Could Your Mirena IUD Shrink Your Fibroids????

Xu and Xu and Zhu, and co-workers have done a fascinating study that was buried in the very back of the September issue of Contraception (good thing GynoGab Gal does the cover to cover of the good ones!). Working in Jiangsu, China they have discovered that the progestin component, the levonorgestrel, may actually both suppress the growth and cause death of uterine fibroid cells! WoW! These researchers have been studying the fine points of fibroid growth. We know that it's probably a chromosome glitch in a single uterine muscle cell that gets that fibroid cell's growth unleashed and causes a tumor to grow. So they did a study of cells in culture from twenty women with fibroids who had hysterectomy. They point out that the growth, based on active DNA (ok, for the accurate scientists, actual mRNA phase of growth) was more active in the progesterone (luteal, second half) of the menstrual cycle, but paradoxically the growth of fibroids is somewhat restricted during phases of pregnancy when progesterone is very high. So they tested the levonorgesterel progesterone that is in Mirena IUD (for discussion group pop on here). There theory was that the 20 mcg/ml that is leaked each day from the Mirena (LGN-IUS to the fancy people and for info outside the USA go to the other Mirena) is about 1000 times what a normal circulating progesterone level would be, and that in their cultures after only 72 hours the growth of those cells was decreased by 24%. Double wowie! And furthermore, in order for a fibroid not to grow, that bad boy cell needs to die! And apparently that is what our hormones regulate as well. And they were able to use large doses of the levonorgesterel to induce the death of these fibroid (leiomyoma) cells. So there is a whole bunch of complex growth regulating factors, including the newest growth regulator on the block: "survivin" (I love that name, almost want to buy a cat just to use it!) and how they interact with the exact gene make up of the cells of one's uterus that ultimately determines the survive or die of a fibroid cell. And survival instincts must be pretty good since the newest estimates are that up to 50% of all women will have uterine fibroids before they die! The best news yet is that these researchers aren't done, they have all sorts of new proposals to look at how this might work. And if the use of the progesterone containing IUD doesn't suffice to shrink your fibroids successfully, it may be time to try other therapies. Call 217-356-3736 if you live within range of central Illinois and wish to have this therapy, or if you are done with having children, you may be interested in office same day NovaSure endometrial ablation therapy. 


  1. Hi I have had my mirena for 3 months now, and still suffering long periods. But I am very interested if the mirena will definatley shrink fibroids as I have some, and they are troublesome! They caused very heavy periods, hence the mirena, but as I said the mirena has left me with long periods ie:3 weeks!! But if my fibroids will def shrink I will continue!

  2. At Women's Health Practice we feel that doing an ultrasound will help track the size, the shape, the change, the character, and the blood flow of uterine fibroids. Pelvic examinations with your gynecologists are helpful as well. Just tracking the bleeding patterns will not always help figure out if the Mirena IUD is changing anything about the fibroids themselves.


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