Fibroids are tumors that grow from muscle tissue in the uterus. Fibriods are only found in the reproductive system of a female within the childbearing age.
They are non-cancerous growths.
Their sizes can vary. They can be as small as a pea or larger than a grapefruit.
They can grow outside the uterine wall, inside the uterine cavity, or within the uterine wall. Many women have multiple fibroids of different sizes.
An estimated 40% to 60% of women have fibroids by age 35. Up to 80% of women have them by age 50.
For this reason, doctors think the number of known cases is lower than the real number.
How Fibriods Prevent Conception
The above is an image of the different locations fibriods can lodge in a woman’s reproductive system…
👉🏽 At or in the ovary
👉🏽 Around the fallopian tubes
👉🏽 Just Inside the first layer of the uterus (submucosal). These are the ones that majorly cause infertility, preventing implantation of the fetus
👉🏽 Inside the middle layer of the uterus (intramural fibriods)
👉🏽 Inside the outer layer of the uterus (subserosal fibriods)
👉🏽 At the area close to the cervix (cervical fibriods)
👉🏽 Outside the wall of the uterus, stretching out via a small branch (pedunculated)
What are the effects of fibroids on fertility?
Many women who have fibroids can get pregnant naturally. Treatment may not even be necessary for conception.
In some cases, however, fibroids can impact your fertility. For example, submucosal fibroids, which are a type of fibroid that grows and bulges into the uterine cavity, increase your risk for infertility or pregnancy loss.
While fibroids may cause infertility for some women, other explanations for infertility are more common.
If you’re having trouble conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy, your doctor may explore other possible causes before attributing the issue to fibroids.
Next steps if you’re trying to conceive with fibroids
Talk with your obstetrician about the size or position of any fibroids you have. Ask if they could cause problems with your attempts to get pregnant or the ability to carry a pregnancy.
Likewise, ask your doctor if fibroid treatments can help improve your odds for pregnancy success.
How are fibroids treated during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, treatment for uterine fibroids is limited because of the risk to the fetus. Bed rest, hydration, and mild pain relievers may be prescribed to help expectant mothers manage symptoms of fibroids.
In very rare cases, a myomectomy can be performed in women in the second half of their pregnancies. This procedure removes fibroids from the outside of the uterus or from within the uterine wall while leaving the uterus intact.
Fibroids growing in the uterine cavity are generally left in place due to the possible risks to the fetus.
How are fibroids treated before pregnancy to improve fertility?
Treating uterine fibroids before pregnancy may improve your fertility risk. The most common treatments for fibroids that preserve fertility include:
Myomectomy (removal of fibriods):
This surgical procedure is used to remove fibroids. It may increase the need for cesarean delivery, and you’ll likely need to wait about three months following the procedure before attempting to conceive.
Hormonal birth control pills:
While you’re on the pill, you won’t be able to become pregnant. But this contraceptive can help ease symptoms of the condition, such as heavy bleeding and painful periods.
Intrauterine device (IUD). Like the birth control pill, an IUD will prevent pregnancy as long as you’re using it. However, it can help eliminate some of symptoms while preserving fertility.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists:
This type of medication blocks the production of the hormones that lead to ovulation and menstruation, so you won’t be able to become pregnant while taking this medication.
It can however help shrink fibroids. After the fibroids have been shrieked, the medication can be stopped so you can try for conception.
This procedure uses an electric current, laser, or radio-frequency energy beam to shrink the blood vessels that feed the fibroids and make them bigger.
Other treatments are available for women with fibroids who may want to have children in the future. Each treatment carries its own risk and complications, so talk with your obstetrician about your options.
Likewise, ask your obstetrician how long you’ll have to wait before attempting to become pregnant after treatment.
With some treatments, such as the birth control pill, you can try for pregnancy as soon as you stop using it. For others it’s possible there may be a waiting period.
Most women who have been diagnosed with fibroids go on to have normal pregnancies, but sometimes they can cause challenges.
💝 Problems During the First Trimester
Most fibroids don’t grow while you’re pregnant, but if it happens it most likely will be during your first 3 months (first trimester).
That’s because fibroids need a hormone called estrogen to grow. Your body produces more of it when you’re pregnant.
The primary problems that could occur are:
1. Bleeding and pain:
In a study of more than 4,500 women, researchers found that 11% of the women who had fibroids also had bleeding, and 59% had just pain. But 30% of the women had both bleeding and pain during their first trimester.
Women with fibroids (14%) are much more likely to miscarry during early pregnancy than women without them (7.6%).
If a woman has multiple or very large fibroids, her chances of having miscarriage goes up even more.
💝 Second and Third Trimesters
As the uterus expands to make room for your baby, it can push against fibroids. This can cause a number of issues during pregnancy:
This is the most common symptom of fibroids, especially if they’re large.
Sometimes, fibroids twist, which can cause cramping and discomfort. Other times, the fibroid outgrows its blood supply, turns red and dies.
This process is called “red degeneration,” and can cause severe abdominal pains. In some cases, it can lead to miscarriage. Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) can be used to ease pain.
Pregnant women should avoid the intake of ibuprofen early in pregnancy because it may cause problems.
It could cause a woman to miscarry, reduce the amount of amniotic fluid or cause hearts problems in the baby.
Placental abruption. Ongoing studies seem to show that pregnant women with fibroids have a much greater chance of placental abruption than women without fibroids. That means the woman’s placenta tears away from the wall of your uterus before the baby is delivered.
It’s a very serious situation because the baby won’t get enough blood and oxygen supply and then she could have heavy bleeding. The woman could go into shock.
If a woman has fibroids, she is more likely to deliver a preterm baby.
(This meaning the baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy), than women without fibroids.
💝 During Labour or Delivery of the Baby
Many studies show that having uterine fibroids increase a woman’s probability of undergoing a cesarean section.
The reason for this could be because the fibroids can keep the uterus from contracting and they can also block your birth canal, slowing down the progress of the woman’s labor.
Women who have fibroids are six times more likely than other women to need a C-section.
Breech birth is another potential problem as the baby may not have enough space to turn and present with the head during labour.
In a normal birth, the baby comes out the birth canal head first.
In a breech birth, the baby’s buttocks or feet come out first.
💝 After Delivery /Postpartum
Fibroids often shrink after pregnancy. In one study, researchers found that, 3 to 6 months after delivery, 70% of women who had live births saw their fibroids shrink more.