Women' Health & Uterine Fibroids

The Midwest Institute for Minimally Invasive Therapies (MIMIT) provides world class health care combined with minimally invasive therapies provided by our leading healthcare providers, doctors, physicians and surgeons. Along with our industry-leading health care, we focus on our patients "living their best life" with healthy lifestyle strategies including nutrition, exercise and wellness solutions.


About Uterine Fibroids

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Who is at Risk for Fibroids

Approximately 20-40% of women 35 years and older have fibroid tumors. Fibroids are more common among women of African-American descent. Some statistics indicate that up to 80% of African-American women will develop uterine fibroids. Find out if you are at risk for uterine fibroids.

If you have fibroids you have options. While some women do not experience any of the symptoms of fibroids, the location and size of fibroid tumors can cause symptoms that can affect a woman’s quality of life. Take a look at the treatment options available.

Fibroids are hormonally sensitive so symptoms are likely to be cyclical, like menstruation. As estrogen levels tend to increase prior to the onset of menopause, this may cause the size of many uterine fibroids to increase along with the symptoms. During menopause the levels of estrogen decrease dramatically, causing fibroids to shrink. However, women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during menopause may not experience any symptom relief because the estrogen contained in this regime may cause fibroid tumors to enlarge and symptoms to return.

Talk with our fibroid specialists about treating your symptoms like heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and urinary incontinence. Call MIMIT Health at (708) 486-2600.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization

If you've been diagnosed with fibroid tumors, you may be deciding what treatment is best for you. Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive treatment that is a great option to relieve your fibroid symptoms.

Determining when to get treatment for fibroids, either before, during, or after pregnancy, is a common question many women have. 

Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) Right for Me?

You may be a candidate for uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), also known as uterine artery embolization (UAE), if you fit into any of the following categories:

  • Women who are experiencing the symptoms of uterine fibroids
  • Women who do not desire future fertility
  • Women who want to retain their uterus and are looking for alternatives to hysterectomy
  • Women who do not desire surgery
  • Women who may be poor surgical candidates; e.g. obesity, bleeding disorders, anemia
  • Women who are not pregnant

UFE and Fertility

When researching and reviewing alternatives to hysterectomy procedures and the other fibroid treatment options available, it is important to understand how different treatments can affect you and your lifestyle. If you decide on uterine artery embolization, also known as uterine fibroid embolization, becoming pregnant in the future can be extremely difficult.

While uterine artery embolization is an effective treatment for uterine fibroids, the effects that it has on the ability to become pregnant, on the development of the fetus, and the ability to carry the fetus to term have not been determined. There are some reports of women becoming pregnant after the uterine artery embolization procedure and having successful pregnancies. However, there is no conclusive data or scientific results that establish the safety of uterine fibroid embolization on fertility and pregnancy. Therefore, before choosing this fibroid treatment, it is very important that you understand the potential inability to conceive in the future. Next step is to discuss with your physician how best to treat your uterine fibroids.

Talk with our fibroid specialists about treating your symptoms like heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and urinary incontinence. Call MIMIT Health at (708) 486-2600.

Fibroid Types

Uterine Fibroids are classified according to their location.

There are four primary types of fibroids:

  • SUBSEROSAL
  • INTRAMURAL
  • SUBMUCOSAL
  • PEDUNCULATED

Subserosal Fibroids

Subserosal fibroids typically develop on the outer uterine wall. This type of fibroid tumor can continue to grow outward increasing in size. The growth of a subserosal fibroid tumor will put additional pressure on the surrounding organs. Therefore, symptoms of subserosal fibroid tumors usually do not include abnormal or excessive menstrual bleeding or interfere with a women’s typical menstrual flow. These fibroid tumors instead cause pelvic pain and pressure. Depending on the severity and the location of the fibroids other complications can accompany this pain and pressure.

Intramural Fibroids

Intramural fibroid tumors typically develop within the uterine wall and expand from there. These uterine fibroids are the most common. When an intramural fibroid tumor expands, it tends to make the uterus feel larger than normal, which can sometimes be mistaken for pregnancy or weight gain. This type of fibroid tumor can also cause “bulk symptoms”. As these fibroids grow, they can cause excessive menstrual bleeding, which can cause prolonged menstrual cycles and clot passing and pelvic pain. This happens from the additional pressure placed on surrounding organs by the growth of the fibroids which consequently can cause frequent urination and pressure.

Submucosal Fibroids

The least common of the various types of fibroid tumors are submucosal fibroids. These fibroids develop just under the lining of the uterine cavity. Large submucosal fibroid tumors may increase the size of the uterus cavity, and can block the fallopian tubes which can cause complications with fertility. Some fibroid tumors don’t produce any symptoms at all, while others can be severely symptomatic.

Associated symptoms with submucosal fibroids include very heavy, excessive menstrual bleeding and prolonged menstruation. These symptoms can also cause the passing of clots, and frequent soiling which can take its toll on your everyday lifestyle. Untreated, prolonged or excessive bleeding can cause more complicated problems such as anemia and/or fatigue, which could potentially lead to a future need for blood transfusions.

Pedunculated Fibroids

Pedunculated uterine fibroids occur when a fibroid tumor grows on a stalk. A fibroid growing into the cavity of the uterus is said to be a pedunculated submucosal fibroid. A fibroid growing from the outside of the uterus into the pelvis is considered a pedunculated subserosal fibroid. Symptoms associated with pedunculated fibroid tumors include pain and pressure as the fibroids can sometimes twist on the stalk.

A woman may have one or all of these types of fibroids. It is common for a woman to have multiple fibroid tumors and it may be difficult to understand which fibroid is causing your symptoms. Because fibroid tumors can be multiple and can be spread out in the uterus, there are usually more fibroids present than can be detected because of their small size. Even a woman who has only one visible fibroid needs to consider that there may be multiple uterine fibroids present when discussing therapy. Uterine fibroids may also be referred to as myoma, leiomyoma, leiomyomata, and fibromyoma.

Talk with our fibroid specialists about treating your symptoms like heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and urinary incontinence. Call MIMIT Health at (708) 486-2600.

Who Is at Risk?

Uterine fibroids are the most common tumors within the female reproductive system, so all women are at a potential risk of developing them.

  • The majority of uterine fibroids are diagnosed and treated in women between the ages of 35 and 54. However, fibroids can and do occur in women under the age of 35, even as young as the early 20′s.
  • Studies demonstrate the prevalence of fibroids in 20-40% of women older than 35 years of age(1).
  • Multiple lines of evidence suggest that uterine fibroids have a disproportional effect on African-American women. African-American women have a higher cumulative risk of uterine fibroids(2), a threefold greater incidence and relative risk of fibroids(3)(4), and an earlier age of onset(5).
  • Most clinicians believe that shrinking of fibroids will occur when a woman goes through menopause.

During your annual gynecological examination your doctor will perform a vaginal exam and check the size of your uterus. If it feels enlarged, your doctor may prescribe an ultrasound, which can confirm the presence, location and size of fibroid tumors. Other methods can be used to confirm uterine fibroids including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). After identifying the size and location of your fibroid(s), and also after other diagnostic tests, your doctor may recommend ruling out other, potentially more serious conditions and advise you of your options and a recommended course of uterine fibroid treatment.


Talk with our fibroid specialists about treating your symptoms like heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and urinary incontinence. Call MIMIT Health at (708) 486-2600.


  1. Wallach EE. Myomectomy. In: Thompson JD, Rock JA, eds. Te Linde’s Operative Gynecology, 7th ed. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1992; pp 647-662.
  2. Baird DD, Dunson DB, Hill MC, Cousins D, Schectman JM. High cumulative incidence of uterine leiomyoma in black and white women: Ultrasound evidence. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003;188:100–107.
  3. Marshall LM, Spiegelman D, Barbieri RL, et al. Variation in the incidence of uterine leiomyoma among premenopausal women by age and race. Obstet Gynecol. 1997;90:967–973.
  4. Wise LA, Palmer JR, Stewart EA, Rosenberg L. Age-specific incidence rates for self-reported uterine leiomyomata in the Black Women’s Health Study. Obstet Gynecol. 2005;105: 563–568.
  5. Huyck KL, Panhuysen CI, Cuenco KT, et al. The impact of race as a risk factor for symptom severity and age at diagnosis of uterine leiomyomata among affected sisters. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008;198:168 e161–169.

What to expect...

Once you and your doctors(s) have determined that Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is the right fibroid treatment option for you, here are some of the things you’ll need to know before, during and after treatment.

Before Treatment

Your Interventional Radiologist (IR) will explain to you in detail all of the pre-procedure tests prescribed. Also during your consult, you should let your doctor know if you are allergic to any medications, shellfish, iodine, contrast agents, or gelatin to minimize the risk of a reaction as a result of the fibroid treatment procedure. You and your doctor also should decide what type of sedation will work best for you. Most doctors use conscious sedation, which means you will be awake during the procedure but you will feel groggy.

UFE is performed as an outpatient fibroid treatment procedure in a hospital and will typically require a stay up to 23 hours. After you arrive at the hospital, you will be prepped for the procedure by the Radiology staff. This includes initiating the sedation and other medication discussed during your consult. Other medications to help manage post-procedure effects may also be administered at this time. It is important to discuss with your IR which medications will be used in the management of your post-procedure care. Once you feel groggy or sleepy, you will be moved to the Radiology Suite, where the fibroid treatment will be performed.



Uterine fibroid embolization, also known as uterine artery embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed by an Interventional Radiologist (IR), a medical doctor with extensive experience in minimally invasive procedures. Prior to the procedure, some tests may have to be done. The entire fibroid treatment typically lasts less than one hour, and is performed as an outpatient therapy. Patients usually have to stay up to 23 hours after the procedure is complete.

The uterine fibroid embolization procedure begins with a tiny incision in the femoral artery. This incision provides the IR with access to the femoral artery in the upper thigh. Using specialized X-ray equipment, the IR passes a catheter (small tube) into the femoral artery, to the uterine artery, and guides it near the location of the fibroid tumor. When the IR has reached the location of the fibroids, embolic material (small spheres) are injected through the catheter and into the blood flow leading to the uterine fibroid tumors.

The embolic material is designed to block the vessels around the fibroid, depriving it of the blood and oxygen it needs to grow. The blood and oxygen deprivation results in fibroids shrinking. The embolic material remains permanently in the blood vessels at the fibroid site.

The catheter is then moved to the other side of the uterus, usually using the same incision in the thigh. Once the IR has completed embolization of the uterine artery on both sides, the catheter is gently removed and the IR places finger pressure over the small incision in your thigh. After holding the puncture site for a few minutes to help stop any bleeding, the IR may close the incision using a vascular closure device.

After the procedure, you may experience some discomfort such as abdominal cramping or pain. You and your doctor will determine what medications may be needed to keep you comfortable. The post-procedure care that you receive will be administered by skilled nurses and your IR. Post procedure appointments will need to be scheduled, and since these appointments vary, be sure to ask your IR when they need to be scheduled.


After Treatment

Most women experience some degree of abdominal pain or cramping (similar to menstrual cramps) shortly after this treatment for uterine fibroids. Your doctor will decide what medications you will need to keep you comfortable. Generally patients receive medications for pain management. Occasionally a patient experiences fever, which is usually treated with medication. Some patients experience nausea related to medications and they can be changed accordingly. You will remain in an observation unit up to 23 hours, depending upon the decision of your physician.

Some patients may experience “post-embolization syndrome” following the uterine fibroid treatment which is described as having flu-like symptoms, such as a low grade fever, malaise (a vague feeling of discomfort), and mild nausea. Post-embolization syndrome can occur within a few hours or up to a few days after uterine fibroid embolization.

Once your IR has evaluated you and has decided you are ready for discharge, you will receive discharge instructions from your doctor. These instructions include information on post uterine fibroid treatment care regarding medications you will need to take to keep you comfortable based on how you are feeling. They may also include information on when you can expect to begin returning to normal activities, as well as all phone numbers for whom to call if you have questions. You may continue to experience some cramping, similar to menstrual period cramping, that lasts a few days after the procedure. Most women are able to return to light activity within a few days of the uterine fibroid embolization treatment and are usually back to work and normal activity on average, within 11 days.

Finally, your IR will schedule your post-procedure appointments to check your recovery. Typical timeframes for these appointments are one week post-procedure, and three months post-procedure. Since follow up appointments do vary, be sure to ask when these appointments should be scheduled.

Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

Dr. Chopra at Midwest Institute for Minimally Invasive Therapies is an experienced Interventional Radiologist who has a team of highly trained fibroid specialists.

Talk with our fibroid specialists about treating your symptoms like heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and urinary incontinence. Call MIMIT Health at (708) 486-2600.

Treating a Treating Uterine Fibroids

If you have been diagnosed with Uterine Fibroids, contact Dr. Chopra and his team at Midwest Institute for Minimally Invasive Therapies to learn more about Uterine Fibroid Embolization. We specialize in this minimally invasive procedure to treat uterine fibroids.

Talk with our fibroid specialists about treating your symptoms like heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and urinary incontinence. Call MIMIT Health at (708) 486-2600.

Steps to Treatment

If you feel UFE might be the right treatment option for you then please follow these steps:

  1. Get Informed
  2. Talk to your OB-GYN
  3. Make an Appointment with MIMIT Health at (708) 486-2600.

Conduct research on the Internet or at the library on which uterine fibroid treatments are appropriate for you. Visit websites such as the National Uterine Fibroid Foundation (www.nuff.org), American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (www.acog.org) or the Society of Interventional Radiology (www.sirweb.org) which has an entire section on uterine fibroid embolization.

Talk to your OB-GYN!

Your OB-GYN is a physician specialist who provides medical and surgical care to women and has particular expertise in pregnancy, childbirth, and disorders of the reproductive system. Your OB-GYN will help you understand more about fibroids and the related symptoms. They will also inform you of all available fibroid treatment options.

Seek a second, third or fourth opinion.

  • Obtain a complete copy of your medical records from your current OB-GYN and do not hesitate to discuss treatment options with other doctors.
  • Keep talking until you are comfortable with what you hear. You and your doctor should both be satisfied with your treatment plan.
  • Come to talk to us. We specialize in uterine fibroid embolization and we'll be able to help determine if you are a good candidate for UFE.

Talk to other women with uterine fibroids.

  • Try to identify and speak with women who have had treatments for their uterine fibroids to learn about their individual experiences.
  • Discuss alternatives with your doctor so he/she knows you are aware of them and to see if you are a potential candidate for UFE.
  • Many hospitals have women’s health seminars that feature a discussion on fibroids.

Make an appointment!

Give us a call at the number listed above. We would be happy to discuss if you are a good candidate for UFE. Here are some questions you might think about asking us:

  • Please explain how you would coordinate my care with my OB-GYN.
  • Which OB-GYNs refer to you for UFE?
  • How often is the procedure successful in treating uterine fibroids?
  • Are your patients happy with the procedure?
  • How often do complications occur? What are typical complications?
  • How will I feel during and after the UFE procedure?
  • How long should I expect to be away from work?
  • What is the length of the procedure? What is the normal recovery time?
  • How long should I expect to stay in the hospital?
  • What kind of follow-up care is typical and who manages it?
  • What typically happens to the fibroids after the blood supply is cut off? Should I expect them to be expelled vaginally or will the procedure simply result in my fibroids shrinking?
  • Will my fibroids, or the symptoms of my fibroids, come back?
  • Will I still get my periods after having UFE and what will they be like?
  • Will my insurance cover uterine fibroid embolization?

Talk with our fibroid specialists about treating your symptoms like heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and urinary incontinence. Call MIMIT Health at (708) 486-2600.