When uterine fibroids are expelled out of a woman’s body it is called fibroid expulsion. Even though it sounds a bit daunting, it only happens rarely and it is not normally a cause for concern nor does it usually cause any complications. Fibroids pass from the uterus, through the vagina, and out of the body. The expulsion can be categorized as “complete” or “partial”.
- Complete fibroid expulsion – the entire fibroid is expelled;
- Partial Fibroid Expulsion – the fibroid breaks up and only pieces are expelled.
What Would Cause Fibroid Expulsion?
The most common reason that can prompt fibroid expulsion is after undergoing uterine fibroid embolization. (UFE)
Uterine Fibroid Embolization is a non-surgical procedure that only takes about 45 minutes and patients return home the same day with only a bandaid. Fibroids require a blood supply to survive and grow and during the UFE procedure, the blood flow to the fibroids is cut off. The fibroids begin to shrink and then gradually die which alleviates the associated symptoms.
Sometimes there are rare cases of spontaneous fibroid expulsion reported that are not related to any type of procedure such as uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) or a guided focused ultrasound.
Some Rare Cases Of Unexplained Fibroid Expulsion
In one very rare case from 2013, a 35-year-old woman suffered a miscarriage due to several fibroids growing inside her uterus. One was a submucosal uterine fibroid that was spontaneously expelled after induced labor. The expelled fibroid was approximately 5 ½” x 4” and weighed over half of a pound.
Another rare case involved a 22-year-old woman who went to the hospital with abdominal pain and cramping that had lasted over 3 weeks, prolonged menstrual bleeding, a low-grade temperature, and anemia. The patient said that during her last four periods, she was bleeding heavily and passing clots. She tested as mildly anemic.
She was not taking medicine, had not experienced previous surgeries, had not used contraceptives, and was sexually inactive. Surgery was scheduled to explore and diagnose the issue. Before her surgery date, she began to experience discharge that was grayish-purple and smelled foul. It did not look like a fibroid and consisted of crumbling floppy tissue.
Some of the tissue was tested and signs of infection were present, an MRI was done to confirm and strong antibiotics were administered to prevent sepsis. Fortunately, due to a quick diagnosis and observation with the MRI, the doctors were able to observe as the fibroid expelled itself and the young woman returned to health.
Do All Women Experience Expelled Fibroids After UFE?
If you are contemplating undergoing UFE, you may be nervous about experiencing fibroid expulsion. It is rare to experience fibroid expulsion after UFE and less than 5% of women encounter this issue.
Normally, after the UFE procedure, the targeted fibroids begin to shrink and die, and, over time, some are gradually reabsorbed by the body.
How Frequently Does Fibroid Expulsion Occur?
The Journal Of Vascular and Interventional Radiology published a study that reviewed the medical history of 759 patients who had the uterine fibroid embolization procedure over a ten-year span.
Approximately 4.9% of them experienced fibroid expulsion about 3 ½ months post-procedure and of those women, only 5 percent showed any symptoms which consisted of cramping and vaginal discharge.
Of the women who experienced symptoms during fibroid expulsion, 90% of them had large pieces of a fibroid fall out or an entire fibroid pass from their body. Pedunculated fibroids and submucosal fibroids are more likely to be expelled than other types of fibroids.
Does Fibroid Expulsion Require Medical Attention?
Only about one-half of women who deal with fibroid expulsion need any type of medical assistance. Most expelled fibroids safely leave the body unassisted but women who have had children seem to have less incidence of fibroid expulsion.
There are times when medical help may be required such as if a fibroid is only partially expelled or becomes lodged it may require a gynecological procedure to remove it. If you think you may be experiencing fibroid expulsion, you should seek treatment from your fibroid specialist right away.
What Is The Treatment For Fibroid Expulsion?
In rare cases, surgery is sometimes required to address a fibroid that may still be partially attached to the uterus or if an infection occurs that is resistant to antibiotic therapy.
In these types of cases, some can be corrected with an operative transvaginal myomectomy or a hysteroscopic fibroid resection, and in severe cases, a hysterectomy may be necessary.
What Might Happen If A Fibroid Fell Out?
If a woman thinks a fibroid fell out (experiences fibroid expulsion) she may notice a vaginal discharge that also could contain some fibroid tissue and she may feel cramping that occurs on and off for weeks or even months. Usually, this process will happen uneventfully and when complete her symptoms will be alleviated.
Does Fibroid Expulsion Cause Discharge?
If fibroid expulsion occurs it is most often accompanied by a vaginal discharge that can be pink, gray, or brownish in color. If the discharge has a foul-smelling odor which could indicate an infection, you should notify your doctor immediately.
To learn more about fibroid expulsion or uterine fibroid embolization, contact The Atlanta Fibroid Center today and set up a consultation. A quick UFE procedure can free you from fibroids and their painful, life-hindering symptoms.
Dr. John Lipman and Dr. Mitchell Ermentrout, interventional radiologists at the Atlanta Fibroid Center, have a combined experience of almost 40 years of helping women eliminate their fibroid symptoms through UFE. With over 10,000 procedures to his credit, Dr. Lipman is one of the leading experts in UFE in the nation. Do not suffer for one more minute, call The Atlanta Fibroid Center today!