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The Center for Fertility and Gynecology

Fibroids: How Do They Affect Female Fertility?

By Paula Hovell on July 15, 2016

The female reproductive systemHere at the Center for Fertility and Gynecology, we take great pride in helping people throughout the Los Angeles start families of their own. To do this, we offer state-of-the-art infertility services, which can address male and female infertility.

Uterine fibroids have been linked to some issues with female infertility, and they are often misunderstood. Let's take a moment to consider what they are and how they can be treated.

About Uterine Fibroids

Also known as leiomyomas and myomas, uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus. They occur when cells divide repeatedly from the smooth muscular tissue of the uterus. The fibroids may grow slowly or rapidly, ranging from minute and undetectable without the aid of a microscope to large, enough to distort the shape and size of the uterus. Thankfully these growths do not increase the risk of uterine cancer or develop into cancer.

It's estimated that up to three-quarters of women will have uterine fibroids at one point of their life, yet many women will be unaware of them developing.

Causes of Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids tend to show up during a woman's childbearing years, though there is yet to be a consensus as to why they form. Clinical research suggests that they occur as a result of genetic changes, hormonal changes or fluctuations, and other factors related to bodily growth.

Signs and Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

When uterine fibroids cause symptoms, the most common signs include the following:

  • Heavy bleeding during menstruation

  • Prolonged periods

  • Pain or pressure of the pelvis

  • Frequent need to urinate

  • Constipation

  • Problems emptying the bladder

  • Back pain

  • Leg pain

Can Uterine Fibroids Affect Conception?

Uterine fibroids that significantly alter the uterine cavity can have a negative impact on fertility. This includes large submucosal fibroids that are inside the uterine cavity and large intramural fibroids that are within the wall of the uterus.

On the whole, however, most women with fibroids will not necessarily notice issues with fertility. Between 5 percent to 10 percent of infertile women have fibroids.

Can Uterine Fibroids Affect My Pregnancy?

In some cases, yes. Uterine fibroids are present in 2 percent to 12 percent of pregnant women. These fibroids can potentially affect a child in the womb if they grow rapidly, which tends to occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

In serious cases, uterine fibroids can cause miscarriages. Rapidly growing uterine fibroids can also alter the position of the baby in the uterus, leading to serious problems for the mother and her child.

Keep in mind that many women who have fibroids are able to carry a baby to term without any serious worries about wellness. This will be something too discuss with your doctor and a fertility specialist, however, if you have any concerns about wellness.

Treatment Options to Consider

If you have had a miscarriage before or have experienced issues with uterine fibroids that have affected fertility or pregnancy, there are many options to consider to get the help you need.

When uterine fibroids cause problems with conception, the ideal option to consider is typically in vitro fertilization (IVF). To avoid miscarriage or issues with fetal health and development, a surrogate carrier may be helpful to consider.

Contact the Center for Fertility and Gynecology

To learn more about the treatment of fibroids and how we can help you address these matters, be sure to contact our team of fertility specialists today. The team at the Center for Fertility and Gynecology is here to help you.

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