Uterine Fibroids can be treated with many treating options. If you experience any of the uterine fibroid symptoms, you may consult your doctor for seeking relief. Like many other women, you may not experience any of the uterine fibroids symptoms or signs.
And, even if you experience any of the symptoms, they are mild and tolerable and do not require treatment. In such a case, it is the best option for you to wait and be watchful. Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) growths and may very rarely interfere with your pregnancy.
Medications for treating uterine fibroids
There are medications for treating uterine fibroids that target your reproductive hormones that otherwise help in regulating your menstrual cycle. These medications are also usually used for treating Menorrhagia (abnormally heavy bleeding at menstruation) and pelvic pressure.
These medications do not remove the fibroids, but help in their shrinkages to get relief from the symptoms. These medications are:
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) Agonists
They block the estrogen and progesterone hormones production and place you into post-menopausal state temporarily. The net result of this is that your periods halt, the fibroids begin shrinking and, thus, your anemia generally starts improving. If your doctor and you are planning a surgery for removal of fibroids, you may be prescribed a Gn-RH agonist before the surgery.
The agonist will help in shrinking the fibroid size. Many a woman may develop considerable hot flashes while they are using Gn-RH agonists. Gn-RH agonists are generally used for a limited period of time, i.e. three to six months. The symptoms of uterine fibroids may return when the use of agonists is stopped. Long-term usage of agonists may cause bone losses.
Progestin-releasing Intrauterine Device (IUD)
A progestin-releasing Intrauterine Device (IUD)ad may help in relieving the conditions like Menorrhagia caused by uterine fibroids. The progestin-releasing IUD helps only in relieving the symptoms and apparently does not help in either shrinking or disappearing the fibroids.
Your doctor may suggest you some other medications, such as oral contraceptives or progestins. These medicines help in controlling excessive bleeding during your periods only.
They neither reduce the fibroid size nor make them disappear. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, called NSAIDs are non-hormonal medicines. They are found to be effective in providing relief in fibroids-related pain.
They do not provide relief in reducing the heavy bleeding that is caused by fibroids. For relief in heavy menstrual/periods bleeding and the related anemia, your doctor may advise you to take vitamin and iron supplements.
Non-invasive treatment methods
Focused Ultrasound Surgery (FUS) is a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)-guided is a newer technology procedure and the researchers are studying it more about its long-term usefulness.
The data collected so far on this show that the FUS procedure for uterine fibroids is being considered quite secure and successful because:
- It is a non-invasive cure for uterine fibroids that helps preserve your uterus.
- It requires no cut in your belly or elsewhere in your body.
- The procedure can be performed as an outpatient. That means the patient does not need hospitalization and overnight stay.
- The procedure is performed inside an MRI scanner, which is outfitted with an ultrasound transducer of high energy for treating fibroids. With the help of scanned images, the doctor comes to know the exact location of the uterine fibroids and target the fibroids. Sound waves, called sonications, are focused into your fibroids by the ultrasound transducer. The high-frequency energy emanating from sounds heats up the fibroid growth and destroys small areas of the fibroid tissue.
Minimally Invasive Methods
There are certain methods that can destroy your uterine fibroids without without essentially removing them with the help of a surgery. These include:
Uterine Artery Embolization
Some medications/synthetic materials, known as embolic agents, are injected into the arteries supplying blood to the uterus, thus, obstructing flow of blood to the fibroids. This way, in the absence of the blood supply, the fibroids begin shrinking and eventually die their natural death.
The Uterine Artery Embolization is considered to be very valuable in shrinking fibroids. Besides, it helps in providing relief in its symptoms. However, there may arise complications in case the blood supply to the ovaries and other organs is compromised.
This is a laparoscopic procedure, wherein a laser or electric current is used to wipe out the fibroids. The laser or the electric current also shrinks the blood vessels that feed the fibroids.
In a comparable procedure, known as Cryomyolysis, the fibroids are made inactive by freezing them. The doctors generally do not use Myolysis procedure. The researchers are instead studying another version of this method known as Radiofrequency Ablation.
In the Myomectomy procedure, your treating doctor will remove the fibroids, keeping the uterus intact. In case the fibroids are small in size and fewer in number, your doctor may advise you go in for a laparoscopy or robotic myomectomy procedure. In both these procedures, slender instruments are inserted by making small incisions in the abdomen for removing the fibroids from the uterus.
Your doctor will examine the images of your abdominal area on a monitor provided by a small camera, which is affixed with one of the instruments. During Robotic Myomectomy procedure, your doctor will get a puffed up, 3-D images of your uterus. That means the doctor can use the technique for more accuracy and with skill.
In case you have developed submuscosal uterine fibroids inside your uterus, you may be advised to opt for this procedure. Your doctor will access your uterus by inserting instruments through your vagina and cervix and remove the fibroids.
Endometrial Ablation and Removal of Submucosal Fibroids
In this kind of treatment, a specific instrument is placed into your uterus that may use either microwave energy, or high temperature, or electrical current or even hot water. The uterine lining is destroyed using these powered energies.
After this procedure, either your menstruation may either end completely or the menstrual flow will get reduced. Generally, endometrial ablation is useful in preventing abnormal menstrual bleeding.
Submucosal fibroids may be eliminated when hysteroscopy is performed for endometrial ablation. Remember, the procedure does not affect the fibroids grown on the exterior part of the uterine lining.
Traditional Surgical Procedures
The traditional surgical procedures for the uterine fibroids treatment are:
In case you have developed compound fibroids and they are extraordinarily large and deep, your doctor may choose to perform an open abdominal surgical method for removing the fibroids. Many people, who think that hysterectomy is the sole option, have misconception in their mind. You can always opt for Abdominal Myomectomy instead.
During this surgical procedure, your uterus is removed. It is thought to be the permanent solution for getting rid of the uterine fibroids. Hysterectomy is a major surgical operation.
Since the uterus, wherein an embryo grows and develops into a baby, is removed, your ability to bear a child ends. And, if you choose to have your ovaries also removed, it will bring you on menopause. Mostly, women having uterine fibroids prefer keeping their ovaries intact.
Risk of recurring new fibroids
Excepting hysterectomy, in all the surgical operations mentioned above, seedling (tiny tumors) that do not get detected during the surgery may eventually develop and create symptoms that may require treatment. Besides, fresh fibroids that may or may not need treatment may also develop.