Uterine fibroids are more common than expected in the world’s female population. In fact, some studies show that approximately 70% of women will develop at least one uterine fibroid by the age of 50.
One of the strongest impacts that uterine fibroids can have on a woman’s life is infertility. However, there is still much disinformation about the subject, because of the lack of systematic scientific evidence.
So what are the most important things you need to know if you have uterine fibroids and you’re trying to conceive? Read on.
Uterine Fibroids: how are they connected to infertility?
While uterine fibroids are not cancerous and many women do not experience symptoms, others have to deal with a host of issues. And if you’re one of the many women who has uterine fibroids and you’re trying to get pregnant, one of the most troublesome and worrying problems is infertility.
It is important to note, the mere presence of uterine fibroids does not cause infertility on its own and many women with uterine fibroids can get pregnant naturally. Most of the time, infertility issues are related to the size and position of the fibroids, which can influence the chances of getting pregnant. In some cases, uterine fibroids can cause recurrent pregnancy loss. Moreover, the increase in hormone concentration during pregnancy can also influence the growth of fibroids, creating a negative loop of problems and distress.
The empty cradle syndrome and consequences of uterine fibroids
As a consequence of these phenomena, women affected by uterine fibroids are more likely to suffer from ‘empty cradle syndrome’, which is a psychological consequence of the grief that parents, especially mothers, suffer after miscarriage or the loss of a child. The higher chance of miscarriage or preterm birth due to uterine fibroids can heavily influence the manifestation of this syndrome.
Despite being often overlooked, it is a very important syndrome that could affect a woman’s wellbeing, so it needs to be handled with proper care.
One of the most important things to know if you are experiencing grief after miscarriage or a preterm birth is that you’re not alone. Empty cradle syndrome is much more common than you might think, and while there used to be a stigma associated with miscarriage and preterm birth loss, more and more women are now openly discussing their losses and there are a number of online and in-person support groups available.
Pregnancy and uterine fibroids: steps to success
While nobody can be sure 100% that your fertility journey will end in a successful pregnancy, there are steps you can take to prepare which may improve your chances. Because the size and location of fibroids can negatively affect conception, implantation, and ultimately healthy fetus growth, the main goal of any treatment should be to either remove or reduce the size and number of fibroids.
Some women have had success through traditional surgical removal (myomectomy) while others have become pregnant after minimally invasive procedures such as Magnetic Resonance-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS). Be aware, the effects of these interventions on fertility is unclear and these solutions are often temporary, so it’s important to explore your options with your doctor.
Recent patient case reports propose a natural alternative to surgery, especially for women who are preparing for assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as IVF. According to the report, women who underwent daily treatment with epigallocatechin gallate, vitamin D, vitamin B6, and D-chiro-inositol (available together as a nutraceutical supplement in a growing number of countries globally) demonstrated approximately a 70% reduction in fibroid volume and more than a 40% reduction in menstrual bleeding. Three months after the treatment period, both women underwent the ART procedure without the need for surgical intervention. While not definitive, these case reports are promising, so you may want to ask your doctor if this more natural solution may be an option for you5.
Pregnancy and infertility can be a challenging subject for any woman, and uterine fibroids often complicate the issue. The presence of this condition may influence your fertility and make your pregnancy journey more difficult. However, despite the uncertain issues, there is also hope.
In fact, many women are able to achieve a successful pregnancy naturally and for those who can’t, there are a number of options available. According to your medical history and unique situation, your doctor can help you take the right steps to improve your chances of motherhood. Know your options and never give up hope.