Myths and Facts About Fibroids and Endometriosis After Menopause

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: November 17, 2015

Contributed by Dr. Natalya Danilyants- Red Hot Mamas Medical Expert

Uncovered: The Truth About GYN Surgery (Revealing Gaps In GYN Knowledge)

Too many women have been told that fibroids will go away after menopause, or that pain from endometriosis will disappear. Unfortunately, that’s misleading.

Fibroid Myth: If They Aren’t Bothering You, You Don’t Need To Do Anything

In some women, fibroids may shrink a little and cause fewer symptoms, but for many women, they continue to be problematic. Even without monthly cycles, depending on the location of the fibroid or fibroids, they can cause difficulty going to the bathroom, pain in the lower back, and some bleeding may continue to occur.

The earlier fibroids are detected, the better it is for the patient to consider having a myomectomy, if she is still interested in fertility. The problem with the watch and wait method used by many doctors (i.e., if the fibroids aren’t causing you any difficulty, you don’t need to do anything) is that they can continue to grow and become more troublesome, and also become harder to remove. What that means is that when the patient finally needs surgery, or sadly has trouble getting pregnant or keeping a pregnancy, recovery from surgery can be more intense. It is always better for the patient to have laparoscopic surgery to remove fibroids early.

While some reduction in size can happen after menopause, and especially for large fibroids, it will not shrink down to nothing. The reduction in size for a 10 CM fibroid will not even be half of its size or weight. Complicating matters, over time fibroids can calcify, making them harder to remove laparoscopically. So while the goal may have been to retain the uterus or avoid surgery, in order to remove these large fibroids that are now hard, larger incisions or a hysterectomy may be required. For most patients, that is the opposite of what they were trying to achieve.

Endometriosis Myth: Intense Period Pain is Normal and Goes Away After Menopause

Endometriosis is a condition where cells from the uterine lining grow outside of the uterus. Endometrial tissue acts the same whether they it is in the uterus or not. That means it swells, sheds and bleeds. The uterine lining leaves the body through the vaginal opening each month during the menstrual cycle. Endometriosis tissue has no pathway to leave the body. Trapped, it can become inflamed causing severe menstrual pain. From the inflammation, pelvic adhesions can form between organs or on the ureter or the bowel causing pelvic pain and can create difficulty going to the bathroom or pain during sex.

After menopause, the active lesions of endometriosis go away. However, pelvic pain can continue due to scarring or adhesions that formed over years of endometriosis. These adhesions may need to be surgically removed to alleviate pelvic pain that can continue well into menopause. Resection or excision of pelvic adhesions can be done laparoscopically by a fellowship trained GYN specialist. It is essential that these adhesions are removed by a skilled surgeon to avoid additional adhesions from forming.

Understanding The Gaps In GYN Knowledge

There are common myths about GYN conditions and surgery that make choosing the best treatment even more complicated. In a new survey, more than half of women are in the dark about their conditions and the surgical options available to them. To help combat these myths and help them understand advancements in minimally invasive GYN surgery, The Center for Innovative GYN Care at innovativegyn.com has launched an advocacy campaign: Uncovered: The Truth About GYN Surgery.

“We want women to ask questions and seek second opinions when it comes to GYN conditions,” said Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD. “There are advanced minimally invasive GYN surgical techniques that provide a better outcome for the patient. Recovery times are faster, and there is less pain. Women should be aware of all of their options, and most importantly they should know all of the questions that they should ask when meeting with a doctor. Bridging the knowledge gap is essential for getting the best possible care.”

GYNSurgeryInfo.org is a one stop shop for GYN conditions, procedures and new advances in minimally invasive surgery. Dr. Danilyants has been speaking to radio stations across the United States and the theme has been consistent. Everyone either has or knows someone who has suffered with a GYN condition, and many have had open invasive or robotic procedures that were painful or not thorough.

A recent call-in show in Baltimore focused on fibroids and LAAM (a minimally invasive myomectomy procedure developed by CIGC). Urban Health Beat on WEAA-FM highlighted some additional myths from callers. Believing these myths can delay women getting necessary treatment, which is no longer necessary. Listen to the Urban Health Beat podcast.

Dr. Natalya Danilyants is a minimally invasive surgical specialist and the Co-founder of The Center for Innovative GYN Care at innovativegyn.com.

 

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