Fibroid Treatment Options
Uterine fibroids are benign meaning non-cancerous tumors of the uterus composed of smooth muscle found normally in the uterus. Sometimes uterine fibroids are asymptomatic, and many women are not aware of the presence of the disease. But most often, patients have significant fibroid symptoms, which makes life very difficult.
Do I Need Treatment For Mild Fibroid Symptoms?
When symptoms are mild or not presenting, trying to eat healthily, lose weight, and exercise will be very helpful. Fibroids are estrogen-sensitive, and estrogen is stored in fat. Therefore, reducing body fat will help retard fibroid growth.
There are some naturopathic medicines that can help with mild fibroid symptoms. Your doctor may also try non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as Motrin/ibuprofen, Naproxen, etc., or birth control pills to treat mild symptoms.
How Can I Treat Symptomatic Fibroids?
As the symptoms worsen, in the past surgery was often performed. If a woman was interested in future fertility she underwent myomectomy – removing a portion of the fibroids and sewing the uterus back together. If she had completed childbearing, she would undergo hysterectomy – complete removal of the uterus with or without the ovaries.
If your fibroids cause heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and/or other unpleasant symptoms, you should not wait, the myomas will not disappear on their own. Even if your doctor discovers that you have a uterine fibroid, it’s not necessarily a cause for concern.
Millions of women have uterine fibroids and are able to lead healthy, productive lives. If you start to notice symptoms, however, your doctor may seriously discuss your treatment options.
1. Fibroid Surgery Pros & Cons
There are different options for removing fibroids. Some of them, e.g. myomectomy, remove the tumors that are visible and that the surgeon can reach. Therefore, there is a high risk that the patient will need additional operations in 3-5 years. This method does not guarantee complete relief.
Hysterectomy, another common fibroid surgery, can get rid of uterine fibroids. But at the same time, the uterus is removed, which leads to the loss of ability to have children and may lead to various often severe complications.
In addition, like any surgery, fibroid surgery can lead to surgical risks, i.e. blood infection, adhesions, and the scar on the uterus.
Below are a few other alternatives to invasive surgeries for uterine fibroids.
2. Healthy Lifestyle Habits to Slow Down Fibroids Growth
If your doctor discovers fibroids that are asymptomatic, he or she may recommend “watchful waiting.” To reduce your likelihood of developing more serious fibroids, you might quit smoking and adopt healthier lifestyle habits.
- A healthy diet is at the core of healthy living. Try to cut out unhealthy fats and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. After menopause, the fibroids will likely shrink without further intervention.
- Regular exercises can help reduce mild fibroid symptoms or prevent them from occurring. Most doctors recommend getting at least 150 minutes of exercise every week.
3. Birth Control Pills for Fibroids
Birth control pills aren’t just for contraception—they also have medical uses for some women. Some types of birth control can help in the following ways.
- Hormone control: Hormones are directly related to the development and growth of uterine fibroids. Birth control can control certain hormones, limiting the fibroids’ growth.
- Reduced bleeding: Heavy menstrual bleeding is a common symptom of severe uterine fibroids. Birth control can help reduce bleeding and other symptoms associated with fibroids.
4. Uterine Fibroid Embolization – The Best Fibroid Treatment Option
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a very effective treatment for uterine fibroids. UFE is safe, painless, and non-invasive.
UFE involves the injection of tiny particles into each uterine artery, cutting off the blood supply to every fibroid in the uterus. Without a blood supply, the fibroids will die off, resulting in softening and shrinking of all the fibroids. As this occurs, a woman’s symptoms begin to resolve.
If you are suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, or other symptoms of uterine fibroids, you may be a candidate for uterine fibroid embolization. Contact Atlanta Fibroid Center® to schedule a consultation with the nation-leading fibroid expert Dr. John Lipman.