If you have uterine fibroids, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 40 to 60 percent of women have fibroids by age 35. While the cause of fibroids is unknown, there are treatments available if they’re causing you problems or if you’re concerned about them affecting your fertility.
What are uterine fibroids and how can they affect my fertility?
Fibroids are noncancerous tumors (or growths) usually found in the wall of the uterus. These growths are also known as leiomyomas or myomas that develop in or around the uterus. They can range in size from as small as a pea to as large as a grapefruit. The benign tumor growths aren’t associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer, and you’ll almost never have to worry about them developing into cancer.
Fibroids often appear during a woman’s childbearing years and though many women go on to have normal pregnancies with them, fibroids can cause complications in becoming pregnant and carrying to term. Women with fibroids are much more likely to miscarry during early pregnancy than women without them.
How uterine fibroids can affect a woman’s fertility.
Uterine fibroids can change the shape of the cervix, which can affect the number of sperm able to enter the uterus to result in conception. The fallopian tubes can also be blocked by fibroids. Fibroids can cause other changes such as the size of the lining of the uterine cavity, which affects blood flow here. This can decrease the ability of an embryo to develop or implant in the uterine wall.
When is surgery recommended and what type of procedures can remove my fibroids?
When fibroids disrupt your life by causing painful symptoms and heavy bleeding, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove them.
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Prolonged menstrual periods lasting more than a week
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Backache or leg pains
Surgical removal of fibroids might also be an option if you want to get pregnant in the future. Our surgeons are skilled in the treatment of uterine fibroids. Below are surgical procedures we offer that your doctor will discuss with you, and together you’ll determine which may be best for your situation.
A minimally invasive surgery that involves the insertion of a small camera through the cervix into the uterus. The hysteroscope allows visualization of the uterine cavity and tubal ostia (openings to the fallopian tubes) and treatment of uterine pathologies such as uterine polyps, uterine fibroids, and scar tissue inside the uterus (Asherman syndrome).
This procedure is more effective for women with smaller and fewer fibroids, and you may go home the same day as your surgery.
A minimally invasive surgery which involves the insertion of a small camera through the umbilicus (belly button) while you are under anesthesia. We then fill the abdomen with carbon dioxide gas to allow visualization of the pelvis.
Laparoscopy is typically used to treat endometriosis, pelvic adhesions (scar tissue), hydrosalpinges (dilated/blocked fallopian tubes), uterine fibroids, or ovarian cysts. This surgical procedure is typically used for women who have smaller and fewer fibroids.
A major abdominal surgery that involves an incision along the lower part of the abdomen to provide access to the pelvis. This approach is typically used for larger, more numerous fibroids or complex adhesive disease (scar tissue) in the pelvis.
Using multiple small incisions on the abdomen and placing a small camera through the umbilicus (belly button), our surgeons can address reproductive pathologies such as fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic adhesions (scar tissue), ovarian cysts, and tubal reversal using this advanced minimally invasive approach.
Learn more about the fibroid surgery procedure at Alabama Fertility in Birmingham, AL
At Alabama Fertility Specialists, we treat all patients with the care and compassion that complex reproductive issues require. We encourage you to ask your doctors and nurses at Alabama Fertility Specialists as many questions as you need to in order to find out more.