What Is Fibroid Sloughing?

More than half of the adult female population develops uterine fibroids during their lifetime, and some suffer from terrible chronic symptoms that disrupt their lives. If you are unaware, fibroids are benign tumors that grow in and around the uterus and can be very small or grow to be as large as a pumpkin. A woman can have one fibroid or numerous fibroids and the symptoms they can create are usually tied to where they are growing and how big they get.

These tumors need a blood supply to remain viable, so they tap into the uterine artery and siphon off blood. Sometimes they can grow so fast that their blood supply is unable to sustain them, and they begin to degenerate. Other times, they may be cut off from their blood supply using a non-surgical procedure called uterine fibroid embolization. Today we are going to talk about what happens when fibroids lose their blood supply.

What Is Fibroid Sloughing?

When a fibroid loses its blood supply, it begins to degenerate. It can begin to break apart, and tissue can be expelled from the vagina, similar to what happens during a menstrual period, which is a process known as sloughing or shedding. When fibroid sloughing happens naturally, some women experience cramping in their abdomen or period-like symptoms, but these usually do not last too long and can be managed with over-the-counter medications. The issue with natural fibroid degeneration is that it can be cyclical, with the fibroid shrinking back until its limited blood supply is able to sustain it and then once again growing large. The best way to treat fibroids is to eliminate them by blocking their access to blood from the uterine artery with uterine fibroid embolization.

Do Women Have Fibroid Sloughing Symptoms After UFE?

Yes, it is normal to experience discomfort after undergoing a UFE procedure because blocking the blood supply to the fibroids causes degeneration. Your interventional radiologist will make sure you are prepared for the symptoms of degeneration and any fibroid sloughing discharge after your procedure.

They will provide you with some prescription medication that will help ease your discomfort during your recovery. If you experience symptoms outside of what your doctor has advised you to expect, it is important that you contact them and let them know what is going on. The good news is that after you go through the recovery period after UFE, it’s goodbye to fibroids and no more icky monthly symptoms.

What Does Fibroid Sloughing Look Like?

The discharge caused by fibroid sloughing can look different for each person and range in volume from mild to moderate. It will normally look like menstrual discharge but may have a darker color, or more chunks of white or tan tissue, or contain more clot-like material. In one rare case, a woman expelled a fibroid piece that was a few inches in length. Many women do not even know they are shedding fibroid tissue because the discharge looks like that of their normal period.

How Long Does Fibroid Sloughing Last?

The process of fibroid sloughing can last a few days, a week, or longer, depending on the cause. After UFE, the process takes around a week or a little more because all the fibroids are dying off at the same time. Depending on how many fibroids are present and their size, the sloughing process can take a bit more time and create a higher degree of discomfort. If there is a fibroid that is stuck in a natural degenerative cycle of outgrowing the blood supply, shrinking, and growing again, you may be experiencing soughing every few months. Some women may not even be aware this process is occurring and assume it is their usual menstrual period.

If you are experiencing symptoms of fibroids or have any questions regarding the process of fibroids breaking down, contact the Atlanta Fibroid Center. Our team of expert interventional radiologists and knowledgeable professionals can help answer your questions and explain how uterine fibroid embolization works. Make an appointment today!

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