Uterine fibroids affect nearly 50% of the female population of the United States. It generally affects women in their 30s and 40s, sometimes shrinking or going away on their own after a woman reaches menopause. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with uterine fibroids (or their medical cousin, ovarian cysts) there can be a lot of confusing medical jargon surrounding your diagnosis. Here is a guide to some key terms used about treatments for uterine fibroids.
Uterine fibroid- a tumor initiated in the uterus that is not malignant or cancerous.
Ovarian cyst- hollows inside the ovaries that fill with fluid as part of the monthly ovulation process.
Subserosal fibroids- fibroids found under the outer layer of the womb.
Intramural fibroids- located inside the uterine wall.
Submucous fibroids- located inside the actual cavity of the uterus.
Hysterectomy– surgical removal of a woman’s uterus. Currently one of the most common treatments for uterine fibroids, though the drawback is eliminating the chances of having children (or more children, depending).
MR guided focused ultrasound- a newer fibroid tumor treatment that focuses heat directly on the fibroid via ultrasound, heating it up to 185 degrees until it dies. Of the uterine fibroid treatment options, this one is non-invasive and an outpatient procedure. It also leaves the uterus intact.
Radiofrequency ablation-another term for the method of removal of uterine fibroids mentioned above.
Endometrial ablation- removal or destruction of the uterine lining in order to control heavy bleeding associated with fibroids. It is generally an outpatient procedure, but not one for women who would like to conceive after.
Myectomy- A uterine fibroid surgery that aims to remove fibroids without removing any healthy tissue inside the uterus. This uterus fibroids treatment is generally preferred for women who would still like to have children, though it can cause complications in natural childbirth and result in a C-section.
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