Fibroids and vein issues (like varicose veins) are issues that have an extensive negative impact on the life of the sufferer. Naturally, sufferers would want to find safe, effective, and affordable treatment for these issues. FiVe CLinics currently has 2 locations in Ohio (Hilliard and Westerville) but are planning to open one on the east side Columbus by end of September. FiVe clinics are proud to offer expertise to treat these conditions in an office based setting and have changed many lives for the better.
FiVe Clinics was able to answer a few questions for us.
How did the Five Clinics business get created?
The word Five, in this instance, is actually an amalgamation of the first two characters of two different words – Fibroid & Vein. We wanted to convey the sense that the clinic caters to only two medical conditions that predominantly affect women. The awareness for these conditions is comparatively low, and we wanted to be able to start these discussions, raise awareness about the existence of conditions that affect up to 80% of a certain patient population.
What are fibroids, and what are the most common symptoms?
Fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the uterus – are the most common pelvic tumor in women. Fibroids are also a major reason that women decide to undergo hysterectomies or myomectomies.
- Heavy bleeding during the menstrual cycle
- Prolonged periods – lasting more than a week
- Increased menstrual cramping
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Painful intercourse
- Increased frequency of urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder during urination
- Backache or leg pains
Are there any racial disparities in the epidemiology of fibroids?
Various different medical studies demonstrate that African-American women suffer fibroids 2 to 3 times more than white women. Black women tend to experience fibroids at a younger age and often more severely than their Caucasian peers. It is likely that 25% of African-American women will suffer from fibroids by the age of 25, and 80% will have them by age 50, contrast this with 70% for Caucasian females.
Why do Fibroids occur more frequently for African American women?
The topic is a theme of many studies but unfortunately though no clear cause has been identified on the reason behind this bias. Researchers have found a number of elements that are linked to this disparity, but the association is not the same as causation, and that must be underscored. Some of the known hypothesis for the disparity, in no particular order, are:
- A possible genetic element that increases this tendency among African-American women
- One study suggested that greater overall lifetime stress might be the trigger for fibroid formation
- Environmental factors, such as diet or a history of abuse have also been linked to increased risk
- Some evidence suggests a Vitamin D deficiency due to darker skin
Are there any differences lives of these women due to racial inequality?
Well, a very basic fact is that black females suffer from fibroids at an earlier age and in greater numbers. Research suggests that fibroids in black women are less likely to regress after menopause than their white counterparts. Black females suffer needlessly longer before seeking treatment, and a national survey showed that black females wait 4.5 years before seeking medical attention compared with 3.3 years wait period for white females. Rate of hospitalization for fibroids is also noted to be higher in black females. Given all the disparities, the rate of hysterectomies (removal of uterus by surgery) is also higher in black females. One could also hypothesize that there is the economic impact of fibroids on the lives of these women and families.
What are the types of treatments are on offer for women with fibroids?
Various treatment options exist for fibroids. Medical management is available in the form of oral contraceptive pills and intrauterine devices. These are typically used for 3-6 months when menopause is near with thought being that fibroids will regress post-menopause. Sometimes these can be used in preparation for surgery. These are not well tolerated by younger patients due to long term side effects. Hysterectomy – Removal of the uterus where fibroids form – provides the most effective treatment for fibroids and eliminates any chance that they will return, it also eliminates a woman’s ability to get pregnant and comes with substantial risks for complications. Hysterectomy is not necessarily the only or the best option for many women. A myomectomy is an option available for females who want to preserve the uterus. In this kind of surgery, only fibroids are removed from the uterus. This is also classified as major surgery and is not a good option for most women as a number of fibroids in a uterus can be a limiting factor.
In past 2-3 decades, a newer procedure was developed that targets the blood supply to fibroids and spares healthy uterus – Uterine fibroid embolization, also known as Uterine artery embolization has quickly become the gold standard of minimally invasive procedures.
What is the FiVe Clinics difference as it pertains to fibroids?
Five Clinics is the first and only office in central Ohio offering uterine fibroid embolization in an outpatient setting. Patients come to the office, get the procedure and go back home the same day with literally a bandage. We have pioneered the art of delivering excellent care in the office and at an economic benefit that cannot be overlooked. Since the procedure is typically covered by insurance, the cost to patient can be as low as office copay – which for some federally funded plans is Zero.
More information on fibroids and UFE can be found on: https://fiveclinics.com/fibroid/
What causes vein conditions like varicose veins, and why do they affect women more than men?
Varicose veins are dilatated blood vessels that take the blood back to the heart. Varicose veins are thought to be caused by increased levels of a hormone called progesterone. Both males and females produce this hormone; however, women produce more than men. It is this increased production of progesterone that makes women more likely to experience varicose veins. Most common symptoms associated with Varicose veins are:
- Achy or heavy feeling in legs
- Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs, esp around ankles
- Worsening of pain after sitting or standing for a long time.
- Itching around one or more of your veins
- Skin discolouration around a varicose vein or lower leg
- Bleeding from the varicose vein
What are the treatment options for varicose veins sufferers?
All good care starts with self-care. Exercising, maintaining optimal weight, avoiding prolonged standing/sitting can ease and prevent varicose veins from getting worse. Typically, compression stockings are the next step in symptom control, and if they did help, there are various modalities that will help elevate the symptoms. These include sclerotherapy, vein ablation procedure, phlebectomy etc.
Do you need to use any anesthesia for your vein procedures?
None of the procedures we perform in our office require anesthesia. For the vein ablation procedure, a local anesthetic is used. It is similar to numbing medication used before a dentist typically does any work on a tooth. Most patients drive to and from our office and are back to their routine work the next day.
What kind of positive impacts do you see in your patients after their treatment?
It is very satisfying to see patients tell us that they had suffered from excruciating pain for years, and now finally, they can sleep or that they can work out better. We have had athletes that have improved their timing for triathlon after getting veins treated. It is amazing, I call it instant gratification!
Ability to see patient do what they love to, enjoy life, wear the clothes that they want without fear of “red” spots showing up is really heartwarming.
What do you think makes Five Clinics different from others?
We believe in empowered, passionate care delivered by dedicated professionals in a comfortable and reassuring office setting. Our physicians are all board-certified and thought leaders in their fields. At FiVe clinics, we treat patients, not numbers.