Why Fibroids Cause Infertility
Fibroids are a common condition that affects many women, but many are not aware of the impact fibroids can have on fertility. In this blog post, we will explore why fibroids cause infertility and what options are available for those affected.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids, also known as uterine myomas or leiomyomas, are non-cancerous growths that develop in the uterus. They are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue and can vary in size, from very small to larger than a melon. Fibroids are common, with up to one in three women developing them at some point in their lives.
How can fibroids cause infertility?
Fibroids can cause infertility by blocking or altering the normal function of the uterus and fallopian tubes. They can also interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg or the growth of a developing fetus. In some cases, fibroids can cause problems with the placenta and lead to miscarriage.
When do fibroids affect infertility?
Fibroids can affect fertility at any stage, from the ability to conceive to the ability to carry a pregnancy to term. They are more likely to affect fertility when they are located within the cavity of the uterus or in close proximity to the fallopian tubes.
What is the average age to get fibroids?
Fibroids are most common in women between the ages of 30 and 40, but they can occur at any age.
Do you ovulate when you have fibroids?
Fibroids do not affect ovulation, so it is possible to ovulate and have fibroids at the same time. However, fibroids can affect the uterus, making it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant and grow.
Types of fibroids
There are three main types of fibroids: submucosal, intramural and subserosal. Submucosal fibroids are located within the lining of the uterus, intramural fibroids are found within the muscle of the uterus, and subserosal fibroids are located on the outside of the uterus.
What kind of fibroids cause infertility?
All types of fibroids can potentially cause infertility, but submucosal fibroids are the most likely type to cause problems with implantation and pregnancy. Subserosal fibroids are less likely to affect fertility, but they can still cause problems with the placenta and lead to miscarriage if they are of markedly increased size.
What type of fibroids affect fertility the most?
Submucosal fibroids are the most likely to affect fertility, as they are located within the lining of the uterus and can interfere with the implantation of a fertilised egg.
Successful pregnancy with submucosal fibroid
While submucosal fibroids can cause infertility, it is still possible for some women with this type of fibroid to become pregnant. This is especially true if the fibroid is small or located in an area that does not affect the implantation of a fertilised egg.
Subserosal fibroid and pregnancy
Subserosal fibroids are less likely to affect fertility, but they can still cause problems during pregnancy. They can cause problems with the placenta, leading to miscarriage.
Can I get pregnant with fibroids?
It is possible to get pregnant with fibroids, but they can make it more difficult. If you have fibroids and are struggling to conceive, it's important to speak with your consultant about your options.
Tips on getting pregnant with fibroids
If you have fibroids and are trying to conceive, there are several things you can do to improve your chances of getting pregnant:
Speak with your doctor about your options for managing fibroids before trying to conceive.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
Try to reduce stress as much as possible, track your ovulation cycle and have intercourse during your fertile window.
Can fibroids cause miscarriage?
Fibroids can cause miscarriage by interfering with the implantation of a fertilised egg or the growth of a developing fetus. They can also cause problems with the placenta, leading to miscarriage, early labour or bleeding in pregnancy.
Fibroid infertility options
There are several options available for women who have fibroids and are struggling to conceive. Some of these options include:
Medications: Medications such as GnRH agonists can be used to shrink fibroids and reduce their impact on fertility. However, these medications can have undesirable side effects and may not be suitable for all women.
Surgery: Surgery can be used to remove fibroids and restore the normal function of the uterus. Options include hysteroscopic myomectomy, which is a minimally invasive procedure that removes fibroids through the cervix, or abdominal/laparoscopic myomectomy, which is a more invasive procedure that requires a larger incision in the abdomen.
Assisted reproductive techniques (ART): ART such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) can be used to bypass the need for fertilization to occur within the uterus, making it an option for women with fibroids, however returning the embryos back to the uterus for implantation can be challenging with untreated submucosal fibroids.
It's important to note that the best option will depend on the individual woman's specific situation, including the size and location of the fibroids, as well as any other underlying health conditions. It's important to consult with a consultant gynecologist who has interest or experience in infertility in order to get the best advice, that is applicable to your individual needs and to discuss the best option for you.
Can removing fibroids help infertility?
Removing fibroids can help improve fertility by restoring the normal function of the uterus and fallopian tubes. However, it's important to note that removing fibroids does not guarantee pregnancy.
Can I do IVF with fibroids?
IVF can be an effective option for women with fibroids, as it bypasses the need for fertilisation to occur within the uterus. However, it's important to speak with your consultant about any potential risks or complications before starting IVF.
How to deal with fibroids during pregnancy
If you have fibroids and become pregnant, it's important to work closely with your doctor to manage any potential risks or complications.
Can fibroids be removed during Caesarean section?
In some cases, fibroids can be removed during a caesarean section if they are causing problems during pregnancy. However, this is generally only done in cases where the fibroids are causing significant complications.
Fibroids are a common condition that can affect fertility, but there are options available for those affected. It's important to speak with your consultant about your options, including medical treatment to shrink fibroids, surgery or assisted reproductive techniques such as IVF. With the right approach, it is still possible to conceive and have a successful pregnancy with fibroids.
Author: Mr Osama Naji
Mr Naji provides advanced gynaecology scanning which is essential when conducting any gynaecology consultation, he is bilingual in English and Arabic and has an NHS base at the highly reputable Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital London.
He is passionate about raising awareness of various subtle signs and symptoms of gynaecological conditions that are often overlooked by patients.
You can read more about Mr Naji on his about page here.