Uterine fibroids, or noncancerous tumors that form in the uterine wall, are a common problem. In fact, eight out of every ten women have fibroids and 25% of those women will have symptoms that are severe enough to require treatment, according to the National Uterine Fibroids Foundation. Surgical methods, including hysterectomy and endometrial ablation, and a medication called Lupron are commonly used to treat fibroids. Is there another treatment option looming on the horizon, though? Here’s what two new studies found about the ‘morning-after pill’.
What the Studies Show
Two recent studies were done to determine the effects that the ‘morning-after pill’ would have on women suffering from fibroids. Both studies showed favorable results. The first study found that women with uterine fibroids who took a five or 10 mg dosage of the ‘morning-after pill’ for 13 weeks experienced less bleeding than those who took a placebo, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
The second study found that women who used the ‘morning-after pill’, which is otherwise known as emergency contraception, were less likely to experience hot flashes than women who use Lupron, the medication which is commonly used to treat fibroids. Hot flashes are a common undesirable side effect for Lupron users, which makes this new possible treatment option all the more appealing.
Why Does it Work?
The link between the ‘morning-after pill’ and a decrease in progesterone levels is why it is believed to work favorably in the treatment of uterine fibroids. Progesterone contributes to uterine fibroid growth, and emergency contraception lowers a woman’s levels of the progesterone hormone, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It is believed that by reducing levels of this hormone, the size of uterine fibroids may also be reduced.
Which ‘Morning-After Pill’ Was Researched?
The studies which were done to measure the effects that emergency contraceptives had on fibroids were tested on the ‘morning-after pill’ called Ella (ulipristal), rather than the more well-known Plan B One-Step. Headache, nausea, stomach pain, menstrual cramps, tiredness, and dizziness are all common side effects which are associated with this and other emergency contraceptives, according to the Ella FAQ. Research also found an increased risk of precancerous changes in the lining of the uterus, which are thought to be easily reversible, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Although the ‘morning-after pill’ is not currently being prescribed to uterine fibroid sufferers because it requires further research, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. Ella and other emergency contraceptives may soon be a preferred treatment option for women with fibroids.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes only. If you’re concerned about your health, consult with a licensed healthcare professional.
National Uterine Fibroids Foundation
U.S. National Library of Medicine