7 Things to know about Fibroids if you’re TTC
[Published November 2021]
Fibroids, also known as Myomas, are smooth non-cancerous growths made up of connective tissue and muscle cells that develop in or on the wall of the uterus and they are extremely common. They seldom develop in the cervix but if discovered here, there are usually larger fibroids in the upper uterus also.
Approximately 30% of women aged 25-44 have experienced symptoms of fibroids and between 70-80% of women develop fibroids by the time they reach the age of 50. This means that uterine fibroids are very common during a woman’s childbearing years. Many women are completely unaware that they have fibroids as they do not experience any symptoms at all.
Read on to learn more about why fibroids develop and how they might affect your fertility.
Why do fibroids develop?
Fibroids usually develop during a woman’s reproductive years when oestrogen levels are at their highest. Oestrogen and progesterone are both hormones produced by the ovaries to aid the regeneration of the uterine lining throughout each menstrual cycle and this can also stimulate the growth of fibroids.
Subsequently, for women who have reached the menopause, the lack of oestrogen causes any fibroids to shrink.
How can fibroids affect fertility?
Women who have fibroids can most definitely fall pregnant naturally. For many women, treatment for fibroids may not even be necessary.
However, in some cases, the growth of fibroids can impact your ability to fall pregnant. Depending on the size and location of the fibroid[s], they can obstruct access to and from your fallopian tubes interfering with the sperm’s ability to reach the egg, and possibly even the successful implantation of an embryo. In these instances, the risk of infertility when trying to conceive increases and you may benefit from fertility treatment with fibroids.
If a fibroid has developed in a position in the uterus where the baby will grow, this may have an impact on the pregnancy itself and shall need to be closely monitored.
What are the symptoms of Fibroids?
If you have fibroids which are causing you pain or discomfort you will likely have experienced the most common symptom; vaginal bleeding, which may be irregular and/or very heavy. Other symptoms may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Heavy or painful periods
- Lower back pain
- Frequent need to urinate
- Fatigue and weakness
- Painful or discomfort during intercourse
How are Fibroids assessed?
If you are struggling to conceive and have experienced any of the above symptoms, your doctor can diagnose the extent of the growths using an ultrasound scan, or a minimally invasive hysteroscopy or laparoscopic investigation as part of your fertility treatment with fibroids.
Is it possible to get treatment for Fibroids affecting fertility?
There are many options for fertility treatment with fibroids. Your doctor can recommend the best solution for you, which will be very much dependent on your desire to start a family, your symptoms, the size and location of your fibroids and how many you have.
You may be provided with an option for medication, to treat your symptoms and shrink your fibroids or you may be offered one of the three types of surgical procedure called a Myomectomy to remove the fibroids completely.
Types of Myomectomy Procedure
A myomectomy procedure will remove the fibroids from your uterus. There are three main types of procedure:
- Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery – fibroids are removed through several small abdominal incisions
- Hysteroscopic Procedure – fibroids are removed through the vagina using a camera with a special attachment
- Open Myomectomy - fibroids are removed via an incision in the abdomen, similar to that used during a caesarean procedure.
Your doctor will discuss the benefits, risks and potential complications of the best treatment option for you.
Next steps if you’re TTC with fibroids
If you wish to discuss diagnosis and options for fertility treatment with fibroids when you are trying to conceive, you can book a consultation with Dr Irfana Koita, Fertility Consultant.
Similar Articles:Is it possible to get pregnant with Endometriosis?
Nutrition for Endometriosis - Top Tips