Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that develop on the walls of the uterus. Fibroids can grow over time, especially with hormone spikes during menstruation. The condition is quite common, affecting up to 80% of women. Most women are asymptomatic and would never know about fibroids. Yet, some women feel intense pelvic pain and other symptoms. At this point, medical support is best with effective surgical and non-surgical options.
Is it time for menopause?
Menopause is a time in the late 40s and 50s when a woman stops having a period. At this point, the woman cannot get pregnant naturally. Menopause is the period where the woman stops ovulating for 12 months. However, the process involves perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. Women with menopause experience hot flashes, poor sleep, vaginal dryness, low sex drive and are prone to several diseases. Some women also experience pelvic pain during menopause. However, an underlying issue like fibroids can be the cause of the pain.
How HRT helps menopause
Over the years, doctors and scientists use hormone replacement therapy to treat menopause. Menopausal women have significant drops in estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are not only for reproductive health but for overall health and wellness. Hormone therapy seeks to enhance the lost hormone with a dose of estrogen, or estrogen and progesterone. Most women on HRT see a reduction in menopause symptoms and a higher quality of life.
The HRT, menopause, and fibroids dilemma
There’s a catch-22 scenario that happens for women with menopause and fibroids. HRT gives women the hormone boost to reduce menopausal symptoms. However, these same hormones are responsible for helping fibroids grow, increasing pelvic pain over time. If a woman decides to take HRT, the chances of pelvic pain increases. Refusing HRT means the woman will have to deal with both menopause and fibroid symptoms. At the same time, a reduced level of estrogen means the fibroids will shrink. Waiting can potentially cause less pain in the long run. The good news is that most women with fibroids can take HRT. The estrogen is often low enough to not feed into the fibroids.
A short-term hormone solution
For women who still experience pain with HRT, speak with a doctor immediately. Both doctor and patient can look into options to treat fibroids, including surgery. Before surgery, the doctor may use a type of hormone therapy called Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists or GnRHa. GnRHa shrinks fibroids, reducing pain with a high success rate. Due to the long-term health risks of GnRHa, doctors only use the treatment for a few months. The fibroids may then be small enough to be removed with surgery.
Take action on pelvic pain now.
HRT is safe for most women with fibroids, menopause, and pelvic pain. HRT can treat menopause symptoms without worsening fibroids. The therapy can inadvertently help reduce pelvic pain. Deciding on HRT with pelvic pain from fibroids can be a difficult decision. Speak with a doctor about pelvic pain, using GnRHa, and clearing up fibroids.