Dr. Lipman on UAE—the procedure that saved me from needing a hysterectomy
If there’s one thing I want you to know, it’s this: You have the agency to make your own decisions about your body. When it comes to your health, ask questions. Get second opinions. Trust your intuition and don’t blindly follow the advice of any one doctor, no matter how reputable they are. My experience with endometriosis and adenomyosis is a testament to this.
Did you know that there are one million women in the U.S. currently suffering from fibroids or adenomyosis? And 600,000 to 700,000 of them will end up getting hysterectomies simply because they don’t know that they have another option.
For the last six years, I have been suffering from debilitating period pain every cycle. The pain, pressure, bloating, vomiting and bloody uterus lasted through ovulation, leaving me bedridden and with only 10-12 productive days a month. In 2014, I had an MRI because it’s the only way to properly diagnose adenomyosis... My results were conclusive: I had it.
Soon after my diagnosis, multiple OBGYNs insisted that getting a radical hysterectomy and wearing estrogen patches for life was my only option, which really frightened me considering how estrogen-dominant I am. So instead of blindly following their recommendation, I flew to St Louis for the Osada Procedure, a very invasive surgery that manually scrapes adenomyosis layer by layer from the uterus.
Before moving forward with the procedure, I asked the surgeon many questions and his responses were very concerning.
Was he familiar with operating on a patient with a history of endometriosis?
Did he know what to do if he found that my endometriosis had caused too much scar tissue to complete the procedure?
Would an endometriosis specialist/surgeon be present?
His answer for all of the above questions was no.
He reported that he would be doing the procedure without an endo specialist and if he found too much scar tissue, he would either perform an emergency hysterectomy or stitch me back up (after giving me such an invasive incision).
I’m sharing this experience because I want you to understand that you MUST ask your doctors many questions; Don’t just accept the information they give you without having a thorough conversation first. Because I kept probing this surgeon on the details of the procedure and all its hypotheticals, he suggested we first do an exploratory surgery that only required two incisions (one my prior laparotomy scar and a slightly larger one above my belly button), and I’m SO relieved this is the decision we made.
Just forty minutes after putting me under anesthesia for the exploratory procedure, the surgeon woke me up, said he was unable to perform the surgery, and he too recommended a radical hysterectomy and an estrogen patch. Despite his recommendation, I once again trusted my intuition and refused to go through with the hysterectomy.
Shortly thereafter, I flew to Pennsylvania to work with my sister who is a certified myofascial release therapist. I began treatments once a week and bought myself a $30 cupping kit to help with pain management (more on that here). While this new regimen did help with the pain, at times it was still unbearable.
Here’s where Dr. John C. Lipman comes in.
Dr. Lipman is a radiologist and one of the world’s leading experts in a non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids known as uterine artery embolization (UAE) or uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). This non-invasive procedure implants a substance into the right common femoral artery to cut off the blood supply to adenomyosis and fibroids, eventually suffocating them.
Even though I had heard wonderful things about this procedure, I had some hesitation about trying it because many women told me they experienced excruciating pain during recovery… And after 14 years of pain, I didn’t know how much more I could take. But when Dr. Lipman and I reviewed my MRI results together, I learned that my uterus was the size of a 3-4 month pregnancy and I knew it was time.
This September, I flew to Dr. Lipman’s practice in Atlanta and underwent UAE. It took just 30-40 minutes, required a half inch incision, and my recovery was completely manageable. Dr. Lipman has done more procedures than any other specialist in America, and thanks to a special cocktail he created for pain prevention, I had only an hour and a half of discomfort afterward. I also know that a lot of pain is a result of constipation (something I learned during my years with endo), so I quadrupled my dosage of powder and capsule magnesium before UAE and I’m certain that this helped my recovery as well.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this procedure has changed my life. Because of Dr. Lipman and UAE, I’ve now had two months of manageable periods. I’m no longer vomiting or bedridden, I have no pain leading up to ovulation, and my pain level has gone from a 20 to a 4 during menstruation.
Even though I am grateful that my struggle with endometriosis, adenomyosis, and fibroids led me to founding Agent Nateur—it’s what inspired me to make my first aluminum-free holi (stick) deodorant—I’m thrilled to leave the days of horrific period pain in the past.
I’m truly heartbroken thinking of all the women who have undergone hysterectomies for something benign like fibroids or adenomyosis, and it’s my hope that other women considering hysterectomies find out about this miraculous procedure before it’s too late.
Click here to tune in to my IG Live conversation with Dr. Lipman to learn more about this amazing procedure and the ways it’s changing the lives of women with fibroids and adenomyosis.
TOPICS OF CONVERSATION
- How UAE was first discovered in France—by accident
- The statistical success rate of UAE
- The level of pain endured by women with adenomyosis and fibroids
- Demographics that are at higher risk of fibroids
- Lifestyle changes to prevent fibroids
- The connection between laparotomies and adenomyosis
- Why constipation exacerbates fibroid and adenomyosis pain
- Ways to lower your estrogen levels
- How the UAE procedure works
- Jena’s experience recovering from UAE
- The importance of getting a second opinion
- The debilitating effects of living with fibroids and adenomyosis
FIND DR. LIPMAN ONLINE
Atlanta Fibroid Center’s Website: https://atlii.com/
Atlanta Fibroid Center on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ8yIasGqT_hiyqsMUHl0dA/videos?view=0&sort=p&shelf_id=2&app=desktop
Dr. Lipman on Instagram: @dr_lipman
“Freedom From Fibroids” Documentary: https://atlii.com/view-fibroids-film-documentary/