Fibroids Treatment & Fertility
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are lumps of uterine cell tissue or tumorous muscle that grow around and inside the uterus. They are very common – up to 80% of women have at least one fibroid – and they typically pose no other threat to your health. Fibroids may be in the uterine wall (intramural fibroids), on the outer surface of the uterus (subserosal fibroids), or protruding into the cavity of the uterus (submucosal fibroids).
- Fertility and fibroids
The effect of fibroids on your fertility depends on the size and location of the fibroids. If the fibroids appear inside your uterus (as submucosal fibroids) they are far more likely to affect your fertility, as they can interfere with the implantation of embryos. Most specialists would recommend removing them if you are having trouble conceiving. If the fibroid does not affect the lining of the uterus, they have much less effect on your fertility and you may not need to have anything done about them.
Fibroids can affect female fertility in other ways; known effects of fibroids include recurrent miscarriage and premature labour.
- What are the symptoms of fibroids?
Many women are unaware that they have fibroids, as they do not always cause physical symptoms. Depending on the number and size of fibroids, however, symptoms can include heavy and painful periods, iron deficiency, a lump in the abdomen, frequent urination, lower back pain and pain during intercourse.
- How are fibroids diagnosed?
Fibroids are usually diagnosed via a pelvic examination or ultrasound, or during a hysteroscopy (where a thin telescope is inserted into the uterus via the vagina), or a laparoscopy (a keyhole operation performed through a small incision in the navel).
- What are the causes of fibroids?
Whilst it is unclear exactly what causes fibroids, we do know the female hormones, oestrogen and progesterone play a significant role in stimulating the growth of fibroids.
- Who is at risk of getting fibroids?
If you have a family history of fibroids you may be more to contracting fibroids however this has not been proven.
- Self-assessment tool
By answering 7 simple questions, this tool is designed to given you an indication of whether there are any factors that might be affecting your chance of falling pregnant and whether you should consider seeking the advice of a fertility specialist for further assessment. Take the female fertility assessment >
- How do we treat fibroids?
Your fertility specialist would usually discuss the treatment option following a diagnosis and ultrasound.
If the fibroid is within the cavity of the uterus then a hysteroscopy may be required. If the fibroid is within the muscle of the uterus or outside the uterus, the treatment may be by surgical removal, by laparoscopy (keyhole surgery). Some natural treatments may improve symptoms however these are traditionally less effective.
- First appointment overview and costs
A Queensland Fertility Group Specialist can assist with testing for and diagnosing fibroids and identifying the best course of treatment - whether or not you are looking to get pregnant.
f you are specifically seeking help to fall pregnant, it is recommended your partner attends the consultation as well. The initial consultation charge with a Fertility Specialist is on average from $220 to $350 and Medicare will reimburse approximately $75.00. Most Queensland Fertility Group Fertility Specialists offer bulk-billing for a male partner’s first appointment.
Typically during a first appointment, your specialist will assess your medical history and will most likely recommend investigations such as blood tests (many of these are bulk billed) and an ultrasound scan. The results of these will help you and your Fertility Specialist determine the next steps for your individual circumstances. You should feel comfortable to mention any concerns you may have, and ask questions in this appointment.
If you know or suspect you have fibroids and are trying to conceive, a Queensland Fertility Group Fertility Specialist can help. All of our doctors are expert gynaecologists and/or obstetricians who have undertaken additional training and specialise in fertility.
If you would like more information, to have your questions answered in a free phone consultation with a fertility nurse, or to book an appointment, please call 1800 111 483 or email us.