Fertility Fact: Fibroids and Fertility
Uterine fibroids are typically found in the in or around the uterus. Fibroids are common in women. It is estimated that 8 in 10 African-American women may be affected with uterine fibroids. And about 7 in 10 Caucasian women will have uterine fibroids by the time they reach menopause. Fibroids typically present as multiple tumors and in most cases fibroids cause no symptoms and do not require treatment, but in rare cases fibroids may be cancerous (about 1 in 1,000 of removed fibroids in women in their reproductive years show signs of cancer).
Most fibroids do not result in any symptoms, but in some cases there may be abnormal uterine bleeding when their are fibroids located near the lining of the uterus. Other women may have pain and cramping and may have pain with sexual intercourse or certain movement painful. When a fibroid is in front of the uterus, there may be pressure on the bladder causing women to have increased urinary frequency and urgency. Fibroids may also be positioned in a way that will place pressure on other nearby pelvic organs such as the kidney.
How Are Fibroids Identified?
Your physician will need your medical history and perform a pelvic exam to help diagnosis fibroids. During the pelvic exam your physician can asses the shape and size of your uterus. Sometimes the physical examination is enough for a diagnosis, other times your physician may want to confirm the fibroids using an ultrasound. Some physicians may also perform sonohysterography, hysterosalpingogram, hysteroscopy, or laparoscopy to identify fibroids. These techniques use a variety of methods to help your physician learn more about the location and size of the fibroids.
Fibroids and Infertility Treatment
Evidence suggests that estrogren and progresterone may stimulate the growth of fibroids. So women going through fertility treatment that are given estrogen and already prone to fibroids will need to speak their physician about any increased risk factors they may experience. Larger fibroids may need to be removed prior to treatment. But in general, fibroids are low risk and something to just be monitored by your medical team.
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