Uterine fibroids are a common yet serious medical issue that affects women of all ages in Singapore. They’re non-cancerous growths that form in the uterus and can cause many symptoms, including cramping, heavy bleeding, pain during intercourse, and other irregularities. Uterine fibroids can be life-altering for many women due to their effects on fertility, health, and quality of life . This complete guide will tell you everything you need to know about uterine fibroids in Singapore, from what causes them to treatments like uterine artery embolisation (UFE) and myomectomy. We will also discuss the risks associated with these procedures, and the expected recovery journey.
Uterine fibroids, also known as leiomyomas, are muscular tumours that develop within the walls of the uterus during premenopausal years—most commonly between 30 and 40 years old. These benign growths generally range in size from microscopic to more than 10 centimetres across. A woman can have one fibroid or many, and their locations vary based on where in the uterus they developed .
Uterine fibroids are extremely common—in fact, it’s estimated that by the age of 35, up to 40 to 50 percent of women will develop them at some point during their lifetime . However, despite their prevalence, uterine fibroids are still a relatively unknown health issue in Singapore. Many women despite suffering from the symptoms of uterine fibroids, attribute them simply to having a bad menstrual cycle, and do not seek medical treatment for this condition.
(image source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/symptoms-causes/syc-20354288)
Most people with uterine fibroids do not feel any noticeable symptoms aside from minor discomfort such as abdominal tenderness or cramps during menstrual cycles. Others may experience more severe symptoms such as:
In rare cases, more serious complications such as difficulty breathing, difficulty getting pregnant, or anemia may occur due to the amount of blood loss associated with uterine fibroids. Currently, there are no treatments that can prevent the development of fibroid tumours, but once they form, treatment options vary depending on the size and location of the growths, as well as a patient’s symptoms and fertility goals.
One available treatment for uterine fibroids is Uterine artery embolisation (UAE). Thisinvolves injecting small particles into the arteries that feed the fibroids to block off their blood supply and cause them to shrink over time. A myomectomy (which surgically removes one or more fibroids from inside the uterus) is another option, but it requires more invasive surgery and longer recovery times than UFE; other medical therapies like hormonal drugs may also be prescribed to manage symptoms such as heavy bleeding, but they come with side effects of osteoporosis and infertility, and if the medications are stopped, the fibroids will grow back very quickly .
It isn’t fully understood what causes uterine fibroid tumours yet, but certain risk factors appear to increase a woman’s chances of developing them:
A woman with a family history of fibroid tumours (her mother or sisters) is likely to be at higher risk of developing them; likewise, if her hormones are out of balance, this can trigger their growth as well .
UFE is an effective treatment option for many women who suffer from the symptoms caused by uterine fibroid tumours. The procedure involves blocking off the blood supply to the uterus, which effectively causes shrinking of the fibroids over the next few weeks to months. Other treatments, such as surgical removal, may be considered depending on the size, location and other factors. It is best to speak with a specialist to better understand the various options and choose the one which is most appropriate for your situation.
(image source: https://www.azuravascularcare.com/medical-services/uterine-fibroid-embolization/)
Since it isn’t known what causes uterine fibroids, there are no surefire ways to prevent them from occurring, but maintaining good overall health can help reduce your risk; eat nutritious foods, keep active, and stay within a healthy weight range for your age and height. Additionally, make sure you’re getting regular check-ups with your doctor, and definitely seek medical attention should you experience symptoms of uterine fibroids such as:
The good news is that many women who undergo UFE in Singapore have a full recovery within 3–4 weeks and can return to their normal everyday activities very soon. In the immediate post-operative recovery period, you are advised to take it easy and avoid strenuous activities such as vigorous exercise and lifting heavy objects. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding medications or supplements, and make sure you rest when needed. Most women can expect long-term benefits from the procedure, including reduced menstrual bleeding and pain, improved fertility rates, and increased energy levels due to fewer fibroid-related symptoms interfering with daily life.
Uterine Fibroid Embolisation is not the only option available for treating uterine fibroids in Singapore. Other alternatives include medications such as GnRH agonists, which reduce hormone levels so that fibroids shrink over time (at the risk of bone loss and infertility), and myomectomy (the surgical removal of one or more tumours), which can provide fast relief of symptoms, but is a more invasive surgery than UFE.
(Image source: https://www.melakafertility.com/my_book/chapter-36-overview-of-hysteroscopy/
When it comes to the cost of uterine fibroid treatment in Singapore, UFE is generally less expensive than myomectomy because it does not require any incisions and can be performed as a day surgery procedure. The exact cost will depend on the planned operation, the number of fibroids, the location and size of each fibroid, and any concomitant medical issues. Do consult a specialist to decide on the most appropriate surgical option for your condition, and the estimated cost of the procedure once this has been decided.
The success rate of UFE at treating uterine fibroids varies from patient to patient and is determined by size and location of the fibroids, as well as the feeding vessels supplying each fibroid. Most studies show that up to 90% of women treated with this procedure experience reduced symptoms and an overall improvement in quality of life. It is important to note, however, that not all patients respond equally—some may see complete resolution of their symptoms while others might still deal with minor issues such as menstrual discomfort or heavy bleeding after treatment .
Before undergoing UFE for uterine fibroids in Singapore, your doctor will ask you about any existing medical conditions (such as diabetes) or medications (including over-the-counter drugs) that could interfere with treatment. Additionally, if you’re a smoker, it is advised to stop smoking at least one month before UFE to reduce the chances of developing post-operative complications.
Uterine Fibroids can reduce the chances of a successful pregnancy in a number of ways:
There are studies available which show that treatment of uterine fibroids can lead to successful pregnancies, thus if you are having difficulty conceiving, do consult a specialist to see if you have any uterine fibroids which may need treatment to increase your chances of a successful pregnancy.
Although UFE has been available since 1955, new advances have resulted in shorter recovery times, more precise treatments, improved drug delivery systems and overall higher success rates.
If you are suffering from uterine fibroids in Singapore, do discuss with your doctor about all the available treatment options such as medications, surgical removal, and UFE so you can weigh up the pros and cons associated with each therapy and choose the most appropriate one for your situation.
Unfortunately, there are many myths still surrounding the topic of uterine fibroids in Singapore, from false claims that they can lead to cancer (they’re benign tumors) to incorrect information regarding the symptoms associated with them. It’s important for women who are suffering from this condition to get accurate and up-to-date facts about uterine fibroids so they can make informed decisions about their health care plan. Some key facts include:
Uterine cancer is an entirely different medical issue than a uterine fibroid tumour, although both conditions involve malignant cells forming in the female reproductive system. Unlike benign growths that form inside the walls of the uterus, uterine cancer is much more serious—if left untreated, it can spread to other organs in the body—and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of uterine cancer may include abnormal bleeding or discharge between periods; painful intercourse; pelvic or abdominal pain.
If you experience any symptoms that could indicate either condition, seek medical help as soon as possible so a correct diagnosis can be made before treatment is started. Your doctor will conduct several tests, such as ultrasound imaging, CT scans, and biopsies of affected tissues, in order to determine whether your growths are benign fibroid tumours or malignant cancer cells .
Uterine Fibroid Embolisation (UFE) involves passing a catheter from a small incision in the arm or the groin to the blood vessels supplying the uterine fibroids, and injecting medications that block off the blood supply. This causes the uterine fibroids to shrink over time and can be performed as a day surgery procedure. This procedure also causes minimal disruption to the surrounding tissues, which usually leads to a faster recovery compared with myomectomy (surgical resection of the fibroid). UFE has even been shown in some studies to increase fertility rates in some patients, making it an ideal treatment for women who wish to become pregnant but suffer from symptomatic fibroids.
(image source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354294)
Uterine Fibroid Embolisation (UFE) is generally considered safe when performed by experienced professionals, but there are certain risks associated with any surgical procedure, including infection, damage to surrounding organs or vessels, or emboli traveling outside of the uterus and causing stroke-like symptoms. It is important for all women considering this type of treatment to weigh up both potential benefits and risks before undergoing any procedure so they can make an informed decision about their health care needs .
That said, UFE is a minimally invasive procedure that usually leads to faster recovery times as compared to the more invasive myomectomy surgery. Overall, it remains a very safe and frequently recommended option for treating symptomatic uterine fibroids in Singapore.
Uterine fibroids are common yet potentially serious health issues that affect many women in Singapore. While there is currently no surefire way of preventing them from forming, keeping good overall health, and getting regular check-ups with gynaecologists can help reduce risk by enabling early detection and faster intervention when needed. When it comes to treatment options, drugs such as progesterone may be recommended to reduce heavy periods; alternatively, uterine artery embolisation (UFE) or myomectomy are more invasive procedures that provide fast relief of symptoms .
If you suffer from symptomatic fibroids, it’s important to understand your options before deciding on a course of treatment. Be sure to discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor and weigh up both the risks associated with each option as well as potential benefits so you can make an informed decision about your future health care plan.
(image source: https://www.invitra.com/en/uterine-fibroids/symptoms-of-myomas/)
It isn’t known what causes uterine fibroids, but certain risk factors such as age (usually premenopausal years), genetics, hormone levels, and obesity appear to increase a woman’s chances of developing them. The good news is that there are several things women can do to reduce their risk—maintaining a healthy weight, eating nutritious foods, and staying active all play an important role in overall health.
Some people may recommend herbal remedies like Vitex agnus castus as a way of preventing uterine fibroids. There are however no clinical trials to prove their efficacy.
Uterine artery embolisation (UFE) is a minimally invasive procedure that involves blocking blood vessels that feed the uterus, thereby essentially ‘starving’ the growth until it shrinks or disappears altogether. It’s an outpatient procedure— patients usually go home within a few hours after being monitored in the hospital—so there’s less time spent away from family and work commitments than traditional surgery would require.
The cost varies depending on the severity of symptoms and size of the fibroid. Fortunately, most good health insurers in Singapore provide some form of reimbursement for UFE procedures, and it is best to check with your healthcare insurance provider for more information.
Uterine Artery Embolisation (UFE) is the preferred option for some women due to its low incidence of perioperative complications and, unlike hysterectomies, which eliminates the entire uterus, UFE leaves it intact, thereby giving patients the option of future pregnancies.
Additionally, UFE doesn’t cause scarring or adhesions as with myomectomy, thereby reducing the risk of potentially developing future pelvic pain conditions like endometriosis.
The success rate of uterine artery embolisation (UFE) in treating uterine fibroids varies from patient to patient and is largely dependent on the size and location of the fibroid as well as how quickly it responds to treatment. On average, however, between 85-90% of women experience significant relief of their symptoms —although it can take longer for larger tumours and severe cases .
As mentioned previously, although uterine fibroids are generally benign growths that often don’t require invasive intervention, they can cause great discomfort if left untreated, so it’s important to be aware of any possible symptoms that may occur, such as pelvic pain or heavy irregular bleeding. Fortunately, there are a number of effective treatments available, including medications and UFE, which help ensure that women in Singapore who suffer from symptomatic fibroids receive quick relief without compromising their long-term health prospects.
Uterine fibroids affect many women in Singapore, and while prevention isn’t guaranteed, a healthy lifestyle combined with regular check-ups helps reduce risk by enabling early detection, when necessary, should something arise. When it comes to treatment options, medications such as progesterone may be recommended to reduce heavy periods; or Uterine Artery Embolisation (UFE), which is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that provides relief of symptoms for most women within 6 months.
Singapore has well-trained vascular surgeons, so if you suffer from symptomatic fibroids, it’s important to weigh up all available options while keeping in mind the costs, risks, and benefits associated with each choice before deciding on a course of action.
For more information about treatment plans for uterine fibroids and other vascular conditions, contact Vascular & Interventional Centre at +65 6694 6270 to get started with your wellness journey.
Our team of experienced vascular surgeons at Vascular & Interventional Centre looks forward to providing you with accessible and effective care to keep your vascular health in check. Dr. Chen Min Qi is committed to providing comprehensive care for you. His specialisation in vascular and endovascular surgery enables him to perform a range of complex treatments such as UFE, Varicose vein surgery, Peripheral arterial disease surgery, Aortic surgery, Carotid artery surgery, Dialysis access surgery, and more.
Uterine fibroid embolisation is a minimally invasive procedure designed to treat uterine fibroids without having to resort to open surgery. It works by cutting off the blood supply to the fibroids in the uterus, which shrink and die over time. The procedure itself is relatively quick and easy—usually lasting no more than an hour or two—and involves a doctor threading tiny catheters (tiny tubes) through your groin area into the uterine artery, where they release embolic agents that block blood flow to the fibroids.
Recovery from UFE for uterine fibroids can be different for each woman, but in general, patients can expect a few days of mild abdominal pain as their body adjusts to its new state. During this period, you may experience some menstrual-like cramps, nausea, and light-headedness, as well as general tiredness, all of which can be managed with over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. The good news is that these symptoms should subside within 2–3 days, although many women find relief much sooner than that due to postoperative pain management strategies being employed during their stay at the hospital. Your doctor will provide instructions on how to best manage any side effects associated with UFE and will also likely schedule a follow-up to ensure your body is recovering properly.
Other options for treating uterine fibroids in Singapore include medication therapy (such as hormonal contraceptives), ultrasound therapy (high intensity focused ultrasound), and cryoablation (freezing of fibroids with a device similar to that used for prostate cancer) as well as myomectomy (surgical removal). There are pros and cons associated with each option. Depending on your situation, you may want to discuss these options with your doctor so that you can make an informed decision about which treatment is best suited for you.
Finding the right doctor for any medical procedure is essential—especially when it comes to something like uterine fibroid embolisation (UFE). This is why it’s important to take the time to research different clinics in order to find one with the experience, credentials, and skill set necessary to provide you with optimum care throughout your UFE journey. The internet provides an excellent platform through which patients can search reviews from past customers and look at the certifications and qualifications of each clinic or individual doctor before making their final choice. Your general practitioner or gynecologist should also be able to provide some useful recommendations if needed.
Although most women who opt for uterine fibroids embolisation (UFE) in Singapore experience a straightforward recovery process, there are still potential side effects to be aware of. These can include bleeding and cramping (although this is usually mild), infection from the procedure, urinary frequency due to pressure on the bladder, or pelvic discomfort due to inflammation inside the uterus (which should subside within a few days). It’s important that you listen carefully to your doctor’s advice throughout your UFE journey so that any problems can be picked up quickly and treated properly.
The long-term benefits of undergoing Uterine Fibroid Embolisation (UFE) in Singapore include improved quality of life with fewer fibroid symptoms such as pain and heavy bleeding, better fertility outcomes, less risk of premature delivery & miscarriage.
The first step to preparing for UFE is talking to your doctor about the procedure, examining the pros and cons of different treatments available, possible risks involved and any special considerations required (such as dietary restrictions or lifestyle modifications that may be suggested). It’s also important you have a clear understanding of what the recovery process will involve so you can make necessary arrangements prior to undergoing surgery.
Uterine Fibroid Embolisation (UFE) has been successfully used around the world since 1955, with over 8,500 cases being done annually. In Singapore, it’s estimated that approximately 70-80% of women who opt for this procedure experience successful outcomes without needing further medical intervention within 12 months post-treatment; however, some individuals may require additional procedures due to the recurrence or development of new fibroids. It’s important to remember that all surgeries—even minimally invasive ones—come with risks so it’s essential you discuss these thoroughly with your doctor before choosing which treatment option is best suited for you.
The exact cause behind uterine fibroids is still unknown, however, there are certain lifestyle modifications one can make in order to reduce their risk as much as possible: maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise & mindful eating habits and avoiding alcohol & smoking. A balanced diet that contains enough vitamins and minerals can also help as some studies suggest these nutrients play a role in controlling fibroid growth. It’s important to keep in mind however that even with all the preventative measures taken there is no guarantee one won’t develop uterine fibroids—so regular check-ups are still recommended to maintain optimal health and catch any issues early on if they arise.
The outlook for women suffering from uterine fibroids is generally very positive; thanks to medical technology advancement patients now have an array of options available when it comes to treating their condition ranging from medication therapy, ultrasound or cryoablation treatments right through to complete removal of affected areas via open surgery. In most cases symptoms are effectively managed without resorting to making use of more invasive procedures – however, it’s important you discuss your situation thoroughly with your doctor before deciding which course of action would be best suited for you.
Insurance coverage for Uterine Fibroid Treatment would depend on your provider. It is best to check with your insurance company if they provide partial or full coverage depending on your plan. It’s also important for patients to remember that in addition to the procedure itself, there may be other expenses associated with surgery such as hospital fees & medication costs.
Vascular and Interventional Centre is here to address your vascular needs through interventional and non-interventional customised treatments. Contact +65 6694 6270 to book an appointment with our team of well-trained vascular specialists.
You can explore our website https://www.sgvascularctr.com for more resources about conditions and our treatments. You can also visit our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/sgvascularctr) for additional information.
Dr. Chen Min Qi is a fellowship-trained Vascular and Endovascular Surgeon who graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2005. He subsequently completed his basic and advanced training in General and Vascular Surgery while obtaining the Member of Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (MRCSed) qualification in 2010, and the Master of Medicine (General Surgery) qualification in 2015. Dr Chen was subsequently successful at the fellowship exams obtaining the Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (FRCSed) qualification in 2016.
Upon completion of his advanced surgical training, Dr Chen Min Qi joined the newly opened Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) as a specialist in the Vascular Surgery division. In 2018, Dr Chen was awarded the Health Manpower Development Plan (HMDP) grant from MOH to undergo further subspeciality Vascular training at the internationally renowned St Mary’s Hospital in London, United Kingdom. There Dr Chen gained further experience in surgeries on complex abdominal and thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms, redo open repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms following failed EVAR surgeries as well as carotid endarterectomy surgery and lower limb revascularization surgeries.
Upon his return in 2020, Dr Chen Min Qi joined the newly formed Woodlands Health as head of their Vascular service, before joining his current practice at the Vascular and Interventional Centre in January 2023.