Women’s Quality of Life Reduced by Fibroids

Health Minute

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.

The American Journal of Obstetrics and GynecologyOff Site Icon recently published a study that states up to 80 percent of women older than 50 are affected by uterine fibroid tumors. However, many of those women don’t seek treatment.

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors in the uterus that can cause significant pain and excessive bleeding. They can have a significant impact on a woman’s quality of life. 

While many procedures are available to help treat the issues these tumors cause, the study found that many women are too worried about the possibility of needing a hysterectomy and how treatments could affect their job and sexual function.

Dayton OB-Gyn’s Michael Thesing, MD, said he agreed with the study because he has seen women delay treatment for uterine fibroids because of their fear of the unknown.

“A lot of patients who come to me may have gone into the emergency room and were diagnosed with fibroid tumors, but still have concerns and questions, such as ‘Are these cancerous?’,” said Dr. Thesing, who practices with Premier Physician Network. “They also have a fear about their health, their body image and what possible treatment might mean to their day-to-day quality of life.”

The need for a hysterectomy is one main concern women have, he said.

Uterine fibroids and abnormal bleeding are the leading cause of hysterectomy in the U.S., and they account for almost half of the 600,000 hysterectomies nationwide each year, according to the study.

A hysterectomy includes the permanent removal of the uterus, which prevents fibroids from reoccurring. However, removing the uterus also means a loss of reproductive potential and side effects, including early menopause, urination disorders and defecation disorders. But a hysterectomy isn’t the only care option for uterine fibroids, and Dr. Thesing said early diagnosis and care can be the best opportunity to get to choose a variety of less-invasive treatment options.

In January, Dr. Thesing helped Carol Shearer through her concerns about treating her fibroid tumors. She had been diagnosed nine years earlier when she was 40 and had put off treatment because she was concerned about how it would affect her job as a self-employed massage therapist.

By the time Shearer visited Dr. Thesing, she had suffered significant blood loss that lasted up to three weeks at a time and caused her to go to the emergency room for a blood transfusion.

In Shearer’s case, a total hysterectomy wasn’t necessary. She was able to choose a treatment method that has a short recovery time to get her back to work quickly.

Dr. Thesing used a procedure called Myosure, which removed fibroids with a small telescope inserted through the cervix into the uterine cavity. He conducted a thermal ablation to treat the endometrium and prevent future bleeding.

Within days, Shearer’s bleeding was drastically reduced, and she was able to return to work. “Technology is an amazing thing. My life is so different now,” she said.

Women are becoming more informed about their options, Dr. Thesing said. His hope is that increased education and new treatment options – including medication and minimally-invasive procedures – will encourage more women to seek treatment for this common and treatable condition.

“Women need to know there is hope for their condition and that fibroids do not have to dictate their quality of life,” Dr. Thesing said. “The sooner they are able to been seen, the quicker they can receive relief.”

To learn more about uterine fibroids, talk with your physician.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.