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Treatment Options For Fibroids

Treatments For Uterine Fibroid Tumors

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Updated May 30, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Treatment of Fibroids

If your fibroid tumors are severe enough that they cause certain symptoms, surgery is often, the recommended treatment. However, before you consent to hysterectomy, learn about your treatment options. Symptoms which justify surgery include: extremely heavy bleeding during your menstrual cycle, which causes anemia that does not respond to treatment; pain, which has become intolerable to the woman or discomfort caused by the pressure of the fibroids on another organ; or when the location of the tumors is likely to cause further problems.

Surgery for fibroid tumors includes, myomectomy and hysterectomy. Myomectomy is the surgical removal of each individual tumor without damage to the uterus, preserving a woman's ability to conceive. However, fibroids will often grow back and although it is possible to have a myomectomy repeated, multiple myomectomies can cause other problems such as the walls of the uterus sticking together due to scarring.

Women should also consider uterine artery embalization. Uterine artery embalization leaves the uterus intact in a non-surgical procedure. Polyvinyl particles are placed into the uterine artery at a point just before the nexis of vessels spread out into the uterine tissue. The particles flow into the vessels and clog them. This prevents the fibroids from receiving the constant blood supply they require and causes the fibroids shrink overtime. However, almost immediately the symptoms of heavy bleeding and pelvic pain are significantly reduced.

The sad fact is that because fibroids do grow back, most women will eventually have to face a hysterectomy. Removing the uterus is the only permanent way to effectively relieve most women of fibroids.

Hysterectomy is, most often, the procedure of choice for fibroid tumors when a women with severe symptoms, has completed her family and her uterus has grown to the size of a uterus at twelve weeks of pregnancy; a women has excessively large fibroid tumors; severe abnormal bleeding occurs; or when the fibroids are causing problems with other organs such as the bladder and bowels.

Science is starting to evaluate other options for treating fibroids, including the use of Lupron which may be beneficial for those who want to become pregnant or for women approaching menopause when fibroids often shrink naturally. Lupron shrinks fibroids in most women with continued use, but one drawback is that the fibroids will quickly grow back once treatment is stopped.

If you have fibroid tumors, investigate your options before deciding what treatment you want to try. There are many alternatives to hysterectomy currently available, and science is creating more options for women everyday.

See Also:Before You Have A Hysterectomy

Source:

Fibroids. Healthywomen.gov. http://www.healthywomen.org/healthtopics/fibroids. Accessed 08/24/2009.

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