Uterine fibroids are benign growths in the womb that might or might not cause symptoms, being often discovered during routine pelvic exam. The cause that leads to the appearance of fibroid is not fully understood, but specialists consider hormonal fluctuations to be the trigger. The symptoms of uterine fibroids are extremely varied, from irregular or very heavy and very long menstrual periods to pelvic pain and lumps in the breasts and from hot flashes and night sweats to frequent urination and backaches. While uterine fibroids are usually benign, they might interfere with the woman’s ability to become pregnant.
Uterine fibroids are usually considered treatable – here are some of the most common treatment options.
The women who have asymptomatic fibroids usually do not need treatment. However, fibroids might start changing anytime, therefore regular visits to the gynecologist are very important for making sure that any modification in the size and the number of the fibroids is discovered in time and addressed properly.
The medication used for the treatment of uterine fibroids are intended to regulate the hormonal imbalances behind the problem, mainly targeting the restoration of the estrogen-progesterone balance or the shrinkage of the fibroids. Here are some options:
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists – these medications block the production of estrogen and progesterone for a short time, discontinuing menstruation and putting the body into a state that is similar to menopause. During the treatment, the hormone supply to the fibroids will be cut, causing them to shrink and in some case, even to disappear completely;
- Intrauterine devices that release progestin – these devices might help with the symptoms related to fibroids, but they do not make the fibroids shrink or disappear. The devices have contraceptive effects, therefore they prevent pregnancy;
- Pain medication and help with heavy bleeding – these drugs help only with the symptoms related to fibroids, they do not cause them to become smaller or to disappear.
There are several surgical methods used as fibroid treatment, selected based on the patient’s age, the size, number and position of the fibroids in the uterus and the patient’s intention to bear children in the future:
- Uterine artery embolization – this method involves the injection of small particles into the arteries that supply the uterus with blood. The particles will cut off the blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink or to disappear;
- Radiofrequency ablation – this method also targets the blood supply to the fibroids through a laparoscopic or trans-cervical intervention;
- Myomectomy – this surgical option involves the laparoscopic removal of the fibroids without removing the uterus;
- Hysterectomy – the most radical treatment option of them all, hysterectomy involves the removal of the entire uterus.
Of all the surgical methods, hysterectomy is known to be the only permanent solution to uterine fibroids, but it is a major surgical intervention that ends the patient’ ability to bear children and induces menopause instantly. The results achieved through the other options might or might not be permanent – in many cases, uterine fibroids grow back and start causing problems again after a certain period, usually within a couple years after the intervention. Find out the latest in uterine fibroid treatments through an interventional radiologist near me in Fort Collins for proven results.