What Women Can Do About Fibroids

ByABC News via GMA logo
January 25, 2007, 9:01 AM

Jan. 25, 2007 — -- A new study reported in today's New England Journal of Medicine offers hope of an alternative treatment for fibroid tumors.

On "Good Morning America," ABC's medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, explained the study about treatments for women suffering from fibroids.

Fibroids are benign tumors of the uterus. One estimate says that about 30 percent of all women over the age of 30 develop them at some point in their life. Fibroids can cause a lot of problems: pain, bleeding, urinary tract problems -- and they're very uncomfortable.

There are two choices for treatment. One is surgery to remove the fibroids or the entire uterus. The second option is the type of treatment that was involved in the new research study -- embolization, or bead treatment. With this treatment, little beads are injected into the arteries that supply blood to the uterus, which cause the fibroids to shrink or die.

The study suggests that both treatments can work, but the bead procedure is much more tolerable, and the women who undergo it spend less time in the hospital.

One thing to keep in mind is that fibroids typically go away after menopause, so that may be something women should take into consideration if they're reaching that point in their life. But in general, women who suffer from fibroids should get a second or third opinion, and decide what to do based on information from their physicians about the two treatment options.