Gynaecological Services

Management of Fibroids

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are growths that occur in and on the uterus. Uterine fibroids are common and are non-cancerous. Some symptoms of fibroids include very irregular urination, constipation, and pain in the lower back and abdomen. They can also have an effect on period pains, causing cramping, heavier bleeding and longer or more frequent menstruation.

How are fibroids managed?

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous and rarely interfere with pregnancy. They normally grow slowly and tend to shrink after menopause, when levels of reproductive hormones drop. Your gynaecologist may recommend certain medications to help treat uterine fibroids. These medications target hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle treat symptoms like heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pressure. It is important to understand that these medications don’t eliminate fibroids but may help shrink them. There are a number of treatment options for fibroids. These include:

  • Pain medication
    Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs can help to relieve pain and discomfort.
  • Oral contraceptives
    Taking the pill helps to manage hormone levels and can provide pain relief from fibroids, as well as lessen the severity of cramping and heavy bleeding.
  • Embolisation
    This procedure is conducted with the use of a catheter, which is inserted into the uterine artery. Small particles are inserted into the blood vessels, which cause the fibroid to decrease in size.
  • Surgery
    In some severe cases, it may be necessary to remove the fibroid surgically. This process is called a myomectomy. For more about this procedure, see here. Endometrial ablation, which destroys the lining of the uterus, can be used to treat small fibroids.
  • Ultrasound
    Ultrasound waves are used to destroy the fibroid tissue. This treatment option does not damage the uterus.
  • Regular exercise
    Exercise helps to maintain healthy body weight and, in turn, may reduce the risk of fibroids.
  • Tranexamic acid
    This is a non-hormonal medication that is taken to help ease heavy menstrual periods.
  • Progestin-releasing intrauterine device (IUD)
    Progestin releasing IUD helps relieve heavy bleeding caused by fibroids.

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Tebogo, mom and dad