. I also read
Dr. Christiane Northrup's book, Women's Bodies, Woman's Wisdom--
very enlightening!! I ended up having the surgery, which was very
sucessful and still see the wholistic doctor and herbalist in
order to maintain balance to keep them from coming back. I did a
lot of introspection about issues that came up for me during some
bodywork treatments. I have also changed many aspects of my
lifestyle which were also blocking energy flow. That part of your
body (the uterus) is the center of your creative energy (in every
sense of the word). I just joined a gym, am trying to cut out all
caffine and alcohol, only eat meats and dairy without hormones,
and very little soy products. I trying to do artwork when I am
moved to and not put it off. I have come to terms with having had
only one child (I'm older and now single). And my sex life is more
I think every case may be different. You didn't say if you have
had an ultrasound (not the kind in the doctor's office that you
get when you are pregnant, but at the imaging place-for lack of
what's it's really called). That was very helpful to get a PICTURE
of what was going on in there. I would recommend getting one and
then asking what the surgical options are from your main GYN, also
if she does the surgery. I haven't heard of anyone's fibroids
shrinking, but the ones I had actually dropped out of the uterus
and that made it much easier to operate, but also almost sent me
to the hospital with the bleeding. I made a HUGE effort to regain
the blood and iron levels with vitamins and iron-rich foods. I was
terrified of surgery and the anesthetic, but I made it through and
am glad to be rid of them. If you would like to talk more in-depth
please email me.
I don't have experience with fibroids but am dealing with breast
cancer and the Women's Cancer Resource Center on Telegraph and
57th has a ton of good resources on all sorts of women's health
topics. They sponsor a support group about alternative/
complementary treatments and the group leader is very
knowledgeable and may lead you to the kind of advice you are
I didn't see the original post but have a lot to say about fibroids...When I
was first diagnosed
I got a lot of contradictory information, and finally sorted it out.
First of all, though a lot of people wish they could find a connection to some
source (e.g. birth control pills, diet) I have
not heard of any conclusive ones to anything, a large number of women over
35 have them
and don't even know them for instance. One issue though is where they are,
They can be inside theuterus (i.e. on the lining, where an egg would sit when
fertilized), they can be in the wall of the uterus (inside the wall) or they
can be hanging off of the uterus in the abdominal cavity or where the uterus sits.
The treatments for the 3 can differ, and md's seem to disagree violently about
what is possible and what is not. You can ''scrape'' the ones off of the
interior lining, but the other two types need to come out with more invovled
surgery, either laparascopic or more invasive (revoery time for laparscopic is
about 2 weeks, but they can get out some that are pretty big by basically
chopping them up). Unfortunately the more invasive surgery I believe works
better, otherwise you can miss some that are small and haven't grown yet (or
miss more rather). They tend to recur....
because little ones keep popping up. But for fertility it is good to know
where they are, if they are hanging off of the outside of the uterus they might not
be in the way at all, for instance.
been and still there!
I had an abdominal myomectomy two years ago after two years of
trying alternative treatments. I modified my diet by
eliminating alcohol, most meat and only ate hormone free
dairy. I also took Chinese herbal medicines. These treatments
improved my symptoms of excessive bleeding, pain and anemia but
they did not shrink the fibroids. I wanted to have a child so
my doctor, Richard Rudd recommended a myomectomy. The surgery
was a complete success and I now have a 15 month old daughter
and delivered vaginally. I was astounded at how much better I
felt after the surgery. Fibroids develop over time and you get
used to the symptoms incrementally. I had no idea how much
they were affecting my life until they were gone. The
myomectomy was not anywhere near as painful or scary as I had
anticipated. My doctor is an excellent surgeon and that really
helped me feel more comfortable with the whole process. I wish
I had done the surgery sooner, although I am glad that I did
try other treatments that at least helped my symptoms.
Glad I Had Surgery
i also didn't see the original post or even the follow ups, so
this may be extraneous, but i just came back from a visit with a
friend who has had very successful treatment for her fibroids
(thank goodness). She's been working with an acupuncturist who is
also a massage therapist and apparently also just an amazing
healer. Her fibroids are almost all gone. if you are interested
in getting this woman's information (or the name of the
acupuncturist, who is actually a few hours away from here), feel
free to email me. good luck and blessings.
I need a recommendation for a good male surgeon
gynaecolgist for a laproscopy and fibroid removal,
located preferably in Berkeley and performs his
operations at Alta Bates Hospital.
Richard Rudd (2) East Bay Fertility OB/GYN Medical Group
Hank Streitfeld (2)
Kurt Wharton Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health
I have just been to my gynocologist who recommends that I have a
hysterectomy for my fibroid tumors. I'm hoping to get a second
opinion from someone who will work more with me on finding less
invasive alternatives (but who will be realistic and competent if
surgery does seem to be indicated). Does anyone have
recommendations for a gynocologist in the East Bay?
Also, does anyone have experience with the use of acupuncture in
reducing the pain associated with fibroids?
When I was in my twenties, I had large fibroid tumors. After one
year of acupuncture, ultrasound tests showed that the tumors had
not become smaller. I then had myomectory surgery done by Dr.
Kent Farney in Alameda who at that time was considered the
''miracle'' baby doctor. Tumors are somestimes compared size-wise
to fruit, and I had two grapefruits, an orange and a lemon
removed. Dr. Farney then reconstructed my uterus, and fixed my
ovaries and tubes, all in the same operation. A few months later
I became pregnant and am now the proud mother of a teenager. I'm
in my fifties and the fibroids have come back, but they are not
as large or trou
I had an abdominal myomectomy to remove fibroids in 2001 done
by Dr. Richard Rudd. He is an excellent surgeon and I was very
happy with his straightforward manner. He was never
condescending and answered all of my questions with lots of
detail and information. My surgery was a success and I had a
baby girl this year and have had no reocurrence of the fibroids.
My fibroids were very painful and I had very heavy problematic
bleeding. I did not try acupuncture but I did try many other
alternative treatments in hopes that surgery would not be
necessary. I cut out all hormone containing meat and dairy and
stopped drinking alcohol. These dietary changes alone made a
big difference in my pain but did not affect bleeding. I was
also on birth control pills but this made no difference with
the pain or the bleeding. I went to an osteopath for spinal
manipulation and that helped my pain tremendously. In the end
my fibroids did not stop growing and I decided that surgey was
best allow me to have a child. Once the fibroids were out I
was amazed at how much better I felt. I could not believe I
had put up with that level of pain for so long. Recovery from
surgery was quick and not as painful or scary as I thought. I
can't say whether or not you should get a hysterectomy or not
but haveing my surgery really improved the quality of my life
and I wish I had done it sooner.
Good Luck to you and I hope you get some advice that will
relieve the symptoms. Feel free to contact me if you need more
I feel for you. I just went through a big thing with fibroids
also. I had a lot of bleeding, but not the pain. It went on for
about a year. I wanted to try natural and alternatives methods
including accupuncture and chinese herbs. I went to Dr. Gabriella
Heinsheimer in Albany for most of my treatment (herbs and basic
overall examinations), and also to a great Chinese doctor who does
accupuncture and herbs. She is an older woman who is a teacher of
Chinese medicine as well. It seemed to me that the herbs were the
key for controlling my bleeding. Her name is Dr. Li and her number
is 510 835-1428 on 15th st in Oakland.
I highly recommend getting Dr. Christiane Northrup's book, Women's
Bodies, Women's Wisdom. She talks about our symptoms in a deeper
way to help us get at the root of the matter. I found it to be
really enlightening and helped me to understand myself better on
an emotional level, seeing the body/mind connections.
I also went to a ''regular'' GYN, (Dr. Angelyn Thomas) . She
recommended an ultrasound and was open to me trying anything I
wanted. I did end up having her surgically remove the fibroid
leaving the uterus in tact. She is very professional,
compassionate, straightforward, AND conservative as far as keeping
body parts! I would encourage you to get a second opinion about
the surgery. I know it is all individual, but surgery can be done
to remove the fibroids without removing your uterus. We need
our parts, and fibroids are NOT cancerous.
Good Luck to you!! Email me if you want to talk about it some
I have a great friend who was told she needed a hysterectomy.
She got a second opinion from Dr. Laurie Green in San Francisco
who did not perform a hysterectomy and cured my friend's problem
with a minor procedure. You might want to give her a call.
I asked a friend of mine to reply to this post as she ended up
with an emergency hysterectomy after using alternative
treatments for her fibroid problem. Here is what she wrote:
Well, I did enjoy the acupunture treatments I
received, unfortunately I can't say that I had
positive results. They say that acupuncture can help
if the fibroid is smaller than an egg. Mine was much
larger. I can warn people about putting off surgery.
Fibroids can make your life hell.
Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE) for fibroids
I'm interested in hearing from women who had Uterine Artery Embolization
for uterine fibroids, a relatively newish procedure that involves
cutting off blood supply to the fibroids. I've just been diagnosed
with large and numerous uterine fibroids which have been causing a
lot of irregular bleeding. It seems that they need to be dealt with,
and the three options looks like: myomectomy (surgical removal of
fibroids only), hysterectomy (wahhh! I do not want to do this,
even though at 44 I am reasonably sure I'm done with childbearing)
and UAE. Have you had it? Who was your doctor?
Confused & Nervous
Contact Dr Bruce Lee in Monterey, CA. He's in the phone book. If you can't
find him, let me know and I'll dig it up in my old medical files. I believe he
does this kind of procedure and in fact, may have even pioneered it.
Myomectomy to remove a large fibroid
I'm looking for information from people who have had either a myomectomy or a
hysterectomy to remove a large fibroid. I'm trying to help support a friend who needs to
make this decision, but I don't feel I have enough
(any?) information, not knowing anyone who's "been there". If anyone
would be willing to share their experiences, I'd really appreciate it! Thanks!
I had a moderately large fibroid removed via myomectomy about two years
ago, as part of fertility treatment. Because of its position, the surgeon
needed to go through my abdominal wall (rather than vaginally), which I
understand makes this surgery midway in invasiveness and recovery between
a C-section and a hysterectomy.
I recovered at about the rate the doctor predicted, most of the way in six
weeks, the rest over a few months. This wasn't a lot of fun and required
time off work and lots of sleep. You can't pick anything up (nor do you
want to) for a couple of weeks, and getting out of and into bed is a
challenge. (Hint: bring knees to chest, roll over on to your knees and
exit the bed feet first; reverse these motions to get in bed.) It's
important to have assitance during the first few days at least.
I had one complication; apparently a blood vessel was not sealed off
properly, resulting in a puddle of blood under the skin that broke open
(blood all over the floor!) shortly after I noticed it. Because the
incision opened across a couple of inches, they had to leave the wound
open to heal. This takes longer, you can't really bathe, we had to insist
on nurse visits since my husband was not up to cleaning the wound daily,
etc., otherwise it was more exciting than serious.
What bothers me most is that I have a band of numbness aroung the
incision, which I understand is more common than not and which nobody
mentioned before the surgery. It took awhile to get used to this in an
intimate context. And my stomach is distinctly dimpled (the scar looking
like a creek at the bottom of a valley across my formerly flat tummy).
Otherwise I've had no long-term effects. As part of fertility treatment,
the surgery was less than useless, but it didn't cause me serious damage.
In particular, I've experienced no change in sexuality. Given what I've
heard about hysterectomy, all else being equal, your friend might be
better off with myomectomy.
The best advice I could give for your friend is to make sure to get a
second (and possibly a third) opinion from a physician who is not in
her physician's practice.
I had a myomectomy many years ago for removal of fibroids--which I now
believe was unnecessary (my fibroids were small; my physician was
eager). The myomectomy is the same level of surgery as a hysterectomy
(cutting into the abdomen under general anesthesia, three-day length
of stay in the hospital, many weeks needed for recovery)--so it
shouldn't be done unless absolutely necessary. There are physicians
who believe that mymectomies aren't always clinically indicated
because the fibroids often grow back. Of course, any symptoms of pain
or infertility may warrant surgical attention, but a second opinion is
A hysterectomy always warrants serious deliberation for obvious reasons.
Good luck to your friend.
I had a myomectomy 5 years ago after experiencing 10 years of
intermittent but debilitating pain. It was a life-changing surgery
for me, as I no longer was incapacitated for a week of every month.
My Gyn was [and is] Laura Stachel, with the East Bay ObGyn group on
Regent Street. The surgery was pretty minor - I opted for a spinal
instead of a general anesthesia, which probably made recovery easier
and faster. It was also kinda cool, when Laura brought that monster
of a tumor over to show me. I'd be happy to talk to anyone who might
I had a grapefruit sized fibroid removed in July of 1997 while living in central New
York state. I was first diagnosed at an annual exam with a physician's assistant at
Planned Parenthood (she said, Hmm--could be cancer). I then saw an OB/GYN in town
who said that myomectomy was a bloody, dangerous surgery that often resulted in
hysterectomy (I was 27 years old). She did a hysterosalpingogram (maybe this is how
its spelled) and couldn't really figure out position of the fibroid. She advised waiting,
trying to get pregnant, and seeing if I miscarried. I felt like she had no clue what was
going on, and didn't really know what to tell me.
I finally found a reproductive endriconologist (a type of OB/GYN) who looked at the
whole case from the very beginning, found other things that were wrong and causing
some of my symptoms, did more tests (a much better hysterosalpingogram) to figure
out if the fibroid could be causing problems. I did eventually opt for the surgery
because of the fibroid's position. The surgery lasted over an hour and I spent 3 days in
the hospital. My recovery sped up as soon as I got out of bed and started walking the
halls of the hospital. I took pain killers for the ride home and then was off those too. I
was back to work part-time in three weeks. My main complaint is that I still have
numbness in my lower stomach. Because the surgery involved cutting through all of
the muscle layers of my uterus, my son was delivered in 1998 via c-section.
Basically, I went to three different practices seeking treatment for my fibroid. Two in
the same town, and then one an hour and a half away. The two physicians had
completely different takes on treatment and further tests. Definitely get a second
opinion and if you decide on surgery, make sure you are comfortable with the surgeon's
level of experience. Also, even though I was not trying to get pregnant at the time, the
Repr. Endo. OB/GYN was a fertility specialist. He was very focused on treatment that
would maintain my fertility and keep my organs intact.
My uterus was about 4 times normal size due to one very large fibroid and 8 or so
smaller ones. I was in considerable pain for about one week of every month and I
suffered from many of the side effects of a large uterus (such as small bladder capacity,
etc.). I was very concerned about having surgery (myomectomy), as we very much
wanted to have a vaginal childbirth experience, and the extensive amount of surgery
necessary to remove the anteriorly-located fibroids would probably necessitate a
c-section (if we were ever able to become pregnant). About careful consideration and
research, I opted for a myomectomy under general anesthesia, even though most
physicians would have not performed this extensive surgery on my deformed uterus
and would have recommended a hysterectomy. My OB/GYN (out-of-state) was
wonderful, talented, and very sensitive to my and my husband's hopes of having
children. The surgery was major (apparently my uterus looked like "hamburger"
afterward), but I recovered quickly and returned to work after about two weeks and felt
really good after about a month. (Probably the most uncomfortable part was the drug
treatment before the surgery that induces "menopause" in order to temporarily shrink
the fibroids before the surgery -- the preview of "hot flashes" and vaginal dryness was
quite enlightening.) I felt great after the surgery - it was wonderful to be pain-free
again. Not only that, but we become pregnant only 2 1/2 months later (after trying
unsuccessfully for over 3 years before the surgery). The pregnancy was wonderful and
uneventful. Our healthy boy was born by c-section (the surgical scars and placenta
previa made this necessary). The same physician who did the surgery did the c-section
and said that my uterus looked great. Recovery from the c-section was much, much
easier than from the fibroid surgery (I had a spinal (instead of general) and I requested
TENS, and I don't know if either helped!).
I would say that if the fibroids are not painful or are not the likely cause of infertility,
leave them alone. Many, many women have fibroids that cause no symptoms or
problems whatsoever. My experience with surgical removal was very positive - but this
was probably due to a combination of factors. Good luck with your decision.
I had a successful myomectomy experience with Laura Stachel of the East Bay
Fertility Group in Berkeley in June 1998. I think Dr. Stachel is an excellent
surgeon and she has also undergone similar surgery.
I had been completely asymptomatic but was having trouble conceiving. As part
of my fertility workup, an ultrasound revealed that I had a large fibroid which
was attached to the outside of my uterus. I forget the term for these types of
fibroids, but I understand that they are the easiest to remove.
I obtained 3 other medical opinions about whether or not to have the fibroids
removed and also consulted with a Chinese herbalist. I had been told that
Chinese herbs can be an effective method of shrinking the fibroids, but was told
by the practitioner that the process could take many, many months. I opted
against this method because my clock was ticking and I wanted to get on with the
After considering all of the opinions, I decided in favor of the fibroid surgery since
I was told that there was a significant risk of miscarriage if I were to become
pregnant with the fibroids in place. I also considered having laproscopic surgery,
but ultimately decided not to pursue it because I learned that the recovery time
was not significantly shorter than for abdominal surgery and that laproscopic
removal may not be an option if the fibroid was too large, which wouldn't be
discovered until the surgery was actually done.
The surgery itself was relatively non-eventful and not painful. I opted to have
the surgery done under local anesthesia because I was frightened of general
anesthesia. During the surgery I listened to music on my Walkman and was
administered Versid (sp?), which put me in a pleasant, half-awake state, and
Valium. I felt no pain or pressure during the surgery. I had banked 2 bags of
blood with the Alameda county blood bank, but ended up not needing any.
There was no bleeding or significant discomfort, but the major discomfort came
from gas pressure in my abdomen after the surgery. Some of the nurses were not
knowledgable about how to alleviate the problem. Finally I was told to drink
warm fluids (I had been drinking ice water until them) and to put a heating pad
on my abdomen, which helped. I think I also took Mylicon. I was in the hospital
for 5 days, which seems like a long time, but really isn't when you're knocked out
The recovery period for me took a total of 8 weeks, with the first 2 weeks being the
most difficult. I was in discomfort, but never in real pain. Modern medicine is
very concerned about pain-management, so the doctors and nurses closely
monitored by discomfort level and kept offering more drugs. By about 3-4 weeks
post-surgery I was able to get around, but tired easily.
In retrospect I am very glad I opted for the surgery. It turned out that the fibroid
detected by the ultrasound was larger than indicated by the ultrasound (it was 13
cm). In addition, I had numerous other smaller fibroids that were not seen in the
ultrasound, which were removed by the surgery. The only aftereffects I have are
a little numbness around the incision line and a large scar, which is at the bikini
As a happy coda, I became pregnant the following year and had a perfect
pregnancy and delivery. I had a normal vaginal delivery and no complications
from the surgery.
Although the prospect of major surgery is very daunting, in my experience the
surgery worked out very well for me and was not nearly as bad as I imagined. I
hope it's the same for you.
A few weeks ago in the S.F. Chronicle there was a 3-4 inch long article
about a new technique of cutting off the blood supply of fibroids as a way
to make them shrink. Sounds better than the surgeries we've been reading
Anyone who wants an alternative to myomectomy and hysterectomy - or who has
any other type of chronic reproductive ailment such as endometriosis, etc., - might
want to check out this website:
www.nomorehysterectomies.com. I have done tons of research on fibroids over the
twenty years I've had to deal with them and this is the first time I've heard
anything that made so much sense. Hopefully, the website is up and running -
there were temporary glitches a while ago - if not, keep trying - it's worth it. Also,
Barnes and Noble has the paperback copy of the book "No More Hysterectomies"
by Dr. Vicki Hufnagel, published in 1988. It has loads of information on all kinds
of conditions. It is a greatly informative read and was just what I'd been waiting
for all these years. I hope it is helpful to you as well.
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