Going Home After Your UFE

1.  Activities:  What can I do?

Driving:  Do not drive for several days.  You are taking prescription pain medications.    These medications may make you sleepy.

Work:  This will vary depending upon yourself and your doctor’s recommendation.  Generally we recommend taking a week off from work.

Sexual Activity:  Seven days after procedure.

Showering / Puncture Sites:  Shower for the next two days.  No bathing, swimming, hot tub or submerging for the next 5 days.  A Band-Aid is in place over the puncture site (about a one quarter inch nick).  After each shower, remove the wet Band-Aids and replace them with dry, clean ones.  This will promote healing. 

  • If you notice any swelling or active bleeding from the puncture site, use direct pressure by placing your fingers and a clean cloth or paper towel over the site and call for assistance.  Report to the nearest emergency room for evaluation.   This is extremely rare and occurs in less than 1 in 500 patients.
  • There may be minimal bruising at the puncture site and this is normal.  This bruising may spread out over several days.  This is the normal way in which a small amount of blood under the skin is reabsorbed.

Activity / Household Chores / Hobbies:  Wait several days to one week.  How much you do is determined by your level of discomfort and fatigue.  Although there is very little outward evidence that you’ve had an embolization, your body has gone through a major change.  You will need to take things a little easy for a while.  Gradually work back into your activities; always within the restrictions set by your doctor.  Guide your activities by how your body feels.

2.  Diet and Medications

Resume your normal diet:  A common side effect of prescription pain medication is constipation.  Increase the amount of fiber you eat and the water you drink.  You should be drinking about eight glasses of water a day.  Feel free to use Milk of Magnesia or warm a glass of prune juice prior to drinking your morning coffee.  If you have any questions about foods rich in fiber, please consult with your nurse.

Prescription:  Your entire prescription should be taken as prescribed.  You should expect to have pelvic pain and cramping over the next several days to two weeks.  Usually this lasts for three to four days.  It is most intense the day after the procedure and decreases each day thereafter.  Taking your pain relievers will provide substantial relief for most patients.

It is important to try and eat some food with each dose of medications.  It is important to protect your stomach from irritation.  It is not unusual to experience nausea and heartburn after the procedure.  Food will help to minimize this side effect.

Tylenol:  You may use Tylenol for pain.  However, avoid medications containing aspirin and Vitamin E for one week.  These medications can inhibit the blood’s ability to form a clot.

3.  Possible Side Effects

Fever:  A mildly elevated temperature is common of the Uterine Artery Embolization and occurs in approximately 20-25 % of patients.  This can be treated with Tylenol.  The fever is a side effect of the fibroids dying and does not indicate infection.  However, notify your physician if the groin entry site has increased redness, pain, or yellow/greenish discharge.  A prolonged, spiking, or markedly elevated temperature greater than 102 Fahrenheit may be a sign of infection.  Generally any infection that may develop relative to the procedure would be much more likely to develop in a week to several weeks after the procedure.

Discharge or Spotting:  A brown/gray vaginal discharge after the embolization is considered normal.  This is primarily the case as the fibroid tissue degenerates and is discharged from the uterus.  You may use either a tampon or sanitary napkin, whichever you prefer.  However, if discharge is foul smelling or abundant, this might indicate either an infection or partial passage of a portion of the fibroid and may require gynecologic evaluation.  Also, be aware that pain that arises several days or weeks after the initial procedure may require further assessment.  Please contact your Gynecologist or Interventional Radiology Office. 

Menstrual Periods:  Your menstrual cycle may begin just after the procedure.  This is normal.  Your first menstrual period may be heavier, lighter or the same.  If abnormal menstrual bleeding is one of the primary reasons for having embolization, do not become discouraged.  It is quite common that it may take two or even three periods before improvement in the bleeding is noted.  Almost every patient will have improvement by the third month after the procedure.

  • The first and possibly the second menstrual periods may be more uncomfortable than typical.  Some patients tend to have increased cramps during these periods.  This should resolve as the fibroid(s) shrink.  The fibroid(s) take approximately six weeks to three months to significantly shrink and therefore short term results should not be expected.

Hormonal Changes:  Some patients may experience symptoms as a result of changes in their hormonal balance after the procedure.  Fibroids are estrogen driven.  As the fibroids die, there may be a sudden change in hormones.  Some women experienced mild depression, which subsided within a few days.  Others experienced “hot flashes” and/or night sweats.  We found these symptoms to be self-limiting and resolved without treatment.

 

It is important to note your OB/GYN remains the primary caregiver for your reproductive health.

Please contact the Interventional Radiology Office at 802- 847-8359 to schedule a post procedure visit within 7-10 days of treatment.

If you have any questions or need to reschedule an appointment please feel free to contact the Interventional Radiology Office at 802- 847-8359. Our business hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Someone is available to take your call after hours for emergencies.

This information is provided by the Fletcher Allen Health Care, Department of Radiology, Division of Interventional Radiology and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact your health care provider.