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Should You Be Checked for Fibroids?

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Jill Heydenburg of Chicago, at 43, was used to being an active woman. She ate nutritious foods, exercised and usually felt great. But then fatigue set in. She'd go to work and go home and go to bed. And she had intermittent bladder pressure.

Was it an infection? No. Colon problems? She had a colonoscopy, so no again. It turned out to be non-malignant fibroid tumors around her ovaries. This is not uncommon. Up to 80 percent of women develop them but most have no symptoms. Jill was one who did need treatment.

Traditionally women would get a hysterectomy where the ovaries and uterus are removed. It's a big surgery and recovery takes many weeks. For years it has been the most common surgery and there's a good bet you know someone who had it. Of course, your fertility goes away with the surgery too.

But that's not the treatment Jill had. She had robotic surgery for her fibroids that allowed a much less invasive procedure, led to a much quicker recovery and her fertility was preserved.

You can hear more of Jill's story and a clear explanation of the procedure and other options from her doctor from Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Dr. Michelle Luthringshausen, in this program: “Robotic Surgery for Fibroids – What are the Advantages?” found at http://goo.gl/CcMzZ

Fatigue can be a symptom of many conditions. So don't starting worrying that being tired means you have fibroids and need surgery.

But when symptoms like fatigue, pressure and unusual bleeding persist, then make sure fibroids is on the list of what you discuss with your doctor. And, if that turns out to be the cause, you may also want to seek a consultation with a specialist with significant experience in robotic surgery.

About the author: Andrew Schorr is a medical journalist, cancer survivor and founder of Patient Power, a one-of-a-kind company bringing in-depth information to patients with cancer and chronic illness. Audio and video programs, plus transcripts, help patients make informed decisions to support their health in partnership with their medical team.

Patient Power is at www.PatientPower.info and on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Schorr is also the author of “The Web Savvy Patient: An Insider's Guide to Navigating the Internet When Facing Medical Crisis" found at www.websavvypatient.com/


Interview, Michelle Luthringshausen, M.D., Gynecologic surgeon on the medical staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago and assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago. Recorded 11/10/2009 and posted online at http://www.patientpower.info/program/robotic-surgery-for-fibroids-what-are-the-advantages

Uterine fibroids. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Web. Dec 28, 2011.

Reviewed December 28, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.