Treatment Options for Uterine Fibroids
In most cases, fibroids are treated only if they are causing symptoms. Treatment options may include the following:
None of the drug therapies for uterine fibroids get rid of them entirely. Some of the drugs work by lowering estrogen and/or progesterone and may shrink fibroids and relieve symptoms. Other methods of treatment, such as using contraceptive pills, have been shown to control excessive menstrual bleeding, but do not affect the size of the fibroid.
The most common surgical procedures for removing fibroids is myomectomy (surgery to remove fibroids) or hysterectomy (surgery to remove the entire uterus).
For women who want to preserve their uterus and have completed child-bearing, there are the following minimally invasive options:
- Uterine artery embolism (UAE). A procedure that consists of a catheter threaded through the arteries to deliver small particles that block the blood supply to the uterine body and cause the fibroids to shrink over time.
- Acessa procedure. A minimally invasive surgical procedure that utilizes a technology called radiofrequency ablation, and treats each fibroid by applying energy through a small needle array. The surrounding normal uterine tissue is not damaged or otherwise affected. Over time, the treated fibroid tissue shrinks and may become completely reabsorbed by the body. Acessa is performed under general anesthesia, and only two very small (approximately ¼”) abdominal incisions are needed during the procedure – there is no cutting, suturing or removal of the uterus itself.