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Advice about Fibroids

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Health & Medical > ObGyns > Advice about Fibroids


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Fibroids- Dr Ed Blumenstock or Dr Yvette Gentry?

Oct 2011

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! C


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

OB for fibroid consultation?

Oct 2011

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 you! feeling confused


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! anon

Uterine Fibroids - Embolization

Nov 2009

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


ob/gyn for 2nd opinion on uterine fibroid treatment

Sept 2009

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! ak


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 treatment options.

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 luck. Anon


Ob/Gyn recommends laparoscopic hysterectomy for large fibroid

Nov 2008

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 anon
I can recommend the book:'' What your doctor may NOT tell you about premenopase'' by John R. Lee, MD and Jesse Hanley, MD anon
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! j.
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. ASP
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 about embolization? http://womenshealth.about.com/cs/fibroidtumors/a/uterfibartembol.htm Patient
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! Eloise

Fibroids & excessive menstrual bleeding

June 2008

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 you.

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, Michelle
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 hysterectomy. totally anonynous
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: http://www.ucsf.edu/fibroids/bg_diagnosis.html

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 opinion. 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. anon
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

Fibroid surgery -- yes or no?

Dec 2007

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? Thanks. anon


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! sd_b
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? anon

Cervical Fibroid during Pregnancy

Nov 2007

Hello, 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. Thanks!!! Anon


I have at least 7 smallish fibroids (they ''stopped counting'' at 7). I 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 nothing to do with the fibroids. In the intervening 9 years my periods have gotten progressively heavier and longer, most likely due to the fibroids. That's been the only problem I 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 to err on the side of caution I think you still have a good chance of getting pregnant. my 2 cents

Recovery for a myomectomy?

Oct 2006

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


Hi, 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. Suna akm
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! laura
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 the difference Cheryl
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. Mari


Fibroid during pregnancy

April 2006

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 Bates.

So, I'm looking for reassurance if you have any.

Thanks. Jenny


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 surging. 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 YOU

. I have a 4 year old and can help with taking yours to the park etc...if you like...... AD


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.. Deb
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 complications, either.

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. Nathalie


Uterine fibroid - alternate treatments

Oct 2003

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 fibroids? anonymous sufferer


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. Good luck. June
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 care. The 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 body 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. Nori Hudson
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. anonymous
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 for that.) Good luck. 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 active!

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. Good Luck! anon


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 seeking. Best, Margi
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 uterine 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. Good Luck 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. s

Male surgeon for laproscopy and fibroid removal

June 2003

Hi, 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. Thank you A

Recommendations received:

  • Richard Rudd (2) East Bay Fertility OB/GYN Medical Group
  • Hank Streitfeld (2)
  • Angelyn Thomas
  • Kurt Wharton Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health

    Acupuncture for fibroids?

    March 2003

    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? thanks! LO


    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 ANON
    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 information. Julie


    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 more. nadja


    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. R.L.
    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. Terry


    Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE) for fibroids

    February 2003

    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. linda

    Myomectomy to remove a large fibroid

    March 2001

    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 definately warranted.

    A hysterectomy always warrants serious deliberation for obvious reasons. Good luck to your friend. Linda


    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 have questions. Jean
    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 fertility treatments.

    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 after surgery.

    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 line.

    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 about here.
    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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