Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) growths in the muscular wall of the uterus. Growths can be as tiny as a grape or as large as a cantaloupe. Fibroids are common. Between 20 and 40% of women older than 35 years have fibroids. African-American women are at a higher risk of having fibroids.
Heavy bleeding during menstrual periods, pain, pressure, or heaviness in the lower pelvic area, pain during sexual intercourse, a constant urge to urinate, or bloating may be a symptom of uterine fibroids.
Fibroids have a large blood supply that makes them grow. Fibroids will shrink or go away completely if the blood supply is stopped. While medicine can shrink some fibroids, a procedure called uterine fibroid embolization blocks the blood flow to these growths. By blocking blood flow to the fibroids, uterine fibroid embolization in effect “starves” them of the blood they need to grow.
When deprived of blood, the fibroid(s) die, develop into scar tissue, and shrink in size. Symptoms become less bothersome or disappear altogether.