How can uterine fibroids be treated?
There are several treatment options for fibroids, which include conservative options (diet/exercise), treatment using medications, and finally, surgical options. Watch OB/GYN specialist Jessica Shepherd, MD, describe all of these treatment options.
Uterine fibroids are treated with either conservative measures or medicine or even surgery.
When we think about fibroids and conservative management of those, we think about dietary modifications. So we're going to increase our vitamin D intake.
We're also going to decrease our high glycemic index foods, which would include your white flour, your white sugars,
and your sugary drinks. Another modification that we can make for conservative management of fibroids is exercise.
And the reason why exercise is so important is we really want to decrease our obesity factors. And obesity has been shown to be a risk factor for fibroids.
When we treat uterine fibroids, we always think of management of fibroids with medicine. One of the ways that we can deal with fibroids
is to offer our patients birth control pills. And the reason why we offer birth control pills is because most women have the symptom
of heavy menstrual bleeding. And when women come in with heavy menstrual bleeding, we use those hormones and birth control pills to decrease the heavy menstrual cycle.
Another way that we can manage fibroids is a short-term management with medicine called Lupron.
And Lupron actually can shrink the size of the fibroid but this medicine can only be used for up to one or two years, because of the decrease of bone
mass density. The last option that we usually have women think about are surgical options. The important thing is for women,
where are you with your journey with this fibroids? If this is something that has been affecting your life for many years, and you really do want to have some type of definitive treatment,
surgical options are usually the way that you're going to treat these fibroids. When we think of surgical options, we always think of our least invasive options
to our most invasive options. Our least invasive options that we have surgically would include the endometrial ablation.
And that can include having a device put inside the uterus. And what it does is have a heating device
to use inside the lining of the uterus, which can decrease heavy menstrual bleeding. We also have the uterine artery embolization.
This procedure is done by interventional radiologists. And what they do is they include the blood supply specifically
to fibroids. And that there, again, decreases the size of the fibroids and the symptoms of the fibroids.
We also have the myomectomy. The myomectomy is a major surgery that's done. And what's done in this procedure
is that you have the fibroids that are taken from the uterus. But the uterus is spared. This is a great option for women who
have fibroids that are very symptomatic but do want childbearing options in the future. And so with the myomectomy, you preserve the uterus.
And therefore, the fibroids are only removed. This is a major surgery, so it does require about a three to four-week recovery time.
The last option is the most definitive. And the reason that it's the most definitive, it's the gold standard of treating fibroids. And that would be the hysterectomy.
And in the hysterectomy, there is the removal of the fibroids as well as the uterus. And so for women who are finished with childbearing,
maybe close to menopause and have had a very significant journey with fibroids, this may be the option for them.
Again, these are options that need to be discussed with your gynecologist because they can range in severity. And they can also range with recovery time.
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