How to Shrink Fibroids Without Surgery
If you have symptomatic uterine fibroids, you may be wondering if you need surgery. Thankfully, there are non-surgical procedures, supplements, and medications that might help shrink fibroids and reduce your symptoms. Speak with your doctor to see what treatment options are right for you.*
- Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally-invasive procedure that is commonly used to shrink fibroids and relieve symptoms. During UFE, the doctor will insert a small tube into an artery in your leg or arm. Tiny particles are then deposited to block the fibroid’s blood supply. The procedure generally takes an hour or less, and most people can go home the next day.
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) involves a thin needle with an electrode at the end, inserted either through a tiny abdominal incision or your vagina. Guided by ultrasound, the electrode is inserted into the individual fibroids, destroying the tissue with heat from radio waves. The fibroids shrink, and the dead tissue is reabsorbed into your body.
- MRI-guided ultrasound uses an MRI machine to target fibroids, then kills the tissue with heat from ultrasonic pulses. The procedure usually takes about three hours and has few reported side effects. Patients typically recover in a few days, though individual recovery time can vary.
Dietary supplements are not regulated in the U.S., and are not FDA-approved to treat medical conditions. A small number of studies, however, suggest that certain vitamins and supplements may help shrink or even prevent uterine fibroids. While more research is needed, here’s what the evidence shows so far:
- Green tea extract: Lab studies suggest green tea extract may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which could play a role in shrinking fibroids. In a small clinical study, fibroid patients who received green tea extract experienced a 30% reduction in fibroid size after four months.
- Vitamin D supplement: Animal studies have shown that vitamin D can shrink fibroids by nearly 75%, but this may not translate to humans. In one clinical trial, a vitamin D supplement did not cause fibroids to shrink, but it did seem to stop them from growing larger.
- Curcumin: Curcumin is a bright yellow substance found in turmeric, ginger, and other plants. It’s been shown to act as an antioxidant in the body. In the lab, it seems to prevent fibroid cells from multiplying, but its effects on fibroids in humans are still unknown.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists are the only drugs approved by the FDA for shrinking fibroids, but other options might help you manage your symptoms. Here are other commonly prescribed drugs for fibroid symptom relief:
- Depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA): DMPA is a hormonal birth control shot that lowers the amount of estrogen and progesterone in your blood. A small number of studies suggest it might help shrink or even prevent fibroids.
- Progestin-releasing intrauterine device (IUD): An IUD is a small birth control device inserted into the uterus. This particular type of IUD has had mixed effects on fibroid size, but experts believe it might help prevent fibroids from developing in the first place.If you’re experiencing symptomatic uterine fibroids, speak with your doctor. While surgery may be the best option for some people, there are nonsurgical options, as well.
*Lalezarian, M. (2022, November 29). Non-Surgical Options, Vitamins, Medications, Tablets, & Supplements Used To Shrink Fibroids. Fibroid Specialists. https://www.fibroidspecialists.org/post/how-to-shrink-fibroids