Fibroids Treatment - What Are the Alternatives?
Fibroids are a frequent problem with women's
reproductive systems. They are muscular tumors that grow in or on the wall of the womb (uterus).
The medical term for fibroids is "leiomyoma" (pronounced, leye-oh-meye-OH-muh) or sometimes simply
Fibroids are almost never malignant (cancerous). They
are almost always benign. They can grow as single tumors or there can be many of them. They
can be as small as a small seed or as large as a cantaloupe.
Some 20 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids
before they are 50 years of age; they are most common in women who are in their 40's and
African-American women are particularly prone to
developing uterine fibroids. They seem to develop fibroids symptoms faster and more severely
than other women. Probably 50 to 80 per cent of African-American women in the U.S. will
Most fibroids are asymptomatic, that is, they show no
symptoms and do not appear to do any serious harm. Some grow and cause problems, causing
pain, putting pressure on the bladder causing frequent urination and heavy or irregular
If fibroid symptoms develop there are several fibroids
treatments possible. The treatment selected will depend on intensity of symptoms, age,
whether she is pregnant or not, general health and whether she wants to have children in the
NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflamatory drugs) such as
ibuprofen or naprosyn may be recommended for women suffering from pain or cramps during
Birth control pills may be prescribed to help control
heavy periods and stop the fibroid from growing.
GnRH agonists (Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormonal
Agonists) may be prescribed as a fibroid treatment. For most receiving this drug, fibroids
shrink by 1/3 to 1\2 after 2-3 months of treatments.
Uterine artery embolization is used to shut off the
blood supply to fibroids which causes them to shrink and go away. This is a non-surgical
procedure in which a catheter is threaded through certain arteries to inject a substance that
blocks off the artery feeding the fibroid.
Surgery is a sure method, but is both invasive and
expensive. The two kinds of surgery most commonly done are hysterectomy and
Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus
(and usually of the cervix as well). It's a common treatment for fibroids. Thirty per cent of
all hysterectomies in the U.S. are done because of fibroids.
Additionally there are many alternative medicine
approaches to shrinking and controlling fibroids. These have become more and more popular as
they demonstrate good results and as women seek alternatives to expensive
- Jorge Chavez