Question

Birth Control Pill

Do birth control pills shrink fibroid tumors?

A Answers (4)

  • APaula Greer, Midwifery Nursing, answered

    Taking birth control pills will not shrink your fibroids. Your health care provider may suggest you take them to help with your heavy painful periods which may also occur with your fibroids. The older generation pills actually had higher doses of estrogen which sometimes made fibroids grow larger. The newer lower dose pills don’t seem to make the fibroids grow and definitely help with the bleeding and cramping.

  • ASpencer Richlin, MD, Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, answered

    Birth Control pills are often first-line treatment for control of abnormal bleeding and painful menses in women with leiomyomas. Birth control pills, may control bleeding symptoms without initiating fibroid growth. They usually do not shrink fibroids. A better option to decrease fibroid growth/size is by using a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa). GnRHa is usually taken by injection. This medicine decreases estrogen production (menses stop) and thus can halt fibroid growth. It is often used prior to fibroid surgery to build up ones blood supply and shrink down the size of the fibroid(s) in order to make surgery easier.

  • APatricia Geraghty, NP, Advanced Practice Nursing, answered

    Birth control pills do not shrink fibroid tumors. These tumors are clusters of the fibrous connective tissue that is a normal component of the uterine wall. They are not cancer and virtually never become cancer. The presence of these tumors varies by ethnicity and runs in families. The tumors do grow under the stimulation of female hormones, particularly estrogen. Some women develop fibroids, which then remain stable. Other women have fibroids which continue to increase in size.

    The first birth control pills released in the 1960's, had much higher doses of estrogen which did lead to growth in size of existing fibroids. Today's birth control pills contain much lower doses of estrogen. Many studies have confirmed that the pill does not contribute to further growth of fibroids.

  • AJohn Lipman, MD, Interventional Radiology, answered
    No. Birth control pills can decrease the heaviness of the flow, but they tend to increase fibroid growth. Fibroids are very hormone-responsive (estrogen as well as progesterone). It is why fibroids tend to grow (sometimes very rapidly) during pregnancy, and why they are also not typically an issue in post-menopausal women.
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