DOVER — Many dream of having children. But for some, like Cherdae Baine, medical conditions can stand in their way.
The now 35-year-old began having issues with uterine fibroids in 2016. By 2018, Ms. Baine’s menstrual periods were so heavy she ended up in the emergency room. This event marked the beginning of her relationship with Bayhealth, a relationship that Ms. Baine said restored her dream of having children and made her believe it would actually come true.
While grateful to everyone at Bayhealth who provided care to her, Ms. Baine said the real turning point came after Interventional Radiologist Niloy Dasgupta performed her uterine fibroid embolization in late November 2020.
Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive, non-surgical option for the treatment of uterine fibroids. Women experiencing fibroid-related symptoms such as excessive menstrual bleeding, frequent urination, bloating or abdominal fullness, constipation, pelvic pain, pain during intercourse or pain in the back of the legs may benefit from undergoing a UFE.
“I had been to the emergency room a few times for blood transfusions. I also was at the point of being tired of dealing with all of the heavy bleeding. I didn’t want to have a hysterectomy, which was the only option left after having some other procedures done. I wanted my husband and I to still have a chance to have at least one child,” said Ms. Baine.
After Ms. Baine told her gynecologist, Noel M. Anupol, she didn’t want to have a hysterectomy, he referred her to Dr. Dasgupta to learn more about the UFE option. As Dr. Dasgupta explained to Ms. Baine, during a UFE, he gives patients a mild sedative and then uses X-ray imaging to guide a catheter through their wrist or upper thigh to the arteries in their uterus. Next, he injects beads smaller than the size of a grain of sand through the catheter into the blood vessels feeding the fibroids. Over time, because of the blocked blood flow to the fibroids, they will shrink in size or possibly disappear.
At first, Ms. Baine wasn’t sure about the UFE option either.
“I was afraid the tiny beads would go somewhere else, not allowing me to get pregnant at all,” she explained. “But Dr. Dasgupta reassured me that wouldn’t happen and they were perfectly safe.”
“I told Cherdae that using careful imaging guidance, I could ensure the beads would safely go to the fibroids and nowhere else,” said Dr. Dasgupta.
Nearly two years after their first conversation, Ms. Baine told Dr. Dasgupta she was ready to have a UFE.
“I’m so grateful he called to check on me and that I talked to him about my fears. Because now that I’ve had my UFE, my only regret is not doing it sooner,” she said.
Dr. Dasgupta performed her UFE on a Friday and Ms. Baine went home on Sunday.
“While some patients can go home the same day, most stay overnight like Cherdae, so they can be monitored and treated for any side effects, which typically include pain, nausea or vomiting, all of which are treatable with medication,” said Dr. Dasgupta.
Ms. Baine said she had some nausea, pain and cramping and vomited once.
“But the side effects didn’t last long,” she added. “And as Dr. Dasgupta explained, the pain and cramping were signs that the UFE worked and my body was healing. Dr. Dasgupta also told me I shouldn’t expect to see any real improvement until after my next period. But I saw a drastic change as soon as I left the hospital. I had more energy because I wasn’t losing any blood.”
Ms. Baine was so happy with her UFE that she spoke with another patient who was considering having one, but was also afraid.
“She was feeling the same way I had felt about not wanting to get it, and I was able to explain everything I went through to reassure her it would be okay. I spoke with her the day of her UFE, the day after, and we have stayed in touch since then,” she said.
Before her UFE, Ms. Baine would bleed through her clothes even when wearing ultra-heavy tampons along with pads and changing them more frequently than usual.
“My period is 100% better now. I can wear a tampon and the pads the way they’re designed to be used,” she said. “I also have more energy and I don’t have to get iron and blood transfusions anymore because I’m no longer anemic. Because of this, I feel like there’s a real possibility that I’ll have a baby one day.”
If uterine fibroids are interfering with quality of life and you’re wondering if UFE might be an option for you, request an appointment with Dr. Dasgupta or one of our other interventional radiologists. Interventional radiologists are doctors specially trained to perform image-guided procedures for specific conditions, including UFE. To schedule an appointment, call 430-5707 (Sussex County) or 744-7060 (Kent County).