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Can Fibroids Ruin Our Chances of Getting Pregnant?

Any number of things can affect your chances of getting pregnant. In some cases, the causes of fertility problems can be permanent. In other cases, they might be something that can be overcome through a variety of measures. Fibroids is one condition that may, under certain circumstances, affect your ability to get pregnant. However it does not always ruin your chances altogether.

First, it is important to understand exactly what fibroids are. Fibroids, medically called uterine leiomyomata, are masses of tissue, typically somewhat large masses, that are composed of uterine cell tissues. Somewhere around 50 to 80 percent of women have at least a single fibroid. Fibroids are not cancerous. They have been known to grow both around and even inside of your uterus. Fibroids often distort the size and the shape of your uterus. Fibroids may be a few centimeters long, or up to 15 centimeters long or even longer. Often, fibroids grow in groups.

There are several different kinds of fibroids. Fibroids that grow inside the uterine wall are known as intramural fibroids. These are the most common type of fibroids, and these can often affect your chances of getting pregnant. Fibroids that grow outside of the uterus are called subserosal fibroids. These fibroids are often the largest of the types of fibroids, and are less likely to affect your chances of getting pregnant. Finally, submucosal fibroids are the fibroids that will grow on the inside of your uterus. These are more rare, and account for somewhere around 1 in 20 fibroids. These are they type that are the most likely to ruin your chances of getting pregnant, and are the most difficult to treat.

Because fibroids can change the shape of the uterus, and because they can grow within the uterus, some studies suggest that fibroids can greatly affect fertility. For women who are having fertility problems, research shows that removal of the fibroids will increase their fertility by around 70%. Women who have subserosal fibroids, however, do not seem to have their fertility affected by their fibroids.

Fibroidsof any type are typically treated through surgery. This surgery is typically done vaginally, and therefore doesn’t require cutting of the abdomen. Often, fibroids can be removed on an outpatient basis. Fibroids may sometimes be removed laparoscopically, using several small incisions and a small camera. In this case, recover is just a few days. Fibroids that grow inside of the uterus, however, do typically require regular traditional abdominal surgery.

If a woman with fibroids does manage to become pregnant, her fibroids will likely increase in size. For most women, the fibroids will not ruin their pregnancy, or even cause any symptoms whatsoever. In some cases, fibroids can create a higher risk of having a miscarriage or of having preterm labor. If your fibroids grow to where they are extremely large, they can cause some other types complications. Postpartum hemorrhaging is one possible complication that they can cause. If the fibroids grow in such a way that they obstruct the birth canal, they can create difficulty with labor, including a stalled labor or the need to have a cesarean section. Sometimes, fibroids that grow in the uterus can cause your baby to be in a strange position, and can cause fetal malpresentation. Generally speaking, fibroids are not treated during pregnancy.

Last modified: February 10, 2013

The information provided here should not be considered medical advice. It is based on the average experience of women trying to conceive and may not be what you may be experiencing. It's not meant to be a replacement for any advice you may receive from your doctor. If you have any concerns about your cycle or our ability to get pregnant, we advise you to contact your doctor.