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Relief from Uterine Fibroids

Glenda Best is dedicated to her job as a social worker with Albemarle County, where she helps mothers find affordable day care options.

But two years ago, uterine fibroids started affecting her work. Best, 47, was missing time from her job because of her symptoms.

Glenda Best had uterine fibroid treatment at UVA.

She knew she needed to get treatment. Her doctor suggested she have a hysterectomy, or surgical removal of the uterus. Hysterectomy is the most commonly recommended treatment for uterine fibroids, but it’s not the only option, says Alan Matsumoto, MD, a UVA interventional radiologist who specializes in treating uterine fibroids.

Other Treatment Options

Best says she felt like a hysterectomy was a “drastic” solution for her. She talked to a woman at her church and found out about an alternative to hysterectomy – uterine fibroid embolization.

“We were just talking about female stuff and she’d had the same problem. She told me to go to Dr. Matsumoto,” says Best.

One reason hysterectomy is still the main treatment for uterine fibroids, says Matsumoto, is because a lot of women are unaware of the other available treatment options, or because the technology is not available in their communities as it is here at UVA. “Hysterectomy is major surgery. These newer treatment options are less invasive and provide the patient another potential choice,” he says.

Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that destroys the fibroids by blocking their blood flow. It has been performed for more than a decade at UVA, says Dr. Matsumoto. Most women can return to work and other activities in one to two weeks after this procedure.

Back to Normal

Best was a little nervous about the procedure at first, but the knowledge of UVA’s care team helped her relax, she says.

“The staff listened to me and the room was comfortable,” she says. “I stayed over just one night and then I went home. Dr. Matsumoto’s nurse [Dot Cage, RN, ACNP] was sweet and caring. I felt like I could ask her anything. She called me at home to check up on me.”

Two years of heavy bleeding, pain and inconvenience were gone for Best after the procedure. “I am back to normal,” she says.

Learn more about treatment options for women with uterine fibroids.

When to Seek Treatment

When fibroids grow large enough, they can cause discomfort or other symptoms. Rest assured, very few fibroids ever become cancerous. Treatment is only necessary when symptoms become troublesome. Symptoms include:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Pelvic pressure or pelvic pain
  • Spotting or bleeding between periods
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder or constipation
  • Back or leg pain
  • Bloating or pelvic fullness

UVA offers advanced treatment options by doctors who specialize in uterine fibroid treatment.

Call 434.243.4744 to talk to a nurse who will explain your treatment options.