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Myomectomy vs. Hysterectomy: The Differences and the Benefits

Roughly 30% of women develop fibroids by age 35, and these noncancerous growths affect nearly 80% of women by age 50. Not all women with fibroids have symptoms, but women who do may experience heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain. 

At Capital Women’s Care, we understand that fibroids can cause symptoms that are severe enough to interfere with our patients’ daily lives. We’d like to share some information about fibroids, as well as hysterectomy and myomectomy, which are two treatment options for fibroids.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are muscular tumors that grow in or on the uterine wall. Fibroids often appear in groups and look solid upon examination. In many cases, fibroids cause no symptoms. In fact, many women with fibroids are unaware they have them.

Sometimes fibroids can cause a wide range of issues, from back and abdominal pain to heavy menstrual bleeding. Fibroids that grow large can cause a woman’s stomach to look bloated and may make it difficult to get pregnant. The tumors can also press against the bladder, causing urinary problems, such as frequent urination.

Risk factors for fibroids

The exact cause of fibroids is unknown. However, there are factors that may raise the likelihood of developing fibroids. Fibroids are more common as you age, and African-American women have a higher risk of developing fibroids than women of other ethnic backgrounds.

Diet and weight are the major controllable risk factors for fibroids. Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of fibroids. Cutting back your intake of red meat and consuming plenty of leafy greens and other green vegetables helps lower the risk of fibroids.

Obesity is a risk factor for fibroids, too, as the risk of fibroids increases as body mass index (BMI) rises.

Hysterectomy

Surgery may be the best way to treat fibroids that cause moderate-to-severe symptoms. Hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus. This is the only treatment that provides a complete cure for fibroids.

We may recommend a hysterectomy if you have large fibroids or fibroids that cause significant symptoms. During a hysterectomy your doctor removes all or part of the uterus. 

For most women with fibroids, it isn’t necessary to remove the ovaries. After a hysterectomy, your ovaries continue producing hormones that protect bone density and help manage cholesterol, among other things.

Myomectomy

Myomectomy is a surgical procedure to remove fibroids while leaving healthy uterine tissue intact. Your OB/GYN may recommend a myomectomy if you wish to have children or want to preserve your uterus for other reasons. 

Myomectomy may not be an option if you have very large fibroids. After a comprehensive evaluation, we help you choose the most appropriate option.

Choosing the best fibroid treatment

Optimal fibroid treatment depends on your symptoms and other factors. The ability to have children in the future is the primary benefit of myomectomy, whereas hysterectomy provides a complete cure. Roughly 80-90% of women who choose myomectomy get relief from their symptoms. However, it is possible to develop new fibroids after a myomectomy. Up to one-third of women will grow new fibroids and may require a repeat myomectomy.

Because the uterus is removed during a hysterectomy, there’s no ability for fibroids to regrow. Hysterectomy is beneficial for women who want a complete cure and are done having children.

You don’t have to live with fibroid symptoms. We’ve discussed two common treatments to help you get relief. When you visit us at Capital Women’s Care, your doctor discusses myomectomy and hysterectomy in further detail to help you choose the treatment that’s right for you. 

For more information and to schedule a visit with Dr. Andrea Williams, Dr. Sandra Caskie, Dr. Michele Berkeley, or Dr. Alexis Light, call one of our offices in Arlington or McLean, Virginia, to speak with a team member. Or you can request an appointment using our online scheduling tool right now.

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