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  • The link between fibroids and fertility

    Sunday, February 28, 2021

    If you’re struggling to conceive then one reason could be that you might have fibroids. Uterine fibroids are noncancerous, or benign, tumors made of muscle tissue.

    These are tumors or lumps which can occur singly or in clusters within the wall of the uterus. but unfortunately, they can cause havoc with fertility and pregnancy.

    Sometimes uterine fibroids are also known as leiomyoma or myomas. Uterine fibroids can vary greatly in size. Some are too small to be seen with the human eye and others can be so large that they can enlarge or distort the shape of the uterus.

    There is more than one type of fibroid depending upon where it’s positioned in or on the uterus: Intramural fibroids, subserosal fibroids, pedunculated fibroids and Submucosal fibroids.

    If you’re trying to conceive with fibroids, talk to your doctor about the size or position of any fibroids you have. Ask if they could cause problems with your attempts to get pregnant or the ability to carry a pregnancy.

    How can fibroids affect fertility?

    Just because you have fibroids it doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to get pregnant. Many women with fibroids conceive naturally without needing fertility treatment. 

    While fibroids can cause some fertility issues, most women with uterine fibroids are not infertile. However, fibroids can contribute to difficulties conceiving. Usually, this depends on the size and location of the fibroids. Other ways fibroids can affect your fertility include:

    – Fibroids may block the fallopian tubes.

    – Changes in the shape of the uterus due to fibroids – this can affect the movement of sperm or an embryo.

    – The shape of the cervix may be altered by fibroids, which will affect the number of sperm entering the uterus.

    – Fibroids can alter the growth and size of the uterine lining, therefore jeopardizing implantation of an embryo.

    – If the blood flow to the uterus is limited by fibroids, then the embryo is less likely to implant in the uterine wall. Or, if it does implant, the development will be inhibited.

    How can fibroids be treated to improve a woman’s fertility before pregnancy?

    There are different options available which include hormonal pills, hormonal IUD and uterine fibroid surgery. Each one has it’s pros and cons, so it’s always best to discuss the options with your doctor before deciding which is best for you.

    Treating uterine fibroids before pregnancy may improve your fertility risk. The most common treatments for fibroids that preserve fertility include:

    – Myomectomy: This surgical procedure is used to remove fibroids. It may increase the need for cesarean delivery, and you’ll likely need to wait about three months following the procedure before attempting to conceive.

    – Hormonal birth control pills: While you’re on the pill, you won’t be able to become pregnant. But this contraceptive can help ease symptoms of the condition, such as heavy bleeding and painful periods.

    – Intrauterine device (IUD): Like the birth control pill, an IUD will prevent pregnancy as long as you’re using it. However, it can help eliminate some of the symptoms while preserving fertility.

    – Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists: This type of medication blocks the production of the hormones that lead to ovulation and menstruation, so you won’t be able to become pregnant while taking this medication. It can help shrink fibroids.

    – Myolysis: This procedure uses an electric current, laser, or radio-frequency energy beam to shrink the blood vessels that feed the fibroids.

    Before you get treated for fibroids, other causes for infertility in both you and your partner should be ruled out. Your fertility specialist can help you determine if fibroids are contributing to infertility. Then they can also assist you when deciding how to treat them.