Uterine fibroids or myomas are benign tumors that can develop in a woman’s uterus during their reproductive years. Though it can develop in most women, not everyone who has it will exhibit noticeable symptoms. Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors and very often are not a cause for alarm. Still, a lot of women still wonder: does myoma cause infertility?
Does myoma cause infertility?
Yes and no. According to research, fibroids are present in about 5 to 10 percent of infertile women. However, tests show that only 1 to 2.4 percent of infertile women have very serious fibroids or myomas that prevent them from conceiving.
While there is clinical evidence to support the claim that myomas are linked to infertility, researchers have yet to confirm the connection between the two.
It is important to point out that fibroids are present in a lot of women, and most women who have it are still fertile. Many women with myomas have successful pregnancies. If you have been having problems with fertility due to myomas, there are treatments that can help remove the tumors so that you can successfully conceive.
What are the different types of fibroids?
Fibrosis impacts fertility by the location of its growth, as opposed to size or quantity. There are three main types:
Subserosal fibroids. These are benign tumors that do not affect a woman’s ability to conceive. They usually protrude outwards from outside of the uterus. Subserosal fibroids can protrude directly from the outer lining of the uterus or can grow a stalk or peduncle (pedunculated fibroids) to anchor itself. They can also grow in size and put pressure on neighboring organs like the bladder and bowels. The removal of subserosal fibroids is possible with a myectomy (either by laparoscopy or laparotomy).
Intramural fibroids. This type of myoma grows in the muscular part of the uterus. According to research, intramural fibroids can affect fertility and may increase a woman’s risk of miscarriage. The extraction of the tumor/s is possible with a myomectomy, a surgical procedure that removes that tumor but keeps the uterus intact. However, a successful myectomy does not guarantee that the patient can become pregnant.
Submucosal fibroids. The submucosal fibroids are the rarest type of uterine fibroids that can develop in women of child-bearing age. It grows in the inner layer of the uterus, thus making implantation impossible. Among the three types of uterine fibroids, women with submucosal fibroids are more at risk of infertility and pregnancy loss. Even if submucosal fibroids are benign tumors, they can cause complications such as heavy menstrual flow, frequent passing of clots, and anemia.
The best way to treat submucosal fibroids is by getting a hysteroscopic myomectomy, which is a procedure wherein a doctor inserts a hysteroscope inside the vagina to the uterus to locate and remove the fibroids. The removal of submucosal fibroids can result in the improvement of fibroids symptoms like heavy bleeding and pelvic pain.
How do uterine fibroids cause infertility?
Other than obstructing the path of the sperm and the fertilized egg, there are other factors that affect how fibroids cause infertility:
- Some fibroids can grow so large that it changes the size or shape of the uterus and the cervix, making it difficult for a number of sperm to pass.
- Fibroids can block the fallopian tubes, hindering fertilization.
- The growth of fibroids in the uterine cavity can result in deformation, making implantation difficult.
- Fibroids in the uterine cavity also weaken or damage sub-endometrial artery blood flow, making it hard for the embryo to implant itself in the uterine wall.
Can you prevent or manage uterine fibroids?
The ways to prevent the growth of uterine fibroids are still unknown. However, treatments are available if you want to remove these tumors. There are also ways to alleviate certain symptoms of fibroids, including:
- Having and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Eating healthy food like fruits and vegetables.
- Maintaining a healthy weight and keeping active.
- Good stress management.
There is still a lot of information about uterine fibroids that researchers are yet to discover. That is why, as of now, the best course of action is to have yourself checked regularly. Doing this will help you know if you should remove them. This is especially true if you’re planning to conceive in the near future. Be sure to consult your doctor and ask for different options that can increase your chances of becoming a mother.
Learn more about Uterine Fibroids, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.