There are a lot of natural remedies out there, but let’s understand the cause and effects of fibroids before we decide what to use in treating or ameliorating symptoms. The effectiveness of natural remedies are not yet scientifically proven, but it may work for some; examples are apple cider vinegar, blackstrap molasses
In my opinion, healthy eating is beneficial for some depending on size, number; location and treatment, as well as help, decrease the rate of recurrence.
A lot of women who have fibroids do not have any symptoms. For women who do have symptoms, some medications can help. Discuss with your doctor about the best way to treat your fibroids. Think about the following before you choose a treatment:
• Your symptoms, the size and location of your fibroids
• Your age
• Do you want to become pregnant in the future
• How close to menopause you are
For some women, the fibroids often shrink and disappear without treatment. If you do have symptoms, medications are recommended to help relieve these symptoms or help shrink the fibroids. If these prove ineffective, other less invasive procedures or surgery may be recommended. Below are the various treatments for fibroids.
Drugs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen are used to treat mild pain. If you have heavy bleeding during your period, taking an iron supplement can keep you from getting anemia or correct it if you already are anemic.
Androgens (male hormones)
Your ovaries and your adrenal glands produce androgens. Androgens given as medical therapy can relieve fibroid symptoms. Danazol, a synthetic drug similar to testosterone, may effectively stop menstruation, correct anemia and even shrink fibroid tumors and reduce uterine size. However, random unpleasant side effects, such as weight gain, dysphoria (feeling depressed, anxious or uneasy), acne, headaches, unwanted hair growth and a deeper voice, make many women reluctant to take this drug.
Oral contraceptives help to control menstrual bleeding, but they don’t reduce fibroid size. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are not hormonal medications, are effective for heavy vaginal bleeding unrelated to fibroids, but they don’t reduce bleeding caused by fibroids.
Several drugs commonly used for birth control can be prescribed to help control heavy bleeding or pain. For instance, low-dose birth control pills do not make fibroids grow and can help control heavy bleeding. The same goes for progesterone-like injections. An IUD (intrauterine device) called Mirena® contains a small amount of progesterone-like medication, which can be used to control heavy bleeding as well as for birth control. Side effects IUD include irregular bleeding, acne, headaches and breast pain; it may be difficult to insert with large fibroids.
Other drugs used to treat fibroids are “gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists” (GnRHa). These drugs, given by injection, nasal spray, or implanted, can shrink your fibroids. Sometimes they are used to shrink fibroids pre-surgery to make fibroids easier to remove. Side effects of GnRHas can include symptoms that are similar to having the menopause.
Most women tolerate GnRHas quite well but do not get a period when taking GnRHas. The use of this medicine can bring significant relief to women who have heavy bleeding. It also allows women who have anemia to recover to a normal blood count. GnRHas can cause bone thinning, so their use is limited to six months or less. These drugs also are very expensive. GnRHas offer temporary relief from the symptoms of fibroids; once you stop taking the drugs, the fibroids often grow back rather quickly. Must be taken every day for 21 days before your period, Risk of side effects such as headaches, nausea, breast tenderness and mood swings, May not be effective for large fibroids, Not suitable for women with certain pre-existing conditions, such as heart or liver disease.
If you have fibroids with moderate or severe symptoms, surgery may be the best way to treat them. Here are the options:
Myomectomy is surgery to remove fibroids without taking out the uterus. It is best for women who wish to have children after treatment for their fibroids. You can become pregnant after myomectomy. But if your fibroids were embedded deeply in the uterus, you might need a cesarean section to deliver. Myomectomy can be performed either as a major open surgery, through the vagina or performed with laparoscopy or hysteroscopy. The type of surgery done depends on the kind, size, and location of the fibroids. Unfortunately, after myomectomy, new fibroids can grow and cause trouble later. Healthy living may prevent recurrences.
Hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus. The indication for this surgery is when a woman’s fibroids are large, if she has heavy bleeding, is either near or past menopause or does not want children. In some cases, hysterectomy can be performed through the laparoscope. Removal of the ovaries and the cervix at the time of hysterectomy is usually optional. Women whose ovaries are left behind do not go into menopause after hysterectomy.
Psychological healing after hysterectomy can take time. For some, the emotional trauma of hysterectomy may take much longer to heal than the physical effects. Feeling a little down or having a sense of loss after surgery is normal.
Endometrial Ablation is a procedure whereby the lining of the uterus is removed or destroyed to control massive bleeding. Endometrial ablation is done with laser, wire loops, boiling water, electric current, microwaves, freezing, and other methods. Complications can occur, but are uncommon with most of the methods. Most people recover quickly. About half of women who have this procedure have no more menstrual bleeding. This surgery is for women who do not want to have children anymore. Womb lining may grow back so that a repeat surgery may be needed. Small risk of complications such as inflammation or damage to the uterus may occur.
Myolysis is a guided laparoscopic procedure in which fibroids, are destroyed by electrical current or freezing.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), or Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE) is a procedure in which a thin tube is thread into the blood vessels that supply blood to the fibroid. Then, tiny plastic or gel particles are injected into the blood vessels; this blocks the blood supply to the fibroid, causing it to shrink. Complications, including early menopause, are uncommon but can occur. Studies suggest fibroids are not likely to grow back after UFE, but more long-term research is needed. The best candidates for UFE are women who:
o Have fibroids that are causing heavy bleeding
o Have fibroids that are causing pain or pressing on the bladder or rectum
o Don’t want to have a hysterectomy
o Don’t want to have children in the future
May affect your ability to get pregnant in the future. Small risk of complications such as infection.
What new treatments are available for uterine fibroids?
The following methods are not yet standard procedures, so your doctor may not offer them, or health insurance may not cover them.
Radiofrequency ablation uses heat to destroy fibroid tissue without harming surrounding healthy uterine tissue. The fibroids remain inside the uterus but shrink in size. Most women go home the same day and can return to normal activities within a few days.
Anti-hormonal drugs may provide symptom relief without bone-thinning side effects.
No miracle diet can cause fibroids to disappear, but lifestyle modifications, healthy eating, and exercise can help relieve symptoms. Foods that may shrink fibroids: Fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, soy, flaxseed. Maintain a healthy weight, exercise.
Medicines are used to reduce pain, decrease bleeding or shrink fibroids. Surgery can either be open or laparoscopic/minimally invasive.
Almost all the treatment modalities listed above are available in Nigeria, discuss with your doctor.
Although there are numerous treatment options for uterine fibroids, the choice is rather subjective, so you have to discuss a treatment plan with your doctor based on your preferences and medical conditions.
Find out: Which treatment gives you the best chances of preserving your fertility, Which treatment is most beneficial? Which have the least risks? As we said earlier, there may be no “best” treatment for uterine fibroids. But there is the best treatment for you.
Although a variety of alternative treatments available for uterine fibroids, none is clinically proven to remove fibroids from the uterus.
Do you have any questions, comments or contributions? please post them below. Share the love so others know there are options. Thank you.
Wish you good health and happiness,