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How are fibroid tumors treated?

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Quick Answer

Fibroid tumors are treated through medications, noninvasive or minimally invasive procedures, or surgery, according to Mayo Clinic. Medications include gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, which stop the body's production of progesterone and estrogen.

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Full Answer

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists trick the body into believing it has gone through menopause, claims Mayo Clinic. This shrinks the fibroids and stops menstruation. Some doctors prescribe this medication for their patients before their patients have fibroid surgery. An intrauterine device that releases progestin is also prescribed to relieve the heavy bleeding that often accompanies fibroid tumors even though they do not shrink the fibroids. This is also true of medications such as birth control pills.

Ultrasound surgery guided by an MRI machine is also used to treat fibroids, says Mayo Clinic. The doctor uses the machine to find the fibroids in the uterus and causes them to shrink by applying the heat of the ultrasound transducer. This is an outpatient procedure, requires no incisions and preserves the woman's uterus.

Minimally invasive procedures include introducing embolic agents into the arteries that serve the uterus, according to Mayo Clinic. This destroys the blood supply to the fibroids. Other procedures destroy the fibroids by freezing or burning them. In a laparoscopic myomectomy, the surgeon makes tiny incisions in the abdomen and removes the fibroids with special instruments. The fibroids are also removed by traditional open surgery. The patient can also opt for a hysterectomy.

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