Uterine fibroids are commonly experienced by a large population of women around the world. Fibroids are growths or tumors that are benign in nature. These can often start forming inside the uterus, and in most cases do not cause problems or symptoms, diminishing naturally after menopause. The most common age where these tumors can form is the 30s and 40s, and the causative factors that result in the formation of these is yet unknown.
Although uterine fibroids do not mostly cause problems, there might be instances of pain, excessive bleeding, pregnancy related problems, anemia or risk of cancer. For women who experience these problems, there a a number of uterine fibroid treatments that can be availed.
Treatment of uterine fibroids can be accomplished in many ways. The most common techniques involve –
- Shrinking the tumors and treating the symptoms through medication
- Cutting off or ligating the blood supply to the tumors
- Surgical removal of the tumors
- Surgical removal of the entire uterus, or hysterectomy.
Hysterectomy is the most commonly used surgical procedure that is used for fibroid tumor treatment. While it can an ideal option for women who are nearing menopause, younger women who want to preserve their ability to have children are usually not recommended this procedure as it entails the removal of the entire uterus.
Medication is another way of keeping the signs and symptoms of fibroids at bay. A class of medication usually prescribed by doctors in these situations is gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists. These medications stunt the growth of fibroids and cause them to shrink, while also taking care of the disturbing symptoms.
Newer techniques of uterine fibroid treatments are also gaining popularity around the world. These techniques usually focus on killing or removing the fibroids in a non-invasive manner. Innovative, imaging-guided techniques like radiofrequency ablation and MR guided focused ultrasound are being used successfully to fully treat uterine fibroids without causing damage to surrounding organs or blood vessels. Radiofrequency ablation is non-invasive enough to be carried out in outpatient facilities, and treated women do not need to stay longer than a few hours. They can also resume normal lives in 5 to 9 days of postoperative recuperation. MR guided focused ultrasound uses heat to kill fibroids and has no effect on other bodily functions.
With all these uterine fibroid treatments available, the choice is mostly made keeping into account factors like age, severity of symptoms, the number and size of fibroids, the general physical condition of affected women and the possibility of future pregnancy.