KateMy fibroids diagnosis was made in 2014 after I developed heavy periods with episodes of flooding and severe cramping pains. My GP started me on tranexamic acid for my heavy periods, and while this helped initially, eventually my life revolved around my period. I avoided travel during periods and stocked up on huge quantities of sanitary products and painkillers to help me cope. I also developed nausea and vomiting when the cramps were at their worst. This could happen at any time, and I could vomit for up to several hours at a time. I became iron deficient and required iron tablets.

I was referred to a gynaecologist in 2016 by a new GP who thought it was ridiculous that I was tolerating such terrible symptoms. In my mind I thought I would just have to live with this until menopause. My gynaecologist listened to me, arranged investigations, and offered me the options of myomectomy, ulipristal, or embolisation. He also mentioned that I may eventually need a hysterectomy. At that time I was reading about the risks and benefits of each treatment. An EMA alert was placed on ulipristal because of some cases of liver failure, so when I went for a follow-up, this was no longer an option.

I wanted a less-invasive approach, and preserving fertility was not important to me, as I was 40. I had read good things about embolisation, so I decided to go for this treatment. The interventional radiologist thoroughly explained the risks, benefits, and likely recovery time. After an MRI and blood tests, I underwent the procedure under sedation in January 2019. The procedure went well. I spent a night in the hospital and went home the next day. I found the post-procedure pain and nausea very difficult, but I had enough antiemetics and painkillers, and after the first 4 days, the symptoms were manageable. I went back to work after a week. In retrospect I should have taken 2 weeks off, as I was advised to!

My first period was a few days after the procedure, and it felt like someone had turned off a tap! In the last year, my periods have changed from lasting 8 days and occurring every 22 days to lasting only 4 days and occurring every 26 days. The flow of blood is light, and the cramps, nausea, and vomiting have all stopped. I can even forget when my periods are due because they have become a little blip in my life rather than all consuming. Embolisation has been life changing, and my only regret is not having it done sooner. I am so grateful to the gynaecologist who referred me to a good interventional radiologist and the entire team who looked after me so well.