Benign Uterine Growths (Growths of the Womb)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Quick GuideWomen's Health: A Visual Guide to Uterine Fibroids

Women's Health: A Visual Guide to Uterine Fibroids

Other medical treatment for uterine fibroids

It is important to remember that fibroids only require treatment if they cause bleeding or pain. There are several medical treatments available for fibroids. Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) can provide many benefits for women with fibroids. They decrease the amount of uterine bleeding by about 50% and decrease cramping pain during menstruation. They also may also decrease the risk of fibroids.

Other medical treatments include the use of drugs that turn off the production of estrogen from the ovaries (GnRH analogs). These medications are given for three to six months. When successful, they can shrink the fibroids by as much as 50%.

Mifepristone (RU-486) is an antiprogestin drug that can shrink fibroids to an extent comparable to treatment with the GnRH analogs. This drug, sometimes known as the "morning-after pill," is also used to terminate early pregnancy. Treatment with mifepristone also reduces the bleeding associated with fibroids, but this treatment can be associated with adverse side effects such as overgrowth (hyperplasia) of the endometrium (uterine lining).

Danazol (Danocrine) is an androgenic steroid hormone that has been used to reduce bleeding in women with fibroids, since this drug causes menstruation to cease. However, danazol does not appear to shrink the size of fibroids.

Letrozole (Femara), an aromatase inhibitor blocks the conversion of testosterone to estrogen and is used to treat some women with breast cancer. Preliminary studies have shown a potential role for aromatase inhibitors in the management of fibroids, but more research is needed.

The administration of raloxifene (Evista) (a drug used to prevent and treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women) has been shown to decrease the size of fibroids in postmenopausal women, but results with this therapy in premenopausal women have been conflicting.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/2/2015

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