Yvonne from Lincoln
I was first made aware of having a fibroid problem after going to the practice nurse for a routine smear test. After examination my GP sent me to the gynaecologist. After examination by the gynaecologist I was informed that I had multiple fibroids and would be put on the waiting list for a hysterectomy. I said I didn't want a hysterectomy, as the only problem I was aware of was my stomach was extended, but I had none of the symptoms - bad periods, very heavy bleeding during and in between the monthly cycle, no spotting between cycles. Looking back I realise that I did go to the loo more often than I do now and experienced lower backache more, but they were more of an inconvenience than a problem. The gynaecologist said, as I didn't want any more children (Being 52 years old that wasn't even a consideration) there wasn't any options, the only other procedure was for younger women who were going to have children. I was then advised to go home and think about it, as I would be approximately 18 months on the waiting list.
I went home knowing that I did not want an operation that would in effect mutilate me, as they were talking of taking away my ovaries and everything whilst they were in there as a preventative measure of ovarian cancer.
I have a very good GP but he did not know of any alternative procedures.
Then my friend brought me an article from the Daily Mail women's page on fibroid embolisation with the website address for Dr Cowan and a Dr in Cambridge. With the help of a work colleague (as I didn't have access to a computer at that time) we searched the website for further information. A lot of information came up from America, which was not relevant here, but we found Dr Cowan's information and armed with this I went back to my GP. He was very interested as he had not heard of this procedure and was willing to put me forward as long as he could get funding from the PCT'.
Well we got the funding and off I went to see Dr Cowan. After having a MRI scan making sure the fibroids were not in any awkward to get at place, Dr Cowan said yes. I had got approx 20 Fibroids with one just above my pubic bone being equal in size to 14-week pregnancy!
The actual procedure was no problem. It was about an hour later that the pains/cramps began. They were very bad period pains. I was given pain killers but the worst thing was having to keep the right leg and groin straight and still for hours because when you have the cramps all you want to do is curl up and hug a hot water bottle. But you couldn't even have the comfort of a hot water bottle till things settle down.
I did stay in over night, but a lot of people don't and went home the next day with instructions to take things easy for a few days.
As it turned out I was longer than the two to four weeks anticipated because I suffered pelvic and lower abdomen pain but after scans there was nothing that could be found to be associated with the procedure. I was, at a very later date diagnosed by my local hospital surgeon as having inflammation of the pubic bone. It did eventually ease off and go away but it was gradual over a period 13 to 14 months The consultant and Dr Cowan said it was nothing to do with the procedure.
I think the operation is far better than an invasive hysterectomy and would advice anyone being diagnosed for hysterectomy to push for information.
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Our Survey and Guidelines
Thanks to all who took part in our survey about the information and choices for their fibroid treatment. Please click here for the Patient Information and Choice Survey report and here for our report on access to UFE treatment with The Medical Technology Group and All Party Parliamentary Group on Improving Patient Access to Medical Technologies.
You MUST be offered an alternative to hysterectomy. Download the quick reference guide to the NICE guidelines.
Please download a guide for patients – Improving Your NHS: What you can Expect