Fibroids. It’s kind of a scary word, and that scariness is amplified when you throw the word ‘tumor’ in the mix. But actually, they’re often nothing to worry about; you can have fibroids and never have a single symptom or issue.
Fibroids are defined as benign growths that develop into a mass either inside or on the surface of the uterus. Symptoms depend on the location and the size of the fibroids, but often women have no symptoms whatsoever.
Dr. Abraham Shashoua says, “Probably the majority of women have fibroids at some point detected in their life. The question is whether they’re being bothered by symptoms of fibroids, because most women even with pretty significant fibroids, don’t have any symptoms. For most women, just observation is the only thing that they need.”
But for Karen Stelmach, the symptoms were causing discomfort, “My boys are water polo players and a swimmer and a diver, so there’s lots of time spent in bleachers. And it would get uncomfortable after a while just sitting in the bleachers, but I never really thought that it was related to anything. I certainly had bloating and I had lots of cramping and I had some back pain, but I guess I didn’t necessarily think that it was fibroids.”
Karen saw a specialist who told her that her best option for relief was a hysterectomy. “I didn’t necessarily want to go that route,” she said. That’s when Karen saw an article about a new non-surgical treatment option: radio frequency ablation. Dr. Shashoua explains,”with radio frequency ablations, we’re not actually removing the fibroid, we’re treating the fibroid and it will shrink. It allows us to direct the energy only to the fibroid, and not treat normal uterine tissue.”
“The number of treatment options that are available has grown exponentially in the last couple years. And really has helped patients who want to avoid hysterectomy be able to do so,” he said.
Check out Karen’s journey below: