Uterine fibroids can often – embarrassingly – make you look and feel like you’re pregnant. The bloated stomach, the need to go to the bathroom every five minutes, the constipation… ugh.
But if you want to be pregnant – really pregnant – your fibroids might give you cause for concern:
• Can they prevent you from getting pregnant?
• Can they interfere with your ability to carry a healthy baby to term?
They’re uncomfortable, troubling questions for a woman who desires a family. Let’s answer them.
Fibroids Don’t Usually Affect Fertility
That’s the good news. Fibroids – disruptive though they may be to you – can usually get along with your unborn baby just fine. Consider that 20-50% of women experience uterine fibroids at some point in their lives, and many of those women end up bearing children, with or without awareness of their fibroids.
The US National Institutes of Medicine say that for a small percentage of women, fibroids do impact their ability to get pregnant and carry a healthy baby to term. However, thorough studies comparing placement and size of fibroids and their impact on fertility have not yet been done.
If you have uterine fibroids and want to conceive, generally your fibroids should not be a concern.
However, if you have fibroids and are experiencing trouble getting pregnant, fibroid treatment or removal may be something to try if there is no other apparent cause and other fertility treatments haven’t been successful. The following treatments are potential ways to get rid of or shrink fibroids.
• GnRH-analogues (medication that temporarily stops production of the hormones that encourage fibroid growth)
• Selective progesterone receptor modulators or SPRMs (medication that affects the way the body processes the hormone that encourages fibroid growth)
• MRI-guided focused ultrasound intervention (using focused sonic waves to destroy the fibroids)
• Myolysis (using focused heat or electric energy to destroy the fibroids)
• Uterine artery embolisation (blocking the arteries supplying the fibroid so they shrink and die)
• Myomectomy (surgical removal of fibroids)
• Hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus)
If you are experiencing issues conceiving, and you suspect that fibroids may be a contributing factor, see your doctor to discuss the above options. With thought and planning, you can increase your chances of having the family you want.