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Fibroid Treatment

What is a fibroid?

A fibroid is a common benign tumor of the uterus, composed of fibrous, or connective, tissue. It is estimated that up to 70 percent of women develop uterine fibroids in their lifetime.

What are common symptoms of uterine fibroids?

Some women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms, or have only mild symptoms, while other women have more severe, debilitating symptoms. Common uterine fibroid symptoms include:

  • Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods
  • Abnormal bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Pelvic pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Low back pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Infertility
  • Pregnancy complications, including loss of pregnancy

How are uterine fibroids diagnosed?

Large fibroids can usually be identified during a regular gynecologic exam. Ultrasound can identify most fibroids, and office hysteroscopy is an excellent tool for detecting uterine fibroids inside the uterine cavity. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) gives the best information about the exact location and size of the fibroids and is very useful in assessing treatment options. MRI also can be helpful in determining if there is a different type of pathology in the uterus that is causing the symptoms.

How are uterine fibroids treated?

Fibroid treatment is highly personalized and depends on a number of factors, including severity of symptoms, size of the fibroids, and desire for fertility preservation. Asymptomatic fibroids may not require any treatment. On the other hand, fibroids that cause infertility or debilitating symptoms may be treated with a range of options. Here are a few examples of fibroid treatments:

Surgical Treatments

The latest surgical treatments for fibroids include minimally invasive (laparoscopic and robotic) surgical techniques, which offer smaller incisions and faster recovery than open surgical techniques. These procedures should be performed by a gynecologic surgeon who is experienced in minimally invasive techniques. Examples of surgical treatments for fibroids include:

  • Myomectomy – Fibroids that interfere with fertility in women who want to become pregnant are often surgically removed in a procedure called a myomectomy. Some women that have completed childbearing may also want to preserve their uterus intact and opt for this conservative option.
  • Hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) also is commonly performed for patients with debilitating symptoms associated with uterine fibroids. It is not performed in women who want to become pregnant in the future.

Non-surgical Treatments

Non-surgical fibroid treatments include:

  • Medications, such as gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa), cause a low-estrogen (menopause-like) state, which reduces the size of the tumor and uterus; these medications are prescribed in preparation for surgery in select cases.
  • Uterine fibroid embolization/uterine artery embolization to deliver agents that block off the blood vessels that enable the uterine fibroids to grow;
  • MRI-guided focused ultrasound (FUS) is a noninvasive treatment option for uterine fibroids that destroys fibroids, while preserving the normal uterus. Focused high-frequency, high-energy sound waves are used to target and destroy the fibroids.

Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery (CIRS) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery (CIRS) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is one of the premier infertility and reproductive medicine programs in the country. Our renowned team has one of the highest numbers of physicians in the nation that are certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in reproductive endocrinology and fertility services. Our specialized expertise and access to the latest therapies and technologies in reproductive disorders and reproductive surgery enable us to tailor treatments to meet your individual needs.

Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery Team:

View a list of our doctors that specialize in fibroid treatment.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The faculty members and researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology are dedicated to doing everything possible to provide women and their families with the most advanced care available anywhere.

As a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, we are world-renowned for our expertise in gynecology and pregnancy, and have been a trusted name in women’s health for more than 180 years. Our rich history includes landmark research that has helped guide the care provided to women around the world. Learn more about our research.

Our commitment to patient- and family-focused care has shaped our Center for Women and Newborns at the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health – world-renowned for the quality of our obstetrical and neonatal care and dedicated to the most comprehensive state-of-the-art obstetrical services under one roof. U.S. News & World Report has repeatedly named Brigham and Women’s Hospital among the top hospitals in the nation for obstetrics and gynecology.

Patient- and Family-focused Care

BWH has long been committed to not only the care of our patients but also the many other needs that they and their families have. This philosophy of patient- and family-focused care – involving systems and services that emphasize healing in a comfortable, relaxed environment – is a guiding force behind the care we provide.

Quality of Patient Care

BWH is committed to providing all of our patients with the safest, highest-quality, most-satisfying care possible and follow established protocols that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Our Inpatient Satisfaction Survey, sent to patients’ to assess their total care experience, helps us to monitor what we are doing well and where we could improve. We pride ourselves in the Quality of Patient Care we provide and how we compare with other hospitals.

Contact Us

If you believe you should have an evaluation and would like to schedule an appointment with one of our fibroid treatment experts, call 1-800-294-9999 to speak to one of our knowledgeable coordinators who can help to connect you to the doctor that best meets your needs, or fill out an online appointment request.

Learn more about Brigham and Women's Hospital

For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

About BWH