NonSurgical Treatments for Fibroids
Fibroids, which are noncancerous growths that occur inside and around the uterus, are typically treated surgically. But for those looking for nonsurgical solutions, fibroids symptoms can be temporarily relieved with remedies like pain management, acupuncture, nutritional counseling, pelvic floor physical therapy, physical training and psychotherapy. Holistic treatments like these can help women struggling with fibroid symptoms to regain control of their health.
The CIGC Wellness Center offers holistic treatments and therapies as a complement to the minimally invasive surgical procedures performed by CIGC specialists. Award-winning laparoscopic specialist Dr. Natalya Danilyants, CIGC co-founder, calls on her more than two decades of gynecological expertise to lead The CIGC Wellness Center. She customizes each patient’s treatment plan on a case-by-case basis. If you have mild to moderate symptoms from fibroids, the CIGC Wellness Center treatments can help you find relief.
What Are Fibroids?
Fibroids are noncancerous growths that originate from the uterus and begin to grow inside or around it. Symptoms of fibroids can include heavy bleeding, severe pain during the menstrual cycle, pelvic and lower back pain, pain during intercourse, bowel or bladder problems and infertility. When symptoms begin to disrupt everyday activities, it’s time to see a fibroids specialist.
Treating Fibroids Without Surgery
Nonsurgical treatment options for fibroids can be effective for managing symptoms depending on their severity. Nonsurgical treatments are likely to be more effective in managing mild symptoms of small fibroids. Larger fibroids can cause more significant pain and crowding in the uterus and usually need to be treated surgically. But even small fibroids can cause severe symptoms based on their location. It’s best to have fibroids evaluated by a specialist to assess whether surgery is necessary.
CIGC has specialists who are experts in nonsurgical care for fibroids. Each provider was selected with experience, reputation and expertise in mind. All care providers are highly skilled in treating patients who struggle with fibroids symptoms while also addressing each patient’s unique needs.
For those with fibroids who experience pelvic pain as a symptom, physical therapy can help to strengthen muscles and relieve pain and pressure in the pelvis. Pelvic floor physical therapy incorporates soft tissue stretching, biofeedback, relaxation and other techniques. Other types of physical therapy for fibroids include:
- Pelvic massage therapy, which helps to break up scar tissue that limits range of motion.
- Acupuncture, which is a safe and effective Eastern medicine therapy that can alleviate anxiety and reduce pain.
- Heat therapy, which promotes circulation and relaxes cramped and tight muscles.
Fibroids can cause pain in the pelvis and lower back, depending on the location of each fibroid. Trigger-point injections can relieve pain points in affected areas. For fibroids patients experiencing chronic pelvic pain, either due to fibroids or another GYN condition, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and other medical therapies may help. CIGC’s pain management specialist is committed to non-opioid medication management to help patients find pain relief.
Some physicians may prescribe medication to treat the symptoms of fibroids if surgery is not yet warranted. Commonly prescribed medications include:
- Oral contraceptives: While birth control does not treat fibroids, it may help to reduce bleeding in some fibroids patients.
- Progesterone: Progesterone is known as the “anti-estrogen.” It will not stop fibroid growth but may help to control bleeding.
- Lupron/Orilissa: This medication can be an effective temporary treatment for fibroids but is not recommended for long-term use due to side effects that can be serious.
- NSAIDs and pain relievers: Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can temporarily reduce pain but have no effect on fibroids.
- Danazol: This steroid stops estrogen production to control bleeding but has a long list of side effects, some of which can be serious.
While these medications may temporarily alleviate heavy bleeding and other symptoms, it’s important to recognize most medications do not treat fibroids and should not be used over a long period of time. To be effectively treated, fibroids should be removed.
Diet and Supplements
Women looking for nonsurgical management for fibroids symptoms may come across diet and supplement plans that claim to treat or shrink fibroids. It’s important to remember that fibroids can only be treated surgically, but symptoms can be managed in other ways. CIGC specialists can develop a customized diet plan to help alleviate your symptoms. Common supplements and foods our specialists might suggest include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Taking omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil may help relieve pelvic pain and reduce inflammation in the body.
- Turmeric: As the primary active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin is known for having anti-inflammatory properties.
- Biotin: Deficiency in biotin can sometimes lead to higher levels of prostaglandins during the menstrual cycle, which can result in more cramping and pain. Supplementing with biotin may help to reduce cramping, but doesn’t have an effect on fibroids themselves.
- Fruits and vegetables: Incorporating brightly colored fruits and vegetables in your diet may help lower pain and inflammation in the body.
- Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency has been linked to chronic inflammation. Foods that are rich in magnesium — like dark chocolate and fish — can help to reduce inflammation.
- Herbal supplements: There is no scientific consensus that herbs and supplements can shrink fibroids or reduce fibroid symptoms, but some women anecdotally report relief with milk thistle, probiotics and other herbs.
- Herbal remedies: Just like with herbal supplements, there is no scientific consensus that herbal remedies have any particular effect on fibroids. However, remedies like green tea and chasteberry are sometimes used to reduce inflammation and relieve painful periods.
- Vitamins: Vitamins like vitamin B6 are found in non-citrus fruits, starchy vegetables and fish, among other foods. Because vitamin B6 may play a role in hormone regulation, it is thought to help relieve symptoms like pelvic pain and heavy bleeding. Vitamin A has also been linked with a lower chance of developing uterine fibroids. You can get vitamin A from dairy products, fish and some meats.
These diets and supplements may help relieve symptoms for some, but there is no home remedy that can treat or cure fibroids. A holistic plan organized with a fibroids specialist can help to manage symptoms in cases that don’t yet require surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nonsurgical Fibroid Treatment
Can massage help with fibroids?
It is possible that massage therapy can help relieve discomfort from fibroids by loosening tight muscles and relieving tension. But massage will not have an effect on fibroids themselves. Regular massage therapy can help relieve pelvic and lower back pain that has been exacerbated by fibroids.
Can acupuncture shrink fibroids?
While acupuncture is unlikely to shrink fibroids, it can help increase blood flow and alleviate pain in the pelvis. Acupuncture is a form of treatment that involves the insertion of thin needles at various points in the body to facilitate pain relief, promote blood circulation and regulate hormones.
Will exercise make fibroid symptoms worse?
Many women with fibroids avoid high-intensity exercise due to severe pelvic pain or heavy bleeding. While it’s important not to overdo it, exercise can help to relieve pain with its production of endorphins — those “feel good” hormones. Exercising while bleeding heavily can be dangerous though, so it’s important to talk with a fibroids specialist to come up with an exercise regimen that is appropriate for your particular symptoms and case.
Can I get rid of fibroids naturally?
The only way to remove fibroids is through surgery. Natural methods can help to manage symptoms, but they cannot shrink or dissolve fibroids. Surgical fibroid removal doesn’t have to be scary or invasive. CIGC specialists developed minimally invasive techniques that only use two small incisions. Most women recover in one to two weeks feeling better than ever.
What is the best diet to treat fibroids?
While many diet and nutrition programs out there claim to shrink fibroids, most of it is not backed by scientific evidence. It is best to discuss diet options with a nutritionist who specializes in fibroids. At The CIGC Wellness Center, our nutritionists can create a personalized diet plan that works for your specific case.
Speak with an Expert
The most important step in the journey to find relief from fibroids is to consult with a doctor or specialist before trying to handle the condition on your own. Treatment options may vary depending on the severity of fibroid symptoms and growth and any other medical conditions you may be experiencing. Our fibroids specialists at CIGC can help you come up with a personalized treatment plan. Talk to our patient care team and get started on your pain relief journey today.