Fibroids, also called leiomyomas, are noncancerous tumors that grow in the womb. It is common for women to have fibroids, but in severe cases, they can affect pregnancy or fertility.
Fibroids often go
In those who are symptomatic, the main indication of fibroids is abnormal bleeding in the form of heavy or extended menstrual bleeding.
Typical symptoms of fibroids during pregnancy
- severe cramps, similar to menstrual cramps
- widespread pain and tension in the stomach
- digestion problems, such as constipation
- increased need to
urinate, if the fibroids exert pressure on the bladder
Women may also experience difficulty urinating or back pain, but these symptoms are relatively
Fibroids do not
However, they can sometimes
- pregnancy loss
- preterm labor
- premature rupture of fetal membranes (PROM), leading to the water breaking early
- hemorrhage soon before delivery
- malpresentation, where the fetus is not in the right position
- obstructed labor
- hemorrhage following delivery
necrosis, disrupting the blood supply or causing cell death
Fibroids can sometimes prevent pregnancy by causing infertility.
Fibroids may affect conception by obstructing the fallopian tubules — the channels that an egg passes through before a sperm fertilizes it.
A fertilized egg may not be able to attach to the uterine wall if the fibroids get in the way.
A doctor may recommend various surgical procedures to treat fibroids in pregnancy.
In cases where fibroids are particularly large, which can have critical implications, a surgeon may perform a myomectomy, removing the fibroids
Removing fibroids during a cesarean delivery is becoming more common, but it is still risky. As a result, it only takes place if it is necessary.
If possible, the
Hysterectomy is currently the
If a doctor identifies fibroids before conception, they can treat them before the woman becomes pregnant. However, the available treatments are temporary and may not be effective.
A woman may
- hormone therapy
- surgery to remove the fibroid
- high intensity ultrasound treatment
- uterine fibroid embolization, which is a procedure that restricts the blood vessels supplying the fibroids
Different hormonal contraceptives are available, but health experts currently
The GnRH leuprolide may be an effective temporary fix, as it can shrink fibroids by causing the uterus to decrease in size. However, women cannot take this treatment for more than
Women may be able to
In most cases, fibroids are not harmful.
Women should see a doctor if they are trying to conceive and are concerned that they may have fibroids.
Those with diagnosed fibroids who become pregnant should inform their doctor of this condition. The doctor can then monitor any implications during fetal development and treat uncomfortable symptoms.
Regardless of pregnancy, it is important to see a doctor if severe abnormal bleeding occurs, as this may lead to iron deficiency anemia or other complications.
Fibroids are common, with experts estimating that they affect
The outlook for pregnant women with fibroids varies