Up to 25% of women have uterine fibroids
but many are unaware because they often can occur without symptoms. However, uterine fibroids can cause a myriad of symptoms including but not limited to constipation, frequent urination, heavy menstrual bleeding or prolonged menstrual periods, pain or pressure in the pelvic region, backache or difficulty emptying the bladder.
The causes of uterine fibroids are unknown but clinical evidence points to contributing factors like estrogen, progesterone, genetic changes and growth factors.
Current treatment is limited to lessening symptoms with menopause manipulation, implanting an IUD to control heavy bleeding and guided MRI ultrasound therapy. More invasive procedures such as the hysterectomy and an abdominal myomectomy are available but require significant recovery time and/or induction of early menopause.
If you’re uncomfortable with current treatment options or are having difficulty alleviating uterine fibroids with the treatments available, these are a few new medical options in development to treat uterine fibroids:
- Vilaprisan – It is a progesterone receptor modulator that serves to inhibit progesterone activities with the potential to develop uterine fibroids. Presently, there isn’t a full spectrum pharmacological treatment available for long-term use to manage associated symptoms. Vilaprisan brings about amenorrhea in healthy women and this condition serves to lessen uterine fibroids. This is key because uterine fibroids often regrow. This treatment option is currently in clinical trials. See your doctor to determine if you’re a candidate.
- Lupron is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone usually prescribed on pre-surgical environments to shrink fibroids. While effective, it is not safe for long-term use. Side of effects of Lupron include bone thinning, depression, headaches and hot flashes.
- Uterine Artery Embolization is a fairly new technique that limits blood flow to uterine fibroids. Lack of blood flow causes fibroids to shrink and eventually die. Internal catheters inject polyvinyl alcohol and these particles serve to inhibit blood flow to the fibroids. Post procedure patient protocols are strict, as patients must lie flat for six hours afterward.
Regardless of chosen treatment options, you should be evaluated periodically to monitor fibroid activity and growth. Uterine fibroids don’t have to limit your life – see your doctor to determine the best option for you.