Among the causes of female infertility is a condition which affects 5-10% of women who are infertile. A single muscle cell in the uterine wall multiplies and grows into a noncancerous tumor. This is a uterine fibroid. They are also known as myomas or leiomyomas. These growths can change the size or shape of the uterus. They may also affect the cervix. There are cases where a woman may only have one fibroid, but there are usually more than one. The location, size and number of fibroids can affect a woman’s ability to conceive.
Fibroids affect fertility by:
- changing the shape of the cervix so that the number of sperm entering the uterus is reduced
- changing the shape of the uterus so that the movement of the sperm or embryo is impaired
- blocking the fallopian tubes
- impacting the size of the lining of the uterine cavity
- impacting the blood flow to the uterine cavity so that the embryo cannot properly implant on the uterine wall and develop
Types of Fibroids
The location of the fibroids determines the type:
- Subserosal fibroids are found in the outer wall of the uterus. These are the most common type.
- Intramural fibroids are found in the muscular layer of the uterine wall and are the second most common type of fibroid.
- Submucosal fibroids protrude into the uterine cavity and they are the least common.
Some fibroids are connected to the uterus by a stalk. They can also be attached to nearby ligaments or the bladder or bowel. These growths are usually not found outside the pelvic cavity.
Some women do not experience symptoms with fibroids. Others with uterine fibroids may experience:
- Bleeding between periods
- Frequent urination
- Heaving bleeding during menstruation
- Infertility or recurrent pregnancy loss
- Lower back pain
- Pain during intercourse
- Painful periods
Most women who have fibroids will not become infertile, but when their location and size interfere with fertility, treatment will be needed to correct the problem.
You should not assume that your fibroids are the cause of your infertility. An evaluation by a fertility specialist can rule out other causes. If the fibroids are causing problems with fertility, there are options for treatment. Your fertility specialist will make recommendations regarding the most effective treatment for your condition.
Neway Fertility offers treatment for this and other conditions that affect fertility. If you are experiencing symptoms, contact our office to schedule an evaluation and consultation.