Doctors may treat uterine fibroids with medications to promote shrinkage, through a noninvasive ultrasound procedure that breaks the fibroid into small pieces, or through minimally invasive surgical procedures that destroy fibroids without open surgery, according to Mayo Clinic. Doctors may also remove fibroids through traditional open surgical procedures.
Medications used to shrink fibroids include the hormone GnRH-a, which stands for gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogue, explains WebMD. The effects are temporary, lasting only while therapy continues. This can be helpful before surgery to remove the fibroid or as conservative therapy prior to menopause, a time when many fibroids shrink on their own. Progestin shots can lighten heavy menstrual flow and may also promote fibroid shrinkage.
Forced ultrasound surgery, or FUS, uses high-frequency sound waves directed at the fibroids to break up and destroy them as the patient lies in a specialized MRI machine, notes Healthline. Another procedure, called myolysis, uses either hot or cold therapy delivered to the tissue by a laser or probe. It either freezes or heats up the fibroid tissue, destroying it.
Laparoscopic surgery and other forms of minimally invasive surgical procedures also destroy and remove fibroids, while other procedures destroy them and let the body reabsorb them, states Mayo Clinic. Traditional open surgeries remove either just the fibroids themselves or the entire uterus as well.