Treatment options for fibroids include:
- Watchful Waiting
Because fIbroids are not cancerous and rarely interfere with pregnancy, a “watchful waiting” approach may be the best treatment. Fibroids usually grow slowly and often shrink after the onset of menopause, when hormone levels drop.
A hysterectomy is the only proven permanent solution for uterine fibroids. Of course, hysterectomy is major surgery that renders a woman incapable of bearing children. If the hysterectomy includes removal of the ovaries, it causes the immediate onset of menopause. Because fibroids are so often benign and do not commonly cause any pain or discomfort, treating them with a hysterectomy is usually not required.
A fibroidectomy involves the removal of masses from the uterus using one of several procedures, including:
- Hysteroscopic myomectomy, which is used for fibroids that are just under the lining of the uterus and that protrude into the uterine cavity. There is no need for a surgical incision. The provider inserts a flexible scope called a hysteroscope into the uterus through the vagina and cervix and removes the fibroids using special surgical tools fitted to the scope.
- Laparoscopic Myomectomy: Laparoscopic myomectomy may be used if the fibroid is on the outside of the uterus. Small incisions are made, allowing the provider to insert two probes into the abdominal cavity in order to remove the fibroids. The first probe contains a tiny camera, while the second probe is fitted with surgical instruments inside. This procedure is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia.
- Abdominal Myomectomy: During this procedure, an incision is made in the abdomen to access the uterus, and another incision is made in the uterus to remove the tumor. Once the fibroids are removed, the uterine wall is repaired.
- Uterine Artery Embolization
This approach, sometimes referred to as a UAE, blocks the arteries that supply blood to the fibroids, causing them to shrink. It is a minimally-invasive procedure, which means that it requires only a tiny incision, and is usually performed while the patient is conscious but sedated.
Medications for uterine fibroids target hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle, treating symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pressure. There are several different medications available to treat fibroids. Your provider can tell you more about what options are best for you.