Medically reviewed by Dr. Betty Acker, MD on July 12, 2021
Fibroids, which also go by the medical term leiomyomas, are benign (non-cancerous) growths found in the uterus. They are usually classified into 3 main types depending on location. Intramural means they are within the walls of the uterus. Submucosal means they are in the wall and poke out into the cavity of the uterus. Subserosal means that they are in the wall and poke out of the surface of the uterus, like speed bumps in a road. They can be very small and invisible to your doctor’s eye or they can be huge. This causes the uterus to grow in size like during a pregnancy. Fibroids can occur singly, or there can be many at the same time.
The symptoms of fibroids can include heavy bleeding with periods, and longer periods. People can experience pain or pressure, especially in the pelvis, that affects the bladder and/or intestines. Some people experience the need to urinate frequently, constipation, back and/or leg pain.
How Hormonal Birth Control May Help Fibroids
People with fibroids most commonly use combined hormone contraception like pills, such as Seasonique and Yasmin, patches, or rings. That is because these are the most popular choices of contraceptives in general. These methods can have many health benefits so they are very popular. They help with lightening menstrual flow and the cramping that comes with periods, and they decrease the incidence of both uterine and ovarian cancers. There is no data that proves that any one method is better than another. It simply comes down to patient preference and choice. Progestin-only methods can also be successful in treating these symptoms. These include pills, implants, and IUDs.
However, contraceptives don’t always treat the symptoms of the fibroids. It is fairly common that periods are not made lighter or shorter, the menstrual cramping does not adequately resolve, or the symptoms actually get worse. Fibroids have even shown growth under the influence of hormones and with growth sometimes symptoms worsen.
It always makes sense to try a birth control method to see if it works for you. Let your Nurx medical provider know that you have been diagnosed with fibroids, and whether it was by physical exam or by an imaging study like a sonogram. We can work together to try and improve your symptoms, and provide you with dependable contraception.