Narrator: This is Science Today. For years, doctors have recommended hysterectomies for women with uterine fibroids. Fibroids are benign, hard lumps that are harmless but can sometimes cause irritating symptoms. But according to Dr. Alison Jacoby of the University of California, San Francisco, a hysterectomy may be an unnecessarily drastic step in the treatment of fibroids.
Jacoby: There are times when it's a very useful operation for people. Many people are attached to their uterus. They feel a sense of connection as a woman to their uterus…and that's why alternatives have come along.
Narrator: One of the most promising alternatives is uterine artery embolization, a process that temporarily cuts off the blood flow to the uterus.
Jacoby: The end result is the fibroid and the uterus shrink down by about 50 percent. So over the ensuing months the uterus gradually decreases in size.
Narrator: The procedure is an effective treatment in about 80 percent of women. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.