Oral Medications for Treating Uterine Fibroids
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Oral Treatment Options for Uterine Fibroid Treatment

Women suffering from symptoms of uterine fibroids require treatment. Today there are a number of less invasive options available for treating uterine fibroids including oral medications.

When looking at the treatment options for uterine fibroids, it is important to consider the age, general health and severity of the symptoms, as well as the obstetric history of the patient.2 Depending on the size and location of the fibroids, most women can still successfully bare children provided they are under the watchful eye of their obstetrician.

Oral Medication, be it pharmaceutical or natural, play an important role in the “wait and see” phase of this condition. It is important to note that medication cannot remove the fibroid but will shrink it and alleviate many associated symptoms. Once medication is stopped the fibroid will grow again albeit slowly.3 Oral Medications enable one to manage the condition without compromising the function of the reproductive system. 
 

Oral Medications for Treating Uterine Fibroids Include:

 
• For pain and discomfort, NSAID's (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Ibuprofen and Naprosyn , are appropriate and sufficient in pain control.

• Often a birth control pills containing estrogen and progesterone (two of the main female hormones) will be prescribed in order to regulate the menstrual cycle and diminish the flow of blood. Estrogen is the main hormone responsible for the rapid growth of fibroids and so a delicate balance is struck in administering the oral hormones to shrink and arrest the growth of the fibroids.

Iron supplements and Vitamin B12 are often prescribed to prevent or treat the anemia that can accompany persistent heavy menses (periods). Once the menstrual cycle is under control again, the patient's anemia will gradually disappear and iron supplements can be discontinued. The patient would be advised to pay close attention to her diet in order to ensure that she is getting enough iron from dark green and leafy vegetables.

Progestin which is a drug in synthetic form very similar to Progesterone, would be administered and used in conjunction with anti-inflammatory agents. It can be very helpful in reducing the heavy menstrual bleeding associated with some fibroids. Progestin is often applied as an Intra Uterine Device (IUD) if the patient is a good candidate for such a device.

Danazol is less used today but can still be effective although unpleasant side effects have made this drug less popular. Testosterone is the “male” hormone and it is found naturally in small quantities in the female having different functions than in the male. It is the Testosterone in Danazol that has given the drug its unpopular reputation. The drug is useful in suppressing the growth of fibroid, but the side effects of weight gain, facial hair and a deepening voice have caused patient to shy away from it.

Since progesterone is the “pregnancy” hormone and estrogen is the main culprit in the growth of fibroids, most fibroids do not cause a major issue during pregnancy unless they compromise the uterine cavity in which case a premature birth may occur and elective caesarian section is planned.

Oral medications for uterine fibroids is one course of treatment to consider prior to a planned pregnancy as it can shrink the fibroids sufficiently for the pregnancy to progress to term. Once the patient has had her child and the fibroids become larger and more difficult to manage then surgical intervention may be considered. 

The most radical form of surgery is a hysterectomy, in which the uterus is removed but that would be better suited to a postmenopausal woman.

There are other less invasive treatments available today including laser treatment and MR guided focused ultrasound surgery where the fibroids are targeted and destroyed without damaging the surrounding tissue. It is important that you consult with your doctor about the best treatment option for you.

Learn about MR guided focused ultrasound surgery for treating uterine fibroids

References:

(1) The Mayo Clinic - http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/uterine-fibroids/DS00078/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs
(2) Women's Health Online resource - http://www.womens-health.co.uk/medicine_fibroids.html
(3) Merck Manual Of Medical Information - 2nd edition, Simon and Shuster Co 2004.