BDO: What is the relationship between fibroids and fertility?
Dr. Linda Bradley: Fibroids are very common, most of the times it does not affect fertility. But how do we know?
We do define infertility in a patient or a couple that’s been trying for 12 consecutive months having intercourse and regular scheduled periods 85 out of 100 women would be pregnant if they’re under 35. If someone is young and having unprotected intercourse and can’t get pregnant fibroids may be a symptom. But it takes 2 people to tango so not all problems with getting and having a baby is from a woman. Yes, women have fibroids but 40% of the time there’s a problem with a man, sperm count, they don’t swim fast enough, they’re not there, they’re not present, that can be something.
I never tell a patient that it’s her fibroids solely, there are tons of tests that we do. Are the fibroids in a space that would block pregnancy, are they blocking the fallopian tubes, have they changed the architecture between the fallopian tubes and the ovary where an egg is released?
There is such a landscape of things that we have to look at and we do not just point our fingers and blame fibroids solely. It could be a part but sometimes it’s multiple reasons why that might happen. Definitely in someone who’s had recurrent miscarriages we want to look to see if fibroids, where they are located, might impact it. But there could also be a congenital anomaly with a baby the led to the miscarriage, it could be a birth defect it could be Down syndrome that led to the miscarriage.
Really it’s not that we want to blame fibroids on everything because there are many things that mimic fibroid-related symptoms for pain bleeding and pressure that a good doctor listens to his/her patient and sort of sorts out all the different things.
Why when we take everything and we put it in a funnel and ask questions that we know that the fibroid is the culprit and we haven’t missed other things. Really talking with your physician is an important part of getting better and being honest about your symptoms and not minimizing on some of the things that are going on.