Fibroids and Fertility
Found in 20%1 of women of reproductive age, fibroids can be an issue when trying to conceive. African-American women are even more likely (50%-80%) to experience fibroids, leading to infertility and miscarriages. Here’s what we know about fibroids and their effects on growing a family, plus some advice on discussions to have with your doctor.
Fibroids can change the shape of the cervix, affecting the number of sperm that can enter the uterus. Another way to think of it is a decrease in chances that the sperm and egg will meet.
This change in shape, can also interfere with the movement of the sperm or embryo. Fallopian tubes can be blocked by fibroids, and they can also impact the size of the lining of the uterine cavity, making conception difficult. Additionally, blood flow to the uterine cavity can be affected, and this can decrease the ability of an embryo to stick to the uterine wall and subsequently develop.
Most women with fibroids will not be infertile. Approximately 5% – 10%1 of infertile women have fibroids that are inside the uterine cavity (submucosal) or very large (>6 cm in diameter) within the wall of the uterus (intramural).
Women with fibroids and their partners are encouraged to undergo a thorough evaluation by a fertility specialist to pinpoint other problems with fertility before fibroids are treated.
Fibroids are found in 2% to 12%1 of pregnant women, but not all fibroids get large enough to cause problems in pregnancy. If a fibroid does grow, however, it usually does so in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy; since fibroids can change the baby’s position in the uterus, this increases the risk for miscarriage, preterm delivery and cesarean section1.
Surgery is rarely necessary or performed during pregnancy, and the way fibroids are managed depends on your unique case, as well as your doctor’s recommendations. If a woman conceives after having a fibroid removed, she should discuss this with the obstetrician who will deliver the baby.
Treatment is decided on a patient-by-patient basis. It is based on the symptoms of fibroids and may improve overall fertility. How and whether you treat your fibroids depends on the severity of your symptoms and your doctor’s recommendations. We recommend if you have any concerns about fibroids, speaking with your doctor.
For even more information on fibroid-related issues – including remedies for heavy periods – browse similar posts here on our Change the Cycle blog.
1. The American Society For Reproductive Medicine Staff. ASRM Patient Fact Sheet. The
American Society For Reproductive Medicine. https://www.asrm.org/FACTSHEET_Fibroids_and_Fertility. Published 2015. Accessed June 28, 2016.
- Posted by holx-admin
- On August 4, 2016