'Morning after' pill offers hope to millions of fibriods sufferers

AN experimental "morning after" pill could free millions of women in the UK from the misery of fibroids, new research suggests.

The drug, ulipristal acetate (UPA), provides an effective non-surgical treatment for the common womb condition that can lead to pain, heavy periods and infertility, say scientists.

Women taking the contraceptive pill saw their fibroids shrink in volume and experienced a significant reduction in symptoms.

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Psychological tests showed that their energy levels, mood and general quality of life all improved. Other evidence confirmed that after stopping the treatment, fertility returned to normal.

Study leader Alicia Armstrong, from the US National Institutes of Health, said: "The results . . . are convincing and lead us to conclude that UPA is an effective non-invasive treatment for fibroids that can help maintain fertility in women whose only option up to now was to have surgery." UPA is being developed as a novel form of emergency contraception.

Researchers thought it might also work as a fibroid treatment because of its effect on the fertility hormone progesterone.

Progesterone helps to trigger ovulation but recent research has shown it also plays a role in the development of uterine fibroids. The condition is believed to affect 24 million women in Europe, and as many as one in four British women will suffer from the non-cancerous growths in their lifetime.

They typically occur between the ages of 30 and 50, and can run in families. Fibroids are also most likely to affect women who are overweight.

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