Uterine Fibroid Tumors Treatment - Drug Treatments
For this discussion, we are assuming that you have been diagnosed with fibroids and your symptoms are severe enough to consider further treatment. You and your doctor may have tried common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aspirin, Advil or Aleve to reduce inflammation and pain. You may be considering drug therapy as a treatment, or using it prior to surgery.
Estrogen, which is present in all women, helps fibroids grow. The objective of hormone therapy is to reduce the production of estrogen and stop fibroid growth.
Some forms of hormone therapy provide a temporary solution to stop bleeding and relieve pain. Others are stronger and are used to bring you to an early but temporary menopause. These synthetic hormones, called GnRH agonists, are sometimes recommended to shrink fibroids before uterine surgery.
GnRH agonists affect two hormones that control the production of estrogen - LH (luteinizing hormone) and FSH (follicular-stimulating hormone). When you take them, you will stop producing estrogen. As a result, fibroids starve and stop growing. Many of them will shrink. (Calcified fibroids will not respond) When you stop the therapy, the fibroids will rapidly regrow to pretreatment size and more may develop, but your pain and discomfort may be relieved for some time. For this reason, hormone therapy is often used for women approaching menopause.
In most cases, three to six months is the maximum length of treatment. After this time there is no further decrease in fibroid size, the risk of irreversible osteoporosis (bone loss) increases, as do other complications.
You will want your doctor to be very experienced with administering GnRH agonists and fully informed about your medical history before considering this treatment. If you use hormone therapy, you and your doctor must monitor side effects carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor all of the side effects you are experiencing. No detail is too small. Together you can decide what is relevant to the therapy.
Remember, a sudden and premature menopause is a great shock to your body. You can expect to experience all of the symptoms of menopause regardless of your age. The severity of the side effects will be different for each individual, but can include headaches, dizziness, vaginal dryness, incontinence and characteristic symptoms such as hot flashes. Approximately 20% of patients experience temporary depression. Malignant tumors are unaffected by this treatment.