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HealthWatch: Pill May Help Shrink Uterine Fibroids

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CBS New York (con't)

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Many women suffer from uterine fibroids. The options to treat them are limited and can cause complications, but soon treatment may be as easy as taking a pill, CBS 2′s Dr. Holly Phillips reports.

Discomfort and abdominal bloating are just some of the symptoms women with uterine fibroids suffer through. Patient Jeneet Orzova, 33, has uterine fibroids and says she experiences pain and discomfort.

She said her stomach becomes larger to the point where she can no longer wear smaller dresses.

As many as 80 percent of all woman suffer from uterine fibroids, non cancerous growths in the muscle wall of the uterus. In some woman they can cause severe pain, heavy bleeding.

Manhattan Obstetrician Dr. Jennifer Wu said surgery to treat fibroids can also interfere with a woman’s ability to get pregnant.

“When we do surgery on fibroids, especially woman who desire to have children in the future, we always worry about scar tissue and disrupting the tubes and causing tubal scarring,” said Wu.

Now a drug used in Europe as emergency contraception, may be able to shrink fibroids without surgery. It’s called Ella One and it lowers the hormone progestrin.

“This is a pill that alters the progestrin receptors and blocks progestrin feeding the fibroids. Thus, the fibroids will shrink and also the bleeding will improve,” Wu said.

A new study found 80 percent of women who took the drug for three months had their fibroids shrink in size, and bleeding was reduced.

“A pill that would help to shrink fibroids and yet keep the uterus in tact, keep the tubes in tact, will be very useful for woman who want to have babies,” said Wu.

Although the drug is currently not available in the U.S., a food and drug advisory panel recently voted that it should be. Orzova is just glad it’s on the horizon.

“If they have that. It will be great,” Orzova said.

If the drug is given final approval in the U.S. it will only be for use as emergency contraception. That may happen in just a few months.

Meanwhile, studies are currently ongoing to confirm the safety and effectiveness of the drug in treating fibroids.

It’s also important to note that although the majority of women have uterine fibroids at some point in their lives, most do not require treatment.