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Could Fibroids Be Treated with a Morning After Pill?

By July 4, 2010

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According to various media reports, including this article from The Press Association, a study has shown that a new medication being developed as an emergency contraceptive might also double as a non-invasive treatment for fibroids. The drug ulipristal acetate (UPA) is being planned as another "morning after" pill designed to prevent pregnancy when used after unprotected sex, but given the chemistry behind how the drug prevents pregnancy (suppressing progesterone), researchers suspected the drug might also have some effect on fibroids. A US study evaluating that hypothesis has found that women who used the drug did indeed have significant shrinkage of their uterine fibroids.

Naturally, the drug could not be used in a woman actively planning a pregnancy, but the women in the study had their fertility return a short while after discontinuing the drug, so it's possible that doctors might be able to have women diagnosed with fibroids use the drug for a period of time to shrink their fibroids before conceiving. Avoiding the need for surgical fibroid treatment could be beneficial, as some procedures used in surgical fibroid treatment are not recommended in women hoping to become pregnant.

Fibroids are very common. Most of the time, they don't interfere with a pregnancy and many women never notice they even have fibroids. In others, fibroids can cause pain and menstrual problems, and depending on the location and type of fibroid, there can be an increased risk of miscarriage and preterm delivery.

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