Uterine Fibroids and Infertility

Uterine fibroids are very common occurrences in women. They are also known as myoma or leiomyoma. Uterine fibroids can cause infertility, but not all of the time. Uterine fibroids are benign tumors affecting the uterine muscle tissue. Uterine fibroids are not cancerous tumors, but they can affect fertility, nonetheless.

There are three types of uterine fibroids. Subserosal fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus. They can cause little or no symptoms unless they are severe. They give the uterus a bumpy appearance. Tumors can grow on stalks and they are referred to as pedunculated subserosal fibroids. They can cause back pain, pelvic pain, frequent urination and cramping. If the fibroids grow large, they can affect the kidneys and other surrounding organs. Subserosal fibroids should not cause any infertility issues. However, if they grow large, they can put pressure on fallopian tubes and ovaries, inhibiting their function.

Intramural fibroids are found in the muscle of the uterus. They are usually round in shape and can vary in size from microscopic to enormous. Some can get up to 50 pounds. Intramural fibroids can cause the size of the uterus to enlarge. Intramural fibroids can cause excessive menstrual bleeding, cramping, pelvic and back pain, and prolonged periods. Again, intramural fibroids may not cause any recognizable symptoms and may only be discovered during a vaginal exam or during infertility treatment. Intramural fibroids can cause problems with conception. They can cause problems with implantation or miscarriage.

The submucous fibroid causes the most problems with fertility. They can grow inside of the uterus. They commonly interfere with the uterine lining development and placement. This can cause miscarriage and difficulty with implantation. It can also cause painful periods and excessive bleeding. The submucous fibroid can develop a stalk and the mass can protrude from the stalk into the uterus. The stalk can allow the submucous fibroid to move further into the uterus and sometimes through the cervix and into the vagina. If the tumor grows large, then the uterus may recognize it as a foreign body and contract to expel it. If this happens it can cause severe pain similar to labor pains.

Fibroids are sometimes found during routine examinations but they can not always be detected this way. They are commonly found during ultrasound or during surgery. If fibroids are severe, then you may need to seek treatment. A myomectomy is a surgical procedure where fibroids are removed one at a time and the uterus is hopefully spared. This is the common treatment for women who still want to have children. Hysterectomy is the other option where the uterus is removed. Talk with your infertility specialist about what options there are for you and your treatment.

This information is provided by Dr. Eric Daiter MD.