So many different factors can play a role in affecting your ability to get pregnant and deliver a healthy baby. One potential factor which affects women of reproductive age is uterine fibroids which is a common condition in reproductive age group.
Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that occur in the muscle tissue of the uterus. Women usually have more than one fibroid and they vary in size and location; their size is often described by fruit, e.g., the size of a grapefruit. They can change both the size and shape of the uterus and affect the cervix. It is size and location that often affect whether you experience symptoms, experience infertility and need treatment.
There are three major different types of fibroids that differ based on where they are located:
Why fibroids develop is still unclear but genetics, hormones, and environmental factors all likely play a role.
The most common way to determine if you have fibroids and assess their size, number and location is through a physical exam and 2 D ultrasound / 3 D Ultra scan. In some cases, additional imaging tests such as an MRI may be required.
It’s a complex issue. Estimates suggest that about 5-10% of women facing infertility have fibroids and it is their size and location which may create problems. Fibroids that are very large – greater than 6 centimeters in diameter – and those located inside the uterine cavity are examples of situations where fibroids may affect your ability to get pregnant and deliver a healthy baby. Studies show that in most cases, it is only submucosal fibroids which protrude into the uterus that may affect fertility. There are exceptions including large fibroids that block the openings of fallopian tubes into the uterus.
Uterine fibroids can affect your fertility in several different ways based on how their size and location changes your uterus, cervix or fallopian tubes.
Treatment for fibroids should be based on your individual situation such as the severity of your symptoms and whether there may be other explanations for your infertility. Only surgery, often minimally invasive, can eliminate any given fibroid permanently. Other treatments that use ultrasound, electrical energy, embolization or medications can often make a given fibroid smaller, but sometimes only temporarily. Furthermore, new fibroids may grow after treatment. There is also disagreement over whether treatment will improve your fertility.
If you are trying to improve your fertility vs. relieving symptoms, research to date only supports treatment for submucosal fibroids as it does result in increased pregnancy and live birth rates.
Research is weak and does not support treatment for other types of fibroids based on comparing outcomes for pregnancy and live birth rates for women receiving treatment and those not receiving treatment.
This is not the end…. we will continue about how ivf can help a women with fibroid to achieve pregnancy