Do fibroids affect fertility?

Fibroids are benign tumours that grow out of uterine cells, ranging from pea-size to that of a melon, and they tend to swell when oestrogen levels are high. An estimated one in four women will have a form of fibroids during her life, although many do not suffer any symptoms so will not be aware of them. The impact fibroids have depends not just on the size of the growth but on the location and type, too. Intramural fibroids are the most common, forming in the muscle wall, causing heavy, painful periods. Submucosal fibroids grow under the lining (endometrium) of the womb and are the most likely to affect fertility.

How can fibroids be a barrier to pregnancy?

It is rare for fibroids to present a serious obstacle to conception. Complications most commonly arise when submucosal fibroids protrude into the womb, distorting the uterus and potentially interfering with embryo implantation. They may do this by reducing the blood flow which would make the uterine lining inhospitable to a fertilised egg. Very rarely, fibroids are associated with miscarriage. A woman who has fibroids can have a normal pregnancy and birth, but surgical resection of the fibroids may first be required.

What are my treatment options?

In very few cases fibroids alone are a factor in infertility, but if you know you have a fibroid and you are experiencing difficulty in conceiving it is advisable to seek the guidance of a specialist such as female gynaecologist Miss Amanda Tozer. At her London fertility clinic, Miss Tozer can use ultrasound to diagnose fibroids and evaluate the implications of their number, location and size. She will talk you through your options; these may include a hysteroscopy during which the fibroid is shaved off. As a consultant gynaecologist with a sub specialist in reproductive and minimal access surgery, Amanda Tozer is able to offer her patients the full range of treatments at her central London clinic.