Some women may only need medical therapy to treat fibroids. Medications for fibroids do not provide a cure. But they can often manage the pain, pressure and bleeding associated with these tumors while avoiding more invasive approaches.
Our doctors can help you determine if fibroid medications are an option for you.
Hormone therapy for uterine fibroids targets hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle. Doing so treats symptoms, such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pressure.
These medications don't eliminate fibroids. Rather, they may relieve symptoms.
Hormone therapy options include:
For fibroids that are in the uterus’ walls rather than in its cavity, our gynecologist can place an IUD during an office visit. These IUDs release the hormone progestin.
While IUDs don’t shrink fibroids or make them disappear, they can relieve the heavy bleeding and pain (but not the pressure) that fibroids can cause.
This approach can provide an effective treatment for women nearing menopause who want to try medication for their symptoms.
Normally, a control center in your brain sends out gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH), which triggers your ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone. Medications called Gn-RH agonists (Lupron™, Synarel™, others) target these same areas in the body.
Instead of increasing estrogen and progesterone levels, these medications cause them to decrease. Menstruation then stops, fibroids shrink over several months and anemia (low red blood cells) often improves.
These medications can only be used for a few months, though. They are also not routinely given to reproductive-aged women since the effects aren’t long-lasting.
Side effects of Gn-HR agonists are similar to those of menopause:
These side effects can be relieved by adding back estrogen and progesterone, which doesn’t affect the benefits of treatment.
Other medications treat fibroids without using hormones:
Doctors use NSAIDs, a class of medication, to treat cramping and pain caused by fibroids. By targeting the specific hormones responsible for cramping, NSAIDs can help reduce symptoms. These medications do not shrink fibroids and should not be used at high doses for prolonged periods of time.
TXA is a medication that works to help blood clotting. By boosting the blood’s ability to clot, TXA helps decrease the amount of vaginal bleeding a woman experiences.
Doctors most often use this medication in severe circumstances, such as when a woman has heavy bleeding. It’s generally not used long-term. While it does not shrink fibroids or help with pain, it can prevent women from having excessive bleeding and anemia.
Medical centers are studying additional medications for fibroid treatment, but for now, these are considered investigational (still in research).