Women's Health and Breast Center, St. Francis Hospital, Federal Way, WA, USA. drbarblevy[at]aol[dot]com
Uterine fibroids are the most common tumor of the reproductive tract in women of reproductive age. Although they are benign tumors that are often asymptomatic, uterine fibroids may cause debilitating symptoms in many women, such as abnormal uterine bleeding, abdominal pain, increased abdominal girth, urinary frequency, constipation, pregnancy loss, dyspareunia, and in some cases infertility. Several approaches are available for the treatment of uterine fibroids. These include pharmacologic options, such as hormonal therapies and gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists; surgical approaches, such as hysterectomy, myomectomy, myolysis, laparoscopic uterine artery occlusion, magnetic resonance imaging-guided focused ultrasound surgery, and uterine artery embolization. The choice of approach may be dictated by factors such as the patient's desire to become pregnant in the future, the importance of uterine preservation, symptom severity, and tumor characteristics. New treatment options for uterine fibroids would be minimally invasive, have long-term data demonstrating efficacy and safety, have minimal or no incidence of fibroid recurrence, be easy to perform, preserve fertility, and be cost effective. New treatment approaches are under investigation, with the goals of being effective, safe, and less invasive.