Infertility and Fibroids
Infertility can occur for various reasons, and uterine fibroids are one of them. Although fibroids themselves are not the direct cause of infertility, they create certain difficulties for conceiving and carrying a child to term.
Among gynecological diseases, uterine fibroids take a leading place after inflammatory diseases, because uterine fibroids occur in every third woman, mainly after 30 years.
Uterine fibroids are a benign hormone-dependent tumor that develops in the muscle layer of the uterus – myometrium. It is benign because it rarely leads to the development of cancer. Hormone-dependent, because it increases in size under the influence of the female sex hormone estrogen.
Uterine fibroids can be asymptomatic in some cases, but many women have a large list of fibroid symptoms, and infertility, unfortunately, is one of them.
The role of uterine fibroids in the development of infertility and miscarriage is still the subject of lively discussion among doctors. A variety of factors can affect the reduction of reproductive function in patients with uterine fibroids.
What You Need To Know About Infertility And Fibroids
Uterine fibroids can cause infertility, termination of pregnancy, an increase in the frequency of complications in childbirth and the postpartum period. All this indicates the need for timely treatment of patients with uterine fibroids before pregnancy.
This problem is becoming increasingly relevant in connection with the increasing incidence of fibroids in women under 30 years of age, on the one hand, and late pregnancy planning (after 40 years), on the other hand, when the risk of uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and inflammatory diseases is significantly increased.
Fibroids that grow quickly or are larger in size can become a barrier to the movement of sperm. They can also affect the fallopian tubes and the shape of the uterus.
Also, the risk of spontaneous abortion with fibroids increases. There is a further risk of delayed development of the fetus due to the lack of oxygen and nutrients coming from the placenta.
Usually, women suffering from uterine fibroids and interested in having children have two treatment options: a surgical option (myomectomy) and a nonsurgical option UFE (uterine fibroid embolization).
Although myomectomy is designed to preserve a woman’s uterus, there is a chance that a patient may lose her uterus during the procedure due to excessive bleeding that cannot be controlled by the surgeon. Every woman should be prepared to face the possibility of losing her uterus when opting in for a myomectomy.
In contrast, UFE (uterine fibroid embolization) is a nonsurgical, fully outpatient procedure that allows women to keep their uterus, treat all fibroids, and potentially conceive after the procedure.
Video: Pregnancy after Myomectomy vs. Pregnancy after UFE
Today uterine fibroid embolization is the most innovative method of treating uterine fibroids, although the procedure has been used to treat fibroid tumors since 1991.
The UFE can only be performed by an experienced radiologist using specialized, expensive mediation equipment – this is the reason why gynecologists in many clinics do not offer this procedure to patients. They simply do not have the opportunity to conduct it independently.
Many women agree to surgery, not knowing that they have other options.
Therefore, it is so important to ask a second opinion from a radiologist if you want to keep your uterus, as well as the ability to get pregnant.
The uniqueness of the UFE lies in the fact that literally in 30-40 minutes of the procedure, without pain, without the need for a long recovery, without subsequent scars, the fibroids are removed by inserting a catheter through the femoral artery and blockage (embolization) of the vessels that feed the tumor.
As for the consequences, after a few hours after the UGE, the patient experiences severe pain in the abdomen, this is normal, a characteristic process indicating the death of the tumor. In this case, the patient is injected with painkillers, which helps to minimize all unpleasant sensations.
It takes a day to recover the body after the UFE, and the next morning after the procedure, the patient can already lead an active social life.
Infertility and Fibroids: When to Seek Treatment
Fibroid removal is recommended for women with submucosal fibroids who are struggling to get pregnant, either naturally or through IVF. Many women have reported pregnancy after UFE.
If fibroids are still present while a woman is pregnant, they are likely to increase in size due to increased levels of estrogen. This usually does not cause any complications with pregnancy, but some women can miscarry or give birth prematurely. UFE allows women to have a vaginal, full-term birth.