Will I need to have a hysterectomy if I have fibroids?

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Jessica A. Shepherd, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
These days, women do not necessarily need to resort to a hysterectomy if they have fibroids; there are many other treatment options. Watch OB/GYN specialist Jessica Shepherd, MD, discuss connecting with your doctor to find the best option for you.
Rafael J. Perez, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
You do not need to have a hysterectomy if you have uterine fibroids. If you have symptoms, there are many treatment options. Most women who have fibroids are not aware they have them. Therefore, they are considered asymptomatic. If you are asymptomatic, no treatment is needed.  
No. Fibroids are benign (noncancerous) tumors. If they are not causing any symptoms, no treatment is necessary. If they are causing symptoms, and you are not interested in having children, hysterectomy is an option. However, there are a number of safer and less invasive, nonsurgical procedures, which a woman should consider as well. One of these nonsurgical options, uterine fibroid embolization or UFE, should allow her to get the symptom relief she is looking for, without the risks of surgery and the potential side effects of losing her uterus (exs. psychological effects of losing her womb, sexual dysfunction, urinary leaking, etc.). UFE can be performed as an outpatient (i.e. no hospital stay) and she goes home with only a Band-Aid at the entry site. The recovery for UFE is also substantially shorter than the surgical options. Women that are interested in UFE would need to have a consultation with an interventional radiologist. This is the type of doctor that performs this procedure, and these doctors can be found nationwide on the Society of Interventional Radiology website (www.sirweb.org).

Most of the time, fibroids don't cause any problems and don't require any treatment at all. In some cases, though, doctors may need to perform a hysterectomy, which is the surgical removal of the entire uterus. Hysterectomy is the only way to make sure that fibroids don't come back, so many women end up needing a hysterectomy if other treatments aren't successful. In fact, about one of four women who undergo myomectomy (the surgical removal of only the fibroids themselves) end up needing a hysterectomy four to eight years later. Because women aren't able to have children after hysterectomy, this procedure is only used for women who don't want to become pregnant or as an extreme last resort if other treatments don't work.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.