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Reprod Sci. 2012 Apr;19(4):339-53. doi: 10.1177/1933719111432867. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

Medical treatment of uterine leiomyoma.

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Center for Women Health Research, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN 37208, USA.


Uterine leiomyomas (also called myomata or fibroids) are the most common gynecologic tumors in the United States. The prevalence of leiomyomas is at least 3 to 4 times higher among African American women than in white women. Pathologically, uterine leiomyomas are benign tumors that arise in any part of the uterus under the influence of local growth factors and sex hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. These common tumors cause significant morbidity for women and they are considered to be the most common indication for hysterectomy in the world; they are also associated with a substantial economic impact on health care systems that amounts to approximately $2.2 billion/year in the United States alone. Uterine myomas cause several reproductive problems such as heavy or abnormal uterine bleeding, pelvic pressure, infertility, and several obstetrical complications including miscarriage and preterm labor. Surgery has traditionally been the gold standard for the treatment of uterine leiomyomas and has typically consisted of either hysterectomy or myomectomy. In recent years, a few clinical trials have evaluated the efficacy of orally administered medications for the management of leiomyoma-related symptoms. In the present review, we will discuss these promising medical treatments in further detail.

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