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Causes and Treatment

Treatment options for fibroids

There are a wide range of treatment options for fibroids. Many factors influence treatment choice. These include symptoms, fibroid location, size and number, age, reproductive plans and a woman's preferences.

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRH agnosits)

This medication is offered through an injection (shot), either every month or every three months, or an oral medication, and puts you in a temporary state of menopause. While on the medication the fibroids shrink. Once the medication is stopped, the fibroids usually re-grow and symptoms return. GnRH agonists are usually used to prepare women for surgery or to treat women who are close to their natural menopause, after which, fibroids usually shrink on their own. GnRH agonists are not usually used for long-term treatment.

Progestins (oral, by injection or intra-uterine device [IUD]), oral contraceptive pills, androgenic agents (such as danazol) and anti-estrogens (such as raloxifene) may be used to try to control heavy bleeding in women with fibroids. Although studies show they offer limited benefit.

Surgical options

Uterine Artery Embolization/Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UAE/UFE)

Uterine Artery Embolization or Fibroid Embolization are performed by an interventional radiologist who places small pellets inside the artery that feeds the fibroids. The blood flow to the fibroid is thereby blocked, leading to necrosis and a gradual shrinkage of the fibroid. To learn more, click here for the Society of Interventional Radiology and American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound

MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound uses ultrasound energy to heat and destroy the fibroid and cause it to gradually shrink.  

Fibroids can also be treated with hysterectomy, which involves removing the uterus with the fibroids.