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Medications for Fibroid Pain Relief

cartoon uterus with sad face

Fibroids (also called leiomyomas or myomas) are noncancerous growths in the uterus that are very common in women of childbearing age. Indeed, according to the National Uterine Fibroids Foundation, approximately 10% of women in the U.S. develop fibroids. Uterine fibroids are not linked to an increased risk of uterine cancer (they very rarely develop into cancer). 

Many patients with uterine fibroids have no symptoms. However, some people can experience debilitating uterine fibroid symptoms. 

There are several effective treatment options for uterine fibroids. There are even treatments that can cure fibroids, for example, fibroid surgery. 

Please continue reading to learn more about some of the medications that are used to treat fibroids (treat the symptoms, i.e., relieve fibroid pain, and shrink fibroids).

What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?

Symptoms of fibroids include pelvic pain, pelvic pressure, lower back pain, stomach pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding (spotting between menstrual periods), severe cramps during the menstrual cycle, heavy bleeding during menses, and pain during intercourse. The pain can even radiate down the legs. 

Large fibroids can cause the uterus to enlarge and put pressure on adjacent organs like the bladder and bowel, causing additional symptoms. The common types of fibroids are intramural, subserosal, and submucosal fibroids (depending on the location of the fibroid). A less common type of fibroid called a pedunculated fibroid has a stalk that can cause severe pain if it becomes twisted. 

In women nearing menopause, fibroid pain can be accompanied by other symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness. In some patients, painful fibroids can be severe enough to interfere with daily life.

What makes fibroid pain worse?

Fibroid symptoms can range from mild to severe. They can be constant or they may come and go. Menstrual bleeding, exercise, bowel movements, and sexual intercourse are some of the things that can make fibroid pain flare-up. 

What are some home remedies to treat fibroids?

Some women find that home treatments and lifestyle changes can provide relief from fibroid symptoms. You should know that these remedies do not get rid of the fibroids - rather they provide symptomatic relief. Some of the remedies you could try include:

  • Heat therapy: The application of a heating pad or hot water bottle can help relieve pelvic, back, or abdominal pain. 
  • Fetal position: Lying in a fetal (curled-up) position can relieve pressure on the pelvic organs and make fibroid flares less uncomfortable.
  • Exercise: Some people find that staying active controls fibroid-related symptoms. However, it can be difficult to participate in physical activity if you have severe pain. 
  • Stress relief: Breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or stretching can relax the body and help in coping with fibroid pain. 

Is there any over-the-counter fibroid treatment to shrink fibroids?

Many women find that over-the-counter pain medication, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), for example, ibuprofen, can relieve discomfort and mild pain from fibroids. However, prolonged use of these medications can have gastrointestinal side effects. Always consult a healthcare provider before using over-the-counter medicines for a prolonged duration.

Women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding may benefit from taking an iron supplement to replace the iron lost with excessive bleeding. Again, it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, including iron supplements.

There are no OTC medications that can shrink fibroids. Some Chinese herbs like Tripterygium wilfordii (thunder god vine) and Guizhi Fuling formula are believed to treat fibroids and their symptoms and perhaps even shrink fibroids. However, there are no peer-reviewed studies or strong scientific evidence to support that these herbal remedies are effective.

What is the best medication for fibroid pain?

Treatment options for fibroids that cause pain or heavy bleeding include prescription medications such as:

  • Oral contraceptives: Hormonal birth control pills that are typically taken to prevent pregnancy can also help to control excessive bleeding caused by uterine fibroids. However, hormone therapy with birth control pills does not eliminate the fibroids themselves. 
  • Hormonal intrauterine device (IUD): Some intrauterine devices release hormones that can help to reduce heavy periods related to fibroids. The symptoms can return when the IUD is removed. 
  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists: GnRH agonists like the prescription medication Lupron can shrink fibroids and reduce bleeding caused by fibroids. However, because GnRH agonists can cause significant bone loss, doctors typically reserve these drugs for patients with very heavy bleeding or to shrink very large fibroids before surgery.

What is fibroid surgery?

When lifestyle changes, OTC medications, and prescription medications do not work and the symptoms associated with fibroids are severe, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove fibroids. Different types of surgical procedures can be performed, such as:

  • Myomectomy: This is a procedure in which fibroids are removed from the uterus. Women who undergo myomectomy retain their uterus and can get pregnant in the future. 
  • Laparoscopic power morcellation: This is a type of minimally invasive surgery in which a medical device is used to cut fibroid tissue into smaller pieces so that it can be removed through a small incision.
  • Uterine artery embolization: This surgical procedure involves using heat to cut off blood flow to fibroids. It does not eliminate fibroids but it can shrink fibroids and relieve symptoms. 
  • Hysterectomy: This procedure involves removing the uterus, and sometimes, the ovaries as well. 

Wrapping Up

If you experience pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, or other signs and symptoms caused by fibroids, there are several treatment options available to you. Many of these options treat fibroids temporarily, but it is possible to cure fibroids more permanently. 

The important thing is to be medically reviewed so that you can understand your options more fully. Your doctor may order imaging tests to check fibroid size and order other tests like progesterone levels (research suggests that the hormone progesterone can cause fibroid growth). 

Based on the results of these tests, as well as your symptoms, your doctor will recommend the best medication for fibroids, whether it is symptomatic relief with pain medication, hormone therapy, or surgery.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6247381/#:~
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/symptoms-causes/syc-20354288#
  3. https://www.uclahealth.org/fibroids/medical-therapy
  4. https://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/fibroids/treatment
  5. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005292.pub3/full
  6. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/surgery-devices/laparoscopic-power-morcellators