Facing AUB, Finding Self-confidence
Posted byMartha Garcia
The following blog is a fictional story inspired by the experiences of real women.
The tears began to well up in the corners of Kathy’s eyes, they came hot and fast, her vision blurred; but that was the least of her problems. Kathy sat in her doctor’s office stunned, at a low point in her life, lacking self-confidence, scared and unsure. Did she have any other options or should she just listen to the doctor. Was a hysterectomy now her only choice?
Kathy, now 41 years old, suffered from abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) for most of her life. Trouble began in her late teens with extended bleeding after periods. One afternoon she ran from English class to the bathroom, mortified about her stained jeans. She sat in the stall crying until her best friend came in and told her mom was on her way with a change of clothes. Doctors told her to be patient. It could take years for her period to normalize.
“You’re only a teenager and erratic periods are common,”1 the doctor said and prescribed her The Pill. She explained the hormones in the oral contraceptives may normalize Kathy’s own hormones and relieve her symptoms.
But The Pill wasn’t the magical solution she had hoped for. When most young ladies were in college, dating and having fun, Kathy was visiting her doctor. This time, she was having a D&C (dilation and curettage).2 Her doctor recommended the procedure because of her extremely painful periods and the heavy bleeding she now experienced between cycles as well as during her period.
Would the D&C be the stroke of fortune she needed? Kathy could only hope and wait.
At 37, Kathy was married and finally conceived a daughter. She was happy to be a mother, but her AUB had worsened. Despite being able to conceive, she was not intimate with her husband often. How could they be? Kathy pondered her situation one night as she tossed and turned in bed, irritable from heavy cramping and grasping what self-confidence remained.
Kathy loved her husband, but the AUB made it nearly impossible for them to have sex. Even between cycles, she still bled heavily. Her and Warren’s intimate moments were uncomfortable. What should have been a loving moment with her husband turned into a painful embarrassing experience. So now her husband’s attempts for intimacy were few and far between. She could feel them growing apart. Warren was a patient, loving and understanding man, but did his understanding have limits?
Now at 41, Kathy cried in her physician’s office. He had just recommended a hysterectomy, surgically removing her uterus to relieve her AUB and the many embarrassing and life-affecting symptoms that accompanied the condition. The procedure is invasive and calls for a long recovery time. Kathy was scared.
Her marriage was crumbling. Kathy daydreamed of having a normal sex life where she had the self-confidence to enjoy the mood without worrying about heavy bleeding or pain. Maybe a hysterectomy could help them achieve wedded bliss, but was this drastic surgery the only answer? Wouldn’t that mean a serious flux in her hormones and premature menopause? Did she really need to put herself and Warren through that change?
In our story, Kathy suffers from a disruptive medical condition called abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB). In her case, The Pill and D&C didn’t relieve the symptoms and it seemed like a hysterectomy was the only solution; however, there are other treatments that may provide relief, such as a myomectomy, polypectomy, or an endometrial ablation.
Myomectomy and polypectomy procedures remove intrauterine fibroids or polyps, which is less invasive than a hysterectomy. Recovery time is typically between two to seven days. These procedures may help reduce heavy bleeding caused by fibroids or polyps, while preserving uterine function.3
Endometrial ablation is a surgical procedure option to treat abnormal uterine bleeding by removing the uterine lining. There are many different procedures that your doctor may use to perform an endometrial ablation.
If your doctor tells you that you have fibroids or polyps, then there are several procedure that could be used to remove them. One possible option is the MyoSure procedure, that is offered by Hologic, the sponsor of this blog. The MyoSure procedure is a type of hysteroscopic procedure, where a scope is inserted into the vagina to identify and remove fibroids, polyps and unwanted uterine tissue that may be causing heavy bleeding. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, recovery from the hysteroscopic procedures, like the MyoSure procedure, is about two days, allowing women to be back on their feet shortly after the appointment.4
Managing with AUB is difficult, and understanding the treatment options can help. Your doctor may recomend an endometrial ablation to treat AUB. The NovaSure endometrial ablation is an option that your physician may choose, and it is offered by Hologic, the sponsor of this blog. The procedure takes about five minutes and may be performed in the doctor’s office. The NovaSure procedure gently removes the lining of the uterus, which is what sheds during a period. There is a short recovery time, and most women can return to work the day after the procedure.5 The NovaSure procedure is recommended for women for whom childbearing is complete.
Kathy should discuss the benefits and risks of the available treatment options with her doctor. Together, they can choose the treatment method that may be right for her.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
NovaSure® endometrial ablation is for premenopausal women with heavy periods due to benign causes who are finished childbearing. Pregnancy following the NovaSure procedure can be dangerous. The NovaSure procedure is not for those who have or suspect uterine cancer; have an active genital, urinary or pelvic infection; or an IUD. NovaSure endometrial ablation is not a sterilization procedure. Rare but serious risks include, but are not limited to, thermal injury, perforation and infection. Temporary side effects may include cramping, nausea, vomiting, discharge and spotting. Inform patients to contact you if they experience a possible side effect related to use of this product. For detailed benefit and risk information, please consult the IFU.
The MyoSure® hysteroscopic tissue removal system is intended for hysteroscopic intrauterine procedures by trained gynecologists to resect and remove tissue including submucous myomas, endometrial polyps and retained products of conception. It is not appropriate for patients who are or may be pregnant, or are exhibiting pelvic infection, cervical malignancies or previously diagnosed endometrial cancer.
1 Irregular Periods. Teen Health. http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/irregular-periods.html?WT.ac=t-ra
2Dilation and curettage (D&C). Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dilation-and-curettage/home/ovc-20259331.
3Fibroids and polyps What you should know. Hologic. http://www.hologic.com/sites/default/files/white-papers/PP-00121-001_Rev003_MyoSure_Patient_Brchr_5%20FINAL.pdf.
4Uterine Fibroids: A Guide for Patients. American Society for Preproductive Medicine. http://www.asrm.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/Resources/Patient_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Info_Booklets/uterine_fibroids.pdf.
5NovaSure Endometrial Ablation Summary of Risks and Consideration. Hologic. http://novasure.com/sites/default/files/NovaSure_Patient_Risks-and-Considerations.pdf.
- Posted by Martha Garcia
- On April 7, 2017