Fibroid treatment varies from person to person, with factors like medical history, age, symptom severity, fibroid size and the patients view on conception playing a huge role. The concern of many fibroid sufferers is whether they can afford treatment and whether their medical aid makes provision for treatment options.
Uterine fibroids are an abnormal proliferation of the uterus which are non-cancerous but not without their consequences. Though a common diagnosis, fibroid’s often go undetected until symptoms prevail, if at all. Symptoms of fibroids include excessive menstrual bleeding, prolonged menstrual bleeding, exhaustion, pelvic pain, frequent urination and pain during sexual penetration. These symptoms have sometimes crippling effects on the quality of a woman’s life and treatment becomes a necessity rather than a choice.
Medical treatments are, as we know, rather costly. Fibroid treatment is no exception. Fortunately, Fibroids are seen as a serious medical concern and most medical aids cover the majority of treatment options. State hospitals are unlikely to cover all the procedures, mostly due to lack of resources and expertise required for newer treatments. We have listed the most common fibroid treatment options and the general medical aid cover provided for each.
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Hysterectomy procedures are done for various reasons though fibroid concerns are a common one. The partial or complete removal of the womb is an intensive process, requiring hours of surgery and a long recovery period. It does however remove the chances of reoccurrence entirely. Most medical aids cover hysterectomy treatment that is involuntary, i.e. if the procedure is required for a valid medical reason. Fibroids are considered a valid medical basis for which a hysterectomy can be performed. A state hospital will also perform this procedure provided the same medical justifications can be provided. Waiting periods will apply however as is the case for procedures that are not for life threatening conditions.
As with a hysterectomy, a myomectomy is a surgical procedure which requires pre and post-operative care. It is covered by most medical aids and due to its specific purpose of removing fibroid masses will only be scheduled for someone suffering from symptom producing uterine fibroids. During this procedure the fibroid or fibroids are removed whilst keeping the womb intact. State hospitals perform this procedure though a waiting period will apply.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization is a relatively new treatment method which provides fibroid sufferers with an effective and minimally invasive option. It’s a highly specialised procedure with a select few providers of UFE. It is conducted by an interventional radiologist who treats the fibroid through the list by locating the artery which nourishes the fibroid. Through a deliberate (but safe) blockage in the feeder artery, the fibroid is starved and disappears, taking its symptoms away with it. Most medical aid’s will cover this procedure but be wary of excessively high co-payments. Due to the specialised nature of this procedure, state hospitals are not equipped to perform UFE.
Birth Control for Fibroids
Birth control pills have been used to treat fibroids for some time. Their effectiveness varies and often, relief is only reported after quite a long period of time. There are also hormone injections and intrauterine devices that can assist in fibroid management. Medical aid is unlikely to cover the cost of contraceptive pills due to their multi-purpose usage. Some medical aid’s do however offer discounts on certain brands and when purchasing from specific pharmacies. Certain medical aid plans cover IUD insertion. In terms of state care, there are reproductive clinics all over the country that offer free counselling and contraceptives at affordable rates.
If your fibroids need treating, don’t despair. You have options whether you are on a medical aid scheme or not. So, don’t suffer in silence and get the help you need to be fibroid free.