The discovery of fibroid tumors often leads to immediate worries about cancer and the end of life. However, the truth is that tumors of this type, even bleeding fibroids, may or may not be life-threatening. In fact, there are several different approaches to the problem that may be employed, depending on the findings of the attending physician.
In cases where bleeding fibroids are the cause of abnormal menstrual bleeding, the fibroid treatment of choice is likely to be some type of oral medication. One class of medications that may be prescribed is known as GnRH agonists. These are designed to aid in shrinking the bleeding fibroids and also help reduce heavy menstrual bleeding. They tend to work by inhibiting the production of estrogen. In general, agonist medications are intended for short-term use, since they can produce a number of side effects, including rather severe hot flashes and even bone loss over time.
While intrauterine devices, also known as IUDs, are more commonly associated with birth control, they are also effective in dealing with bleeding fibroids. Many types of IUDs release minute amounts of hormones directly into the uterine cavity that help to counteract the uterine bleeding that is taking place. As with the use of oral medication, there is some potential for side effects, although many women find that the presence of the IUD does not cause any additional discomfort. The insertion of the IUD can be performed in the doctor’s office in a short period of time, and has an almost immediate effect on the amount of bleeding caused by the fibroid tumor.
In situations where the bleeding fibroids are not shrinking and continue to cause excessive bleeding, surgery may be the best approach. Often, a procedure known as a myomectomy is employed. This type of procedure is conducted by making a small incision across the lower area of the abdomen, making it possible to extract the tumors and thus save the uterus from further damage. At the same time, any damage to the uterus can be repaired. Myomectomies are only effective if the tumors have not embedded into the uterine wall.
When the bleeding fibroids are embedded into the wall of the uterus, a hysterectomy may be the only option. With this procedure, the uterus is removed completely. This eliminates the possibility of conceiving children, but also prevents the development of any more fibroid tumors. There are several different types of hysterectomies; the exact procedure used will depend on the placement of the fibroids as well as the current size of the uterus.