Image-guided treatment could lead to increased libido in women

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Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), a nonsurgical, image-guided treatment of uterine fibroids may lead to improved sexual function and higher overall quality of life for female patients, according to research recently presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology's Annual Scientific Meeting in Vancouver.

The procedure, which is used to treat the common condition of fibroids developing in the muscular wall of the uterus, employs the insertion of a catheter into the patient’s relevant artery to provide real-time imaging and treatment administration, causing the fibroid tumors to shrink and eventually die.

The researchers performed a retrospective study on 264 patients who underwent UFE for benign fibroid tumors, asking them to complete a quality-of-life questionnaire approximately one-year following treatment.

The results showed that nearly 80 percent of respondents reported significant improvements in sexual function in terms of overall pain, desire, arousal and satisfaction, with the vast majority of women experiencing sustained improvement for more than a year following UFE.

"Women with uterine fibroids often experience troubling symptoms and significant discomfort, which diminish their sex lives and reduce their quality of life. These symptoms include heavy menstrual bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse, pelvic pain and back and leg pain," said lead author Helene Vernhet-Kovacsik, MD, of vascular radiology at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Montpellier in France. "Working in collaboration with a patient's gynecologist, interventional radiologists can now offer these women a treatment option which alleviates chronic pain within the female reproductive system and allows the opportunity to lead a full and more normal life.”

Read the presentation abstract here.