Can uterine fibroids prevent me from getting pregnant?
Uterine fibroids can block the fallopian tube, preventing a fertile egg from reaching the uterus. They can also reduce the chances of implantation of a fertilized egg.
Because the symptoms of uterine fibroids usually present themselves as “female issues” they will go ignored. As a result, women with uterine fibroids will not speak with their physician about their symptoms until these become so severe they can no longer be ignored.
Do I have uterine fibroids?
The most common symptoms of uterine fibroids are heavy menstrual bleeding, possibly resulting in anemia, fatigue and painful periods.
Other typical symptoms related to uterine fibroids include:
- Abdominal distension or cramping
- Painful intercourse
- Increased pelvic pressure
- Dysfunction of the bladder and/or bowel
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have uterine fibroids.
However, an evaluation by a physician and proper testing is necessary in order to establish a diagnosis.
You should speak with your primary care provider or ob-gyn about your symptoms and your treatment options. You can also go directly to a Board Certified Interventional Radiologist, like Dr. Adam Gropper, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of uterine fibroids.
I’ve Been Diagnosed With Uterine Fibroids. Is a Hysterectomy My Only Option?
Once you’ve been diagnosed with uterine fibroids, possible treatment options include aggressive surgeries or minimally invasive treatment methods.
Many women will be given one option for the removal of uterine fibroids. A hysterectomy.
During this procedure, the uterus is removed. As a result, a woman who may one day want to start a family would never be able to get pregnant.
Recovering after a hysterectomy is extensive. A patient may need months of recovery and limited activity before getting back to normal life.
A hysterectomy can also have an impact on a woman’s mental health. After a hysterectomy, a patient may feel depressed. This is often seen in cultures where a woman’s fertility is looked at as a symbol of being feminine.
Hormonal issues are also experienced by women who have undergone a hysterectomy due to the procedure surgically induced menopause. Additionally, impaired sexual function may be experienced due to a reduced libido and discomfort from vaginal dryness.
Because a hysterectomy is so aggressive, women who may one day want to start a family will choose to live with uterine fibroids rather than seek alternative treatment options.
Keep Your Uterus, Avoid A Hysterectomy, And Get Pregnant.
A safer and less aggressive alternative is a uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). Not only is the procedure minimally invasive, but it is also just as effective in treating uterine fibroids as a hysterectomy.
During the procedure, a small puncture is made in the femoral artery. A catheter is then inserted and guided under x-ray to the arteries that supply blood to the fibroids.
Once these arteries are located, a solution which blocks and seals these arteries is then injected through the catheter. This results in the fibroids being starved of blood, causing them to shrink.
Because Dr. Gropper’s team performs this minimally invasive procedure in the team’s outpatient state of the art cath lab, the patient can recover from the comfort of their own home shortly after the procedure. The patient can usually return back to normal daily activities in a couple of days.
Side effects of Uterine Fibroid Embolization are generally mild and can include:
- Nausea, vomiting
- Pelvic pain or cramping
These symptoms are well managed with medications and generally only last 2-4 days.
If you’d like to learn more about UFE, grab our Complete Guide to Uterine Fibroid Embolization and get all the information you need about this minimally invasive procedure.