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Fibroids treatment warning

19th October 2009

Doctors in the UK have warned that a commonly used treatment for fibroids can cause miscarriage, caesarean delivery and bleeding in subsequent pregnancies.

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Researchers at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital examined the results of 215 pregnancies which occurred after uterine artery embolisation (UAE) treatment.

UAE has been carried out in the UK as a treatment for fibroids for nearly 15 years. It involves using a gel to restrict the delivery of blood to the womb, which causes the fibroids to shrink.

Fibroids are benign growths of the layers of muscle and tissue surrounding the uterus. They can cause heavy periods and affect fertility, resulting in the need for treatment.

Around 40% of women of child-bearing age have fibroids, according to the researchers. They looked at data gathered from the results of five studies from Canada, the Czech Republic and the UK.

The researchers saw that the danger of miscarriage following UAE was 35%, compared with 10-15% in women who had not been given the treatment.

Post-birth bleeding occurred in 14% of women who had UAE, in comparison to only 5%.

Ertan Saridogan, who headed the research team, said: "We do not offer it as a first-time treatment, but, for some women, surgery and other treatments do not work. We want to increase awareness of the pitfalls of this widespread procedure."

"I hope this will inform women before they make their decisions, so they can make an informed choice - they've been going at it blindly without realising what it might imply for their future pregnancies."

 

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