Many women who suffer from uterine fibroids expect them to disappear as menopause approaches. And while estrogen levels do decrease significantly during this time of life, a lot of women with fibroids continue to experience symptoms.
As they approach menopause, many women wonder: does menopause cure fibroids?
Unfortunately, the answer is no.
Estrogen Levels During Perimenopause
Perimenopause is the transitional state between normal female fertility and menopause. This period of life typically occurs in a woman’s mid-to-late 40s and can last anywhere from a few months to several years. Symptoms of perimenopause are similar to those of regular menopause, but women still have a menstrual cycle during this time.
Perimenopause can produce drastic dips and spikes in the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These fluctuations can influence the severity of a woman’s fibroid symptoms, leading to heavy periods, increased abdominal pain, bladder and bowel issues, backaches, constipation, and frequent urination.
Many women with fibroid symptoms are encouraged to avoid treatment if they are approaching menopause. However, depending on the size and location of a woman’s fibroids, the estrogen spikes during perimenopause may make treatment a necessity.
Additionally, because perimenopause typically lasts around seven years, avoiding treatment can mean years of increasing discomfort and other negative side effects.
Hormone Replacement Therapy and Fibroids
The approach of menopause causes a decrease in female hormones and subsequent symptoms that many women find disruptive and unbearable. Lack of female hormones can also cause bone loss, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
Hormone therapy, which replaces the missing estrogen and progesterone, can help ease some of the unpleasant symptoms of menopause and prevent bone loss.
Unfortunately, the hormones in HRT can also cause existing fibroids to grow or bleed in some women. This typically happens in the first two years of HRT therapy and levels off afterward.
Many women opt to seek treatment for their fibroids during this time, since fertility and childbearing are no longer concerns, and they have more treatment options.
Treatment for Uterine Fibroids
The Fibroid Center at Georgia Vascular Institute is dedicated to helping women find effective treatments for their fibroid symptoms. Whether you are in perimenopause or menopause, we offer treatments that are minimally invasive and carries few risks.
Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that has a success rate of over 90%. The procedure works by shrinking uterine fibroids through cutting off their blood supply. During the procedure, an interventional radiologist uses fluoroscopy to guide a catheter to the blood vessels supplying uterine fibroids. He or she then injects those blood vessels with embolic agents. Over the coming months, the fibroids typically shrink significantly, and symptoms are either reduced or completely eliminated.
Other treatment options for fibroids include radiofrequency ablation, hysteroscopic myomectomy and endometrial ablation.
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive, uterus-sparing procedure that destroys fibroid tissue using radiofrequency energy. Endometrial ablation is also minimally invasive, but uses heat to destroy the uterine wall and lining.
Hysteroscopic myomectomy removes fibroid tissue from the uterus without damaging healthy uterine tissue. The procedure does require local anesthesia plus a sedative or general anesthesia and is best for women who want to have children after fibroid treatment.
Another option for fibroid removal is hysterectomy–the total surgical removal of the uterus. Heavy bleeding, caused by fibroids, is among the most common reasons women choose a hysterectomy.
Fibroid Treatment at Georgia Vascular Institute
Are you suffering from uterine fibroids? The Fibroid Center at Georgia Vascular Institute can help you find treatment options.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.