uterine fibroids are harmless, do not cause symptoms,
and shrink with
menopause. But some fibroids are painful, press on
other internal organs, bleed and cause
anemia, or cause pregnancy problems. If you have a
fibroid problem, there are several treatments to consider. Fibroids can be
surgically removed, the blood supply to fibroids can be cut off, the entire
uterus can be removed, or medicine can temporarily shrink fibroids. Your choice
will depend on whether you have severe symptoms and whether you want to
preserve your fertility.
Watchful waiting for minimal fibroid symptoms or when nearing menopause
If you have uterine fibroids but you have few or no
symptoms, you don't need treatment. Instead, your doctor will
watchful waiting. This means that you will have
regular pelvic exams to check on fibroid growth and symptoms. Talk with your
doctor about how often you will need a checkup.
you are nearing
menopause, watchful waiting may be an option for you,
depending on how tolerable your symptoms are. After menopause, your
progesterone levels will drop, which causes most
fibroids to shrink and symptoms to subside.
For heavy menstrual bleeding or pain
If you have
pain or heavy menstrual bleeding, it may be from a bleeding
uterine fibroid. But it may also be linked to a simple
menstrual cycle problem or other problems. For more
information, see the topic
Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding. The following medicines are used to relieve heavy
menstrual bleeding, anemia, or painful periods, but they do not shrink
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) therapy
improves menstrual cramping and reduces bleeding for many women. But there is
no evidence that NSAIDs relieve pain or bleeding specifically caused by
Birth control hormones (pill, patch, or ring) lighten
menstrual bleeding and pain while preventing pregnancy.
- An intrauterine device (IUD) that releases small amounts of the hormone progesterone into the uterus may reduce heavy menstrual bleeding.
progestin shot (Depo-Provera) every 3 months may
lighten your bleeding. It also prevents pregnancy. Based on different studies,
progestin may shrink fibroids or may make them grow.3 This might be different for each
- Iron supplements, available without a prescription, are an
important part of correcting
anemia caused by fibroid blood loss.
For infertility and pregnancy problems
If you have
fibroids, there is no way of knowing for certain whether they are affecting
your fertility. Fibroids are the cause of infertility in only a small number of women. Many women with fibroids have no trouble getting pregnant.4
If a fibroid distorts the wall of the
uterus, it can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
This may make an
in vitro fertilization less likely to be successful,
if the fertilized egg doesn't implant after it is transferred to the
Surgical fibroid removal,
myomectomy, is the only fibroid treatment that may
improve your chances of having a baby.4 Because
fibroids can grow again, it is best to try to become pregnant as soon as
possible after a myomectomy.