Uterine Fibroid Treatment Innovations at Paoli Hospital

Though doctors aren't sure what causes the painful masses to grow, physicians on the Main Line have a solution to the mysterious problem.

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See also Phyllis Bucci's non-surgical options for uterine fibroids.

Illustration by Chris McAllister.The asteroid. That’s what Kimberly Schaffer called the mass on her uterus.

“It was the size of a softball,” she says. “It put so much pressure on my bladder that I was getting up seven times every night to pee. Most of my life centered around finding bathrooms.”

Schaffer lived like that for a long time before she said anything to her doctor. “I didn’t know there was treatment for it,” she says. “I thought I had a small bladder.”

It wasn’t that simple. “My doctor did an ultrasound,” she says. “My uterus was swollen to the size of a woman who was five months pregnant.”

Fourteen days. That’s how long Amanda Hatch’s period lasted. “If I got lucky, it would last only 10 days, which is still double the normal length of a period,” says Hatch. “Basically, I was bleeding for half of every month. And the periods were so heavy that I’d stay home from work on the first day to avoid accidents and try to manage the blood flow.”

Worse than that were the cramps. “‘Doubled over in pain’ is how I’d describe myself,” Hatch says. “I was taking ibuprofen liberally, and it was barely taking the edge off.”

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