Infertility Treatment in MD, VA & DC at Shady Grove Fertility

Fibroids & Fertility

Fibroids, also known as leiomyomas (LI-o-mi-O-mahs), are noncancerous growths that develop in or on the uterus.

Uterine fibroids develop from the smooth muscle cells of the uterus and can grow inside or outside of your uterus. Fibroids can interfere with pregnancy in many ways. The ones that grow on the inside wall of your uterus can cause changes in the endometrial tissue, making it difficult for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterine wall. Fibroids that develop outside your uterus can interfere with pregnancy by compressing or blocking the fallopian tubes, thereby preventing the sperm from reaching the egg.


How Fibroids are Diagnosed

Your medical history and a pelvic exam are necessary in diagnosing fibroids. Listed below are tests that may also be used to confirm the diagnosis:

  • Ultrasound - a scan that uses high frequency sound waves to detect fibroids in and around the uterus and cervix
  • Hysterosalpingogram - a procedure that uses x-rays and a special dye to detect fibroids on the inside of your uterus and to see if your fallopian tubes are open
  • Hysteroscopy - a procedure in which your doctor uses a narrow fiberoptic telescope inserted into the uterine cavity to look for and sometimes remove fibroids
  • Laparoscopy - a procedure in which your doctor uses a narrow fiberoptic telescope inserted through an incision near your navel to look for and sometimes remove fibroids

Common Questions

Q What symptoms will I experience if I have fibroids?
The severity of your symptoms will depend on the number, size, and location of the fibroids. You may experience severe, painful cramps and abnormal or excessive bleeding, especially during your periods. Also, you may have difficulty with moving your bowels or urinating if you have fibroids that are putting pressure on your rectum or bladder. Hemorrhoids may also develop if you become constipated. However, if your fibroids are small, you may not have any symptoms at all - in fact, you may not know that you have fibroids until you go through infertility testing.

Q Why do I have fibroids?
The cause of uterine fibroids is unknown, but they require estrogen to grow. They often shrink after menopause, when estrogen levels decrease.

Q What treatments are available to me?
Your doctor may want to treat your fibroids surgically or with medications. Fibroids can be removed during a laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, or through an open incision (myomectomy). Medications that stop or interfere with your body's estrogen production are used to shrink fibroids and prevent them from growing larger. Once the medication is stopped, the fibroids will regrow. Medication is mainly used for treatment prior to surgery. However, you can only use these medications for a few months - long-term use may increase your risk of bone loss. Keep in mind that treatments do not provide a cure - new fibroids can grow after treatment.

For more information on fibroids, please call 1-888-761-1967 or schedule an appointment for an initial consultation with one of our physicians.

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