Women’s Health

Women's Care Services

Surgery was, historically, the only treatment available for many women’s health concerns, but today interventional radiologists are able to help women avoid open procedures by offering minimally invasive therapies.

The interventional radiologists at MedStar Harbor Hospital are able to treat two common women’s health issues:

What are Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths in the uterine that often appear in women between the ages of 25 to 45. Twenty to 40 percent of women over the age of 35 have uterine fibroids and up to 80 percent of African American women have them.

uterine fibroid treatment

Many women who have fibroids don't have any symptoms. In those that do, symptoms can be influenced by the location, size and number of fibroids. In women who have symptoms, the most common symptoms of uterine fibroids include:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Menstrual periods lasting more than a week
  • Pelvic pressure or pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Constipation
  • Backache or leg pains

What are the Treatments for Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are frequently found incidentally during a routine pelvic exam. Uterine fibroids are the most frequent indication for hysterectomy in premenopausal women. For many women, there is a non-surgical alternative called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).

UFE is a minimally invasive procedure that provides significant relief of symptoms caused by uterine fibroids. During the procedure, the doctor will use a catheter to inject small particles into the uterine arteries, which supply blood to your fibroids and uterus. The goal is to block the fibroid blood vessels, causing the fibroids to shrink and die.

What is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?

Another common problem for women is chronic pelvic pain, which approximately one-third of all women will experience in their lifetimes. The pain is sometimes due to hard-to-detect varicose veins in the pelvic area, known as pelvic congestion syndrome.

Pelvic congestion syndrome typically causes pain across the entire pelvic area. Common symptoms include:

  • Severe and steady pain as well as intermittent pain
  • Sharp pains or cramping
  • Pain or heaviness deep within your pelvis
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain while having a bowel movement or urinating
  • Pain when you sit for long periods of time

Interventional radiologists can seal the abnormal veins using embolization, again with a minimally invasive procedure performed as an outpatient.

What are the Treatments for Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?

Pelvic congestion syndrome can be treated with embolization. Ovarian vein embolization is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure in which interventional radiologists are able to seal the abnormal veins. With imaging guidance, a catheter is placed to close off faulty veins so they can no longer enlarge with blood, thus relieving pain. Embolization is a highly effective way of controlling bleeding and is much less invasive than open surgery.

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