Treatment Options

Visit our glossary to see definitions of terms.

There are many different treatments for fibroids, but there is little high quality evidence available to help women make treatment choices.

Not sure where to start? Visit fibroidrelief.org and download the “Take Five” tool that includes five action tips. Answers to the questions in this tool will help when discussing your treatment options.
Even though a large percentage of women have fibroids, and the impact on health and quality of life can be severe, there have not been enough well-conducted clinical trials that directly compare different interventions to help women make informed treatment decisions.

Treatments may be divided into three categories:

  1. Treating the symptoms
  2. Treating the size and growth of the fibroids
  3. Destroying/removing the fibroids

Treating Symptoms

These do not change the size or growth of fibroids.

Treating symptoms infographicFor pain

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDS] such as ibuprofen.

For heavy bleeding and/or inflammation

These only work while using the treatment:

  • Hormonal contraception medication such as birth control pills, patches (Ortho Evra), vaginal rings (Nuvaring), injections (Depo-Provera), or progestin intrauterine device (IUD) such as Mirena or Skyla IUD.
  • Non-hormonal medications such as tranexamic acid (Lysteda)
  • Endometrial ablation [en-doh-MEE-tree-uhl uh-BLAY-shuhn]: A procedure that destroys the lining of the uterus.

Treating Size and Growthcompare-uf_tx_infographic_tx_size_21jan2016

These prescription medications may decrease the size of fibroids or slow the growth. If the medication is stopped, the fibroids may return or increase in size.

  • Gonadotropin releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa) such as Lupron®

Removing or Destroying the Fibroids

These procedures may be a permanent treatment, though sometimes the fibroids grow back or new fibroids develop.

  • Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS): Using high intensity or focused ultrasound to destroy the fibroid.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: Using heat generated from radio waves to destroy the fibroid.
  • Myolysis (meye-OL-uh-siss): Using focused energy to destroy the fibroid.
  • Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), or uterine artery embolization (UAE): Destroys the blood supply to the fibroid, thereby shrinking it. Typically performed by an interventional radiologist.
  • Myomectomy [meye-oh-MEK-tuh-mee]: Surgery to remove the fibroids. This option allows the possibility of a future pregnancy.

Learn more about minimally invasive treatments for fibroids:

Hysterectomy

compare-uf_hysterectomySurgical removal of the uterus is a permanent treatment for uterine fibroids. Fibroids account for about 1/3 of the hysterectomies performed in the United States.