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Uterine Fibroids - How They Affect Your Fertility?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Prathiba Govindaiah 88% (10 ratings)
MBBS, DNB - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Fellowship In Reproductive Medicine, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery
IVF Specialist, Bangalore  •  15 years experience
 Uterine Fibroids - How They Affect Your Fertility?

Uterine fibroids are benign, muscular growths in the uterine wall which may grow within the wall of the uterus or may get attached to the wall. Uterine fibroids can be of many types depending on their location in the uterus – Subserosal fibroids are found on the outer surface of the uterus, just beneath the serosa which is the outer membrane lining the uterus; submuscosal fibroids are located inside the uterine cavity, beneath the endometrium; intramural fibroids are located inside the muscular wall of the uterus; and pedunculated fibroids grow on small stalks either inside the uterine cavity or on its outer surface.

Many women who have uterine fibroids do not show any symptoms and are often unaware of their existence till they have an ultrasound or medical check-up. But depending on the location and size of the fibroids, they can cause certain symptoms such as:

  1. Heavy bleeding during periods and pain
  2. Bleeding in between periods
  3. Frequent urination due to increased pressure on the bladder
  4. Constipation caused by pressure on the rectum
  5. Infertility or pregnancy complications
  6. Uterine fibroids and infertility

Depending on the location of the fibroid in the uterus and its size, uterine fibroids can negatively affect a woman’s fertility or lead to problems during pregnancy. More often, submucosal uterine fibroids, those that grow inside the uterine cavity and fibroids which are quite large in size (more than 5cm in diameter) cause infertility in women. This is because:

  1. Fibroids which are close to the cervix can block the entrance of or reduce the number of sperm that are able to enter the uterus
  2. Large fibroids which form near the opening of the fallopian tube in the uterus can block the fertilised egg from entering the uterus thus preventing implantation
  3. Submucosal fibroids which grow on the endometrium can reduce the total area available for the zygote to implant or reduce the space inside the uterine cavity thus interfering with normal development of the embryo.
  4. Multiple fibroid growths can deprive the endometrium of regular blood flow thus reducing the amount of estrogen received; this can lead to miscarriages in pregnancy as it compromises the structural integrity of the endometrium and as a result it cannot maintain its thickened state required for sustaining a pregnancy.

Most women with uterine fibroids do not experience problems with conceiving, however if you are experiencing fertility issues it is best to consult a doctor to determine if fibroids are causing the problem and pursuing their suggested course of action. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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