Being diagnosed with uterine fibroids may be overwhelming. Fortunately, you have options—and lots of them. From medications to surgery, and less-invasive options in between, you can find the fibroid treatment that’s right for you.

Use the below table of fibroid treatment options as a way to prepare yourself for a talk with your gynecologist. Your gynecologist will discuss each treatment in detail, including the pros and cons, to help develop a care plan.

Fibroid Treatment Options1,2

Treatment Option Description
Medications
GnRH agonist (Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogue therapy) It causes temporary chemical menopause to help shrink fibroids.
Hormonal intrauterine device (Iud) The Iud is placed in the uterus, and the hormones released may reduce heavy menstrual bleeding.
Tranexamic acid (Lysteda, Cyklokapron) This is a nonhormonal medication used to ease heavy menstrual periods.
Other medications There are other medications your doctor may recommend. They can include:

  • Oral contraceptives: May help with menstrual bleeding but not fibroid size.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): May help relieve pain due to fibroids, but they don’t lessen bleeding.
  • Vitamins: Your doctor may recommend you take iron if you’re anemic due to heavy menstrual bleeding.

Non-Invasive Procedures

Mri-directed ultrasound technique

 

Using imaging guidance, high-intensity focused ultrasound energy is applied, heating and destroying fibroid tissue.

A doctor called a radiologist performs Mri-directed ultrasound. The procedure is completed with the patient under sedation.

Minimally Invasive Procedures

Uterine fibroid embolization (Ufe) also called uterine artery embolization (Uae)

Small particles called embolic material are injected into the vessels that supply fibroids with blood. By blocking fibroid blood supply, fibroids shrink and symptoms improve.

A doctor called an interventional radiologist performs Ufe using imaging guidance. The procedure is completed with the patient under sedation. 

Radiofrequency ablation Radiofrequency energy is used to destroy uterine fibroids and shrink the blood vessels that supply them. This can be done laparoscopically or via a transcervical procedure.

Once a fibroid is found, your doctor uses a specialized device to distribute several small needles into the fibroid. The needles heat the fibroid tissue and destroy it. The destroyed fibroid becomes soft and over time shrinks, improving symptoms.

A similar procedure to this called cryomyolysis freezes the fibroids instead of using heat.

Endometrial ablation Your doctor inserts a specialized instrument into your uterus, and then heat, microwave energy, hot water, or an electric current destroys the uterine lining to stop menstruation or reduce menstrual bleeding.

Surgical Procedures

Endometrial resection

A thin device called a hysteroscope is used to look inside the uterus. Fibroids partially or completely inside the cavity of the uterus and partially in the wall of the uterus are cut out. These ‘submucosal’ fibroids usually cause heavy periods.

Myomectomy

Fibroids are surgically removed. It can be done via laparoscopy (keyhole surgery) or laparotomy (an incision in the lower abdomen).

Hysterectomy

This procedure involves the partial or complete removal of the uterus.

REFERENCES

  1. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health. 2020. “Fibroids.” Retrieved from https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/vulva-vagina-ovaries-uterus/fibroids#
  2. Mayo Clinic. n.d. “Uterine Fibroids.” Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354294