Using Birth Control Pills to Reduce Fibroid Symptoms

Using Birth Control Pills to Reduce Fibroid Symptoms 645d5392cf589.png

A class of medication that is sometimes used to treat fibroid symptoms is progesterone-containing birth control.

Depending on the severity of fibroid symptoms, sometimes progesterone-containing birth control can be effective at reducing them.

Though the exact cause of uterine fibroids remains unknown, there is evidence to suggest that their growth is influenced by hormones. The hormones most connected with fibroids are estrogen and progesterone, which are also affected when birth control pills are used.

The two main types of birth control pills are those that contain estrogen and progesterone and those that only contain progesterone. These birth control pills work by preventing the egg from becoming fertilized by the sperm. Or, in the case of the estrogen and progesterone-containing pills, the hormones are used to stop ovulation entirely. Both types of birth control pills are used to prevent pregnancy and are sometimes prescribed to lessen the severity of period-related issues like heavy periods, mood swings, and cramps.

One of the most common symptoms associated with uterine fibroids is heavy menstrual periods. This is where birth control comes into the picture.

Many physicians have found that birth control pills can help reduce the symptom of heavy bleeding and often prescribe them to women with uterine fibroids for this reason. While this may be effective in the short term, birth control pills can not shrink or eliminate fibroids. In fact, in the case of estrogen-containing birth control, the increase in estrogen can actually cause fibroids to grow.

Therefore, when using birth control to help alleviate fibroid symptoms, or as a primary form of birth control, it is important that they are low estrogen or predominantly progesterone-containing pills.

Some examples of low estrogen birth control pills are:

 Lo Loestrin FE:

Lo Loestrin provides the lowest daily dose of estrogen at 10 mcg. This birth control could be a good choice for women with fibroids because it can decrease heavy periods and reduce pain from menstrual cramps, and the low dose of estrogen most likely will not cause fibroids to grow. Loestrin is the name brand of this birth control, however, many less expensive generic options are also available.

Norethindrone Birth Control:

Norethindrone is a progestin-only pill (POP), often referred to as the “mini pill”. Since there is no estrogen in this pill, there is no risk of it causing fibroids to grow. Norethindrone can also decrease fibroid symptoms such as heavy and painful menstrual periods.

Given that some of the most commonly prescribed birth control pills out there can increase estrogen and therefore increase the size of fibroids, birth control is not always the best solution. If the fibroids are small, and the symptoms are mild, a low estrogen or progesterone-containing birth control pill may be beneficial. However, it is important to keep in mind that birth control can sometimes mask the severity of fibroids and other underlying conditions.

The bottom line, if you are experiencing heavy and painful periods due to uterine fibroids, your doctor may suggest taking birth control pills to reduce your bleeding. Though the pills may help control some symptoms of uterine fibroids, birth control pills will not effectively treat them.

Addressing the cause of the fibroid’s symptoms, which is, of course, uterine fibroids, can reduce and eliminate symptoms entirely. So it’s important to talk to your doctor about the different treatment options that are available. And, if you are thinking of going on birth control pills, make sure to keep in mind the type and any impact it could have on your fibroids.

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