If you've been diagnosed with uterine fibroids, likely one of the first things on your mind is whether you can still get pregnant. No matter how far off starting a family is for you, the question deserves an answer.
The short answer to this complicated, multilayered question is that it's not black and white. A fibroid's potential impact on fertility varies from woman to woman and depends on many factors, including size, location, and number of fibroids.
Although it can be difficult to pinpoint your exact chances of getting pregnant, that doesn't mean we can't give you the best information possible and help you take the first steps in your fertility journey.
Our team of fibroid specialists at our Lawrenceville, Georgia, office, led by Dr. Daniel Esteves, walks you through some of the key things you should know about how fibroids can affect your fertility.
First, let's cover some of the basics.
Fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop in the uterus. They're fairly common, with upward of 70% of women developing them at some point, most often during childbearing years. However, not all fibroids are created equal, and some can impact fertility more than others.
Around 5-10% of infertile women have fibroids, but most women with fibroids won't be infertile. Fibroids can reduce your fertility in a few ways, including:
- Changes in the shape of your cervix and/or uterus
- Blockage of the fallopian tubes
- Changes to the size and lining of your uterus
- Restricted blood flow to your uterus
Here's a closer look at more of the specifics.
The size of your fibroids is one of the first things we look at when determining their impact on your fertility. In most cases, larger fibroids (bigger than 5 centimeters in diameter) are more likely to cause problems. This is mainly because they can distort the shape of the uterus, which interferes with the implantation process.
Location, location, location
Where your fibroids are located within your uterus can also impact your fertility. Fibroids located inside your uterus or within your uterine cavity cause the most problems regarding implantation.
Fibroids in these locations inhibit implantation and may also block the fallopian tubes, preventing sperm from reaching the egg.
Number of fibroids
Finally, we look at how many fibroids you have. If you have multiple fibroids, you're more likely to experience fertility problems than if you have just one or two.
Your fertility journey with fibroids
If you've been diagnosed with uterine fibroids and are trying to conceive, it's essential to work with one of our experts who has experience addressing fibroids.
In many cases, you can conceive naturally. However, depending on the size and location of your fibroids, we may recommend that you consider fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF).
We offer a variety of fibroid treatment options, including medication, surgery, and minimally invasive procedures like a myomectomy, which involves strategically removing the fibroid without damaging your reproductive organs.
Your pregnancy with fibroids
Believe it or not, 12% of pregnant women have fibroids, and most of their fibroids don't get larger or cause any complications during pregnancy.
However, there are some potential complications. The biggest pregnancy concern is whether the fibroid will trigger preterm birth or miscarriage.
There are cases where fibroids outgrow their blood supply and cause pain, which may require hospitalization. Fibroids can also change the baby's position and increase your chances of needing a cesarean section.
We work closely with you during your pregnancy to monitor and proactively address any problems that develop.
The bottom line
While uterine fibroids can impact fertility, they don't have to prevent you from getting pregnant. With the right treatment and support, you can conceive and carry a healthy pregnancy to term.
If you're concerned about how your fibroids might impact your fertility, don't hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone to learn more about your options.