If you’ve been having certain symptoms: pelvic pressure, heavy periods, a bit of constipation, you may have been curious enough to surf the web, looking for a disease that fits your symptoms. One disease that fits just this profile is uterine fibroids. Perhaps you even received a tentative diagnosis of fibroids from your physician. In any case, if you’re trying to conceive, you might be concerned about how uterine fibroids will affect your fertility. If you do become pregnant, you wonder how fibroids will affect your pregnancy.
The number of women who experience uterine fibroids is unknown, since many have no symptoms. Some experts believe that as many as 75% of all women will develop these non-cancerous uterine growths. Those women who do develop fibroids tend to get them during their childbearing years. Therefore, if you’ve been trying to conceive without success, it’s just possible that fibroids are the problem, even though you’ve had no symptoms. Fibroids are a known cause of infertility.
Fibroids don’t often interfere with fertility or gestation. But in some cases, fibroids create an obstacle so that your fallopian tubes become blocked and sperm can’t travel through them to your ovum. Sometimes, fibroids simply distort the shape of the fallopian tubes, narrowing them, or making them kink, and this too, can interfere with the passage of sperm to your eggs.
Uterine fibroids that grow inside the uterine cavity are called submucosal fibroids. These growths sometimes prevent an embryo from implanting and growing inside the uterus. Some studies have found that uterine fibroids raise a woman’s risk for miscarriage, poor positioning of the fetus, separation of the placenta, and premature delivery. But none of these studies have offered positive proof of such complications.
What is known is that the complications change according to the size and type of uterine fibroids that have developed. Those most likely to be a problem are very large submucosal fibroids, especially when there are several at once, because these tend to distort the shape of the uterine cavity.
All things considered, the most common complication of fibroids experienced during pregnancy is pain. Localized pain may occur during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers.
If you know you have fibroids and you’ve miscarried in the past, you may want to discuss the removal of your fibroids with your physician, in particular if they are the type that can distort the uterus.