Fibroids may affect a woman’s fertility
While 5-10% of women who have fertility problems have fibroids¹, not all of them have fertility issues that are caused by those fibroids. Our Kansas City fertility doctor, Dan Gehlbach, MD, performs a thorough fertility evaluation on each patient to determine the cause of her fertility problems.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are benign, or noncancerous, muscular tumors that grow inside the uterine cavity—on the uterine wall or outer surfaces—or on organs inside the pelvic cavity such as the bladder or bowel.
Fibroids usually occur during a woman’s reproductive years, most commonly from the ages of 30 to 40. In fact, age is the primary risk factor for developing them. Other risk factors include having a family history, being African American or being overweight or obese.
Some women have fibroids and do not even realize it, but other women will experience symptoms. Our Kansas City fertility doctor is happy to discuss these in detail with patients.
Fibroid symptoms may include:
- Severe pain or heavy bleeding during menstruation
- Feelings of pressure, pain or fullness in the pelvic area
- Pain during urination or more frequent urination
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Back or leg pain
- Bowel problems such as constipation
How can fibroids affect fertility?
Fibroids usually don’t cause fertility problems, but here is how they can.
- They can change the shape of the cervix or the uterus, both of which can affect the ability of the sperm or fertilized egg to enter the uterus or to move properly.
- Fibroids can block fallopian tubes.
- They may cause the lining of the uterine cavity to change.
- Fibroids can also affect the blood flow to the uterine cavity which can decrease the embryo’s ability to implant, or adhere to the uterine wall.
Our Kansas City fertility doctor will discuss the size and location of your fibroids with you, as well as any problems they may be causing and possible treatment options, if necessary.
Treating fibroids to maintain and promote fertility
Fibroids that are causing moderate or severe symptoms or fertility issues may need to be removed. One proven method that is considered safe for women who hope to get pregnant is a surgical procedure called a myomectomy. In almost all cases, this surgery can be performed using minimally invasive methods such as laparoscopy or robotic-assisted surgery. Currently, fibroid embolization is not a recommended method for removing fibroids for women who hope to become pregnant.
Our Kansas City fertility doctor is here to help women discover what is causing fertility issues and to treat them to achieve pregnancy. Dr. Gehlbach has the experience and expertise to both diagnose and treat women with fibroids. Contact us to learn more.
5 to 10 percent of women with fertility problems have fibroids — ¹http://reproductivefacts.org/FACTSHEET_Fibroids_and_Fertility/