Those non-cancerous tumors made up of cells and muscle known as fibroids can be a quirky lot. Many women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms whatsoever, and some never even know they have them. Others have painful and heavy periods and struggle with discomfort. With all these disparate situations you may be wondering if and how fibroids can affect your fertility.
How And Why Fibroids Affect Fertility
Many women will have children with no impact related to their fibroids. But certain fibroids affect the ability to conceive and remain pregnant. The size, location, and number of fibroids are key to whether they may affect a woman’s ability to conceive and give birth without issue.
- The location of fibroids can prevent the sperm and egg from joining together for conception. The shape of the cervix may change allowing less sperm to enter the uterus.
- If fibroids block the Fallopian tubes, it can affect whether the embryo reaches the uterus for implantation, and sometimes they may even change the shape of the uterus making it more difficult to successfully implant.
- Lastly, fibroids can weaken the uterine wall decreasing nutrients to the growing embryo potentially causing a miscarriage.
The size of a fibroid or multiple fibroids will also change during pregnancy with the increase in the production of estrogen. So as the fetus grows, so will the fibroid(s). One of the greatest concerns for women during pregnancy is whether the size of the fibroid will increase the chances of a miscarriage. In addition, it can change the baby’s position within the uterus and necessitate the need for a C section.
Getting Answers In Anchorage
If you have fibroids and are considering pregnancy, confer with one of Women’s Care of Alaska’s healthcare providers to discuss the possible issues related to the size, number and location of your fibroids. Every case is different. Based on your particular situation, a non-invasive and very precise procedure known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization may be recommended.
This non-surgical technique shrinks the fibroids while leaving all the organs and tissues intact. It blocks blood flow to the fibroid(s) so they stop growing. This permanently stops their growth with no scars and no possibility of weakening the uterus or its lining.
Another available treatment is a surgery known as Myomectomy which cuts out the fibroid. This seems less effective since it is less precise than Uterine Fibroid Embolization and can weaken the uterine wall. In addition, it may leave scars and there is a high risk that the fibroids will grow back.
We have focused on how fibroids can affect your fertility, but many women with fibroids have natural and successful pregnancies.
If you have fibroids and are considering getting pregnant, speak to one of our providers about whether they may affect your fertility.