A fibroid is an abnormal growth in the uterus of a woman. This tumor can be severe and cause abdominal pain and heavy periods. Fibroid tumor can be treated by following multiple tests such as Ultrasound, MRI, Hysterosonography, Hysteroscopy, and Hysterosalpingography. Fibroids can also be treated naturally.
Fibroids are tumors that grow in the uterus from muscle tissue of the same. This tumor can be as small as a pea or as larger than a grapefruit. Fibroid tumors can grow outside of the uterine wall within the uterine wall. Multiple women have several fibroids of different sizes. An estimated percentage of 40 to 60 women are diagnosed with fibroid in their entire lifetime. But it is hard to detect fibroid during pregnancy. For this reason, medical experts think that the number of known fibroid cases in pregnancy is lower than the actual occurrence of this abnormal growth in the uterus. Most of the women have been diagnosed with fibroid have normal pregnancies. But in some cases, women who have been diagnosed with fibroid associated with her pregnancy can face many challenges through it. During pregnancy, the treatment for uterine fibroid is challenging and limited because of the uterine fibroid' risk to the fetus. A fertility expert advises a pregnant woman to take bed rest and keep herself hydrated. A woman with fibroid can also be recommended mild pain relievers to help expectant mothers manage symptoms of fibroid. In some rare cases, a myomectomy can be suggested to be performed in women in the second trimester of their pregnancies. Myomectomy procedure removes a fibroid from the outside of the uterus uterine wall without damaging the uterus of a woman. This safeguards the uterine health and ensures that the respective patient is finally free from fibroids. (1)
In this article, a reader will get to know about the following details:
What is a Fibroid tumor?
A fibroid tumor is also known as Leiomyoma or Myoma. It is a mass of compressed muscle and fibrous tissue that grows on the wall of the uterus. Fibroid tumors occur in 50 to 80 percent of women mostly during pregnancy. There are multiple symptoms of having a fibroid tumor such as heavy vaginal bleeding, severe abdominal pain, pelvic pressure, frequent urination, and constipation. If in case a woman is experiencing severe abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding then she should talk to her infertility specialist immediately.
What causes uterine fibroid in a woman?
There are various aspects which surround the occurrence of uterine fibroid in a woman. But the following factors mentioned below play an important role in the development of uterine fibroid:
- Hormone Factors: Female reproductive hormones i.e. estrogen and progesterone are responsible for the growth of the uterine fibroid. These female hormones are proven to promote the growth of the fibroid. The cells that are present in the fibroid are stimulated when exposed to these female reproductive hormones. This is why the chances of the growth of the fibroid are very low after menopause. The increase in the growth of fibroid decreases because of the lack of reproductive hormones.
- Genetic Factors: It has been observed that if a family member or more is having fibroid will increase a person's chance of increasing fibroid. Many uterine fibroids accommodate changes in genes that vary from those in normal uterine muscle cells. (2)
- Other risk factors: According to one of the latest researches, it is observed that the uterine fibroid occurrence is higher in women of the African-American race. It is also observed that obesity plays an important role in the development of fibroids. (3)
How does fibroid impact pregnancy?
Many women will experience no major effects of fibroid during their pregnancy. However, some 10 to 30 percent of the women may experience or develop complications during pregnancy because of fibroid. According to the researchers, the common complication experienced by the concerned woman is the pain of fibroid during pregnancy. Most often women with fibroid measuring larger than 5 cm who are at the last stage of their pregnancy may increase the risk for other complications during pregnancy and delivery. These complications include:
- Intrauterine growth restriction:Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) is a term that is used to describe a condition in which the size of the fetus is smaller than expected with the referred current number of weeks of pregnancy. This is because the large fibroid may prevent a fetus from developing at a steady pace as per the requirement. It is due to decreased space in the womb of the pregnant woman. Intrauterine growth restriction is most commonly defined as a weight below the 10th percentile for gestational age. As a result of which the pregnancy can result in low weight birth of a baby. (4)
- Placental abruption:Placental abruption occurs when the placenta breaks away from the uterine wall because of blockage caused by a fibroid. In other words, it means that the placenta separates from the uterine wall before childbirth. It occurs most commonly in around 25 weeks of pregnancy. This declines the consumption of oxygen and vital nutrients. (5)
- Preterm delivery:Preterm babies are babies born alive before their delivery time of pregnancy. In case a pregnant woman is having fibroid then the pain from fibroid may lead to uterine contractions even before the predicted time of the delivery procedure. Because of which it can result in early delivery. (6)
- Cesarean delivery:Cesarean delivery (C-section) is a surgical procedure which is used to deliver a baby through incisions in the abdomen and uterus. Women having fibroid during pregnancy more likely require a cesarean delivery than a woman who doesn't have fibroids. (7)
- Breech position:In this position, the babies will move into the position of delivery a few weeks prior to birth. This will lead their head to move closer to the birth canal in the pregnant woman. When the head fails to move closer than the baby's buttocks or feet will be positioned to be delivered first. Because of the abnormal shape of the cavity, the baby will get delivered with the help of vaginal delivery. (8)
- Miscarriage:According to research, the chances for miscarriage are high in women who are diagnosed with fibroids. (9)
How is uterine fibroid diagnosed in pregnancy?
Fibroids are one of the most common tumors found during the physical exam of a woman. The healthcare provider may find the presence of firm, irregular pelvic mass during an abdominal or pelvic exam. (10)Other medical tests and procedures that are used to diagnose uterine fibroid in pregnancy are:
- Transvaginal ultrasound: transvaginal ultrasound is also known as an endovaginal ultrasound. It is a type of pelvic ultrasound which is used by the fertility specialists to examine female reproductive organs. Transvaginal means through the vagina i.e. this ultrasound is efficiently performed through the vagina. The transvaginal ultrasound primarily checks the status of the presence of fibroid and other similar abnormal growths which occur in the uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, ovaries, and vagina. This ultrasound is used to have a better assess if a woman has a fibroid or not. This ultrasound test can help to establish the diagnosis as the first imaging test. (11)
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that is used with strong magnetic fields and radio waves. This procedure is used to produce a thorough image of the internal parts of the body successfully without any hassle. (12) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) imaging test does not use radiation. Instead, frequent imaging is used in this type of medical test to determine the presence of fibroid. This test helps the fertility professional to get a road map of the size, number, and location of each of the fibroid present inside the body of a woman. MRI is generally recommended before proceeding with some surgical options.
- Ultrasound: Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to produce pictures of the internal parts of the body. It is used to help the fertility expert in diagnosing the cause of pain, swelling or infection in the body's internal organs. This process is also used to examine a baby in a pregnant woman. Ultrasound also helps in checking the growth status of the brain and hips of infants. (13) Additionally, to check around the overall development of the fetus the expert technician moves the ultrasound device over the abdomen of women. A fertility expert can also place the tool inside the vagina to get certain images of the uterus. (14)
- Saline Sonohysterography: Saline Infusion Sonohysterography is a procedure which is used to evaluate the uterus and the shape of the uterine cavity in the concerned patient. Saline Sonohysterography uses the ultrasound and sterile fluid to show the cavity in the uterus and endometrium in a well-defined manner. The fertility doctor can also see the ovaries at the time of performing the SHG procedure. The main purpose of Saline Sonohysterography is used to detect any abnormalities present in the uterus of a woman. (15) Saline sonography can be expertly performed in the clinic by inserting the fluid into the uterus. The healthcare provider can see the growth of the fibroid into the uterus by expanding the uterine cavity with the fluid.
- Hysteroscopy: This is a surgical procedure that is performed to gain a direct visualization of the uterine cavity. To perform this procedure perfectly the doctor inserts a small lighted telescope i.e. called a hysteroscopy. This tool is inserted through the cervix into the uterus of a woman. The fertility specialist then injects saline into the uterus by expanding the uterus cavity. Hysteroscopy allows a doctor to examine into the walls of a woman's uterus.
- Hysterosonography: A Hysterosonography is a transvaginal ultrasound exam which is used to capture images of inside organs of the uterus in a woman in a well-defined manner. This is a modern technique which is utilized to evaluate uterine abnormalities in women. This is helpful for women who have difficulty in getting pregnant or experience multiple miscarriages. (16) It is also called a 'saline infusion sonogram'. It uses sterile saline to expand the uterine cavity. This makes it easier to get images of submucosal fibroid and the endometrium in a woman's body.
- Hysterosalpingography: Hysterosalpingography is a process in which a dye is used to highlight the uterine cavity and fallopian tubes on X-ray images. It is also used to investigate miscarriages resulting from abnormalities occurring within the uterus. This is performed to determine the presence and severity of tumor masses and uterine fibroid in a woman's body. The doctor can recommend Hysterosalpingography in case of infertility problems in a woman. Hysterosalpingography can periodically open blocked fallopian tubes which will aid the patient to become pregnant. (17)
Procedures of different types of Fibroid pregnancy test:
- Transvaginal ultrasound:transvaginal ultrasound is also known as endovaginal ultrasound, which is a safe and straightforward procedure used by fertility experts to examine the internal organs in the female pelvic region. This procedure is performed by the fertility expert who is called a sonographer. The specialist will ask the patient to lie down by putting a hospital gown. The patient is required to bent her knees so that the procedure can be performed successfully. The specialist will then use a transducer which is slightly larger than a tampon to complete the procedure efficiently. The sonographer will cover the transducer with a condom and lubricating gel before inserting into the vagina. Once the transducer reaches accurately in its place then it will further produce sound waves that bounce off the internal organs in the woman. The sonographer will use some specific movements to bring different areas of these internal organs into focus. The transducer will expertly transmit the information to a monitor screen where the result will appear in the form of a series of images. The images transferred by the transducer make it possible for the sonographer and patient to monitor the results in real time. (18)
- Hysterosalpingography:To perform this procedure efficiently the radiologist will insert a speculum into the vagina of a woman. The speculum was inserted precisely so that the cervix that is located at the back of the vagina can be seen. A woman may feel some discomfort while the process is being performed. The radiologist will then clean the cervix and may also inject a local anesthetic to decrease the discomfort which can occur during the procedure. After removing the speculum, an instrument called a cannula will be inserted into the cervix. The radiologist will then insert a dye through the cannula, which will flow into the uterus and fallopian tubes. Further, the patient will be asked to go for an X-ray. The radiologist may ask a patient to change various positions so that he/she can capture various angles of the uterus accurately. The patient may experience some pain and cramps as the dye moves through the fallopian tubes. After completion of taking X-ray, the radiologist will remove the cannula and prescribe appropriate medications to prevent the pain or infection. (19)
- Hysterosonography:Hysterosonography is also known as 'sonohysterogram'. Before undergoing this procedure a fertility specialist will take a pregnancy test. One woman will not have to undergo a 'sonohysterogram' if she is pregnant or experiencing an inflammatory pelvic disorder. This process is performed when a woman is not on her period or experiencing vaginal bleeding. Hysterosonography is usually performed one week after a woman starts on her period. This is because it decreases the chance of infection which can occur after the hysterosonography procedure is completed. The procedure is performed successfully in an easy manner when a woman is on her period. Because at the time of periods the uterine lining width is the thinnest which helps a doctor identify abnormalities more efficiently. A patient is asked not to eat or drink a couple of hours prior to the commencement of the procedure. In some cases, the fertility doctor will perform a pelvic exam before pursuing Hysterosonography to check for pain or possibility of occurrence of infection. (20)
How are fibroid treated naturally?
Fibroids usually grow slowly and in most of the cases, they shrink on their own. This happens especially after menopause phase of a woman's life. A woman may visit any fertility specialist if she experiences any of the symptoms which indicate fibroid. Fibroids may be treated with surgery or ultrasound procedures which are already mentioned above. The surgery may generally involve removing the fibroid or the entire uterus. Fibroids can be treated at home by changing the diet and home remedies. This may help in treating fibroid and relieving symptoms of the same. The lifestyle changes which are mentioned below play an important role in the prevention of fibroid:
- Weight Loss: According to research, it is stated that excess weight in women of any age increases the risk of having a uterine fibroid. The reason behind this is that fat cells make high amounts of estrogen. Hence, losing weight may help a woman prevent or reduce the size of the fibroid.
- Nutrition: Taking a proper nutritious diet is one of the important factors in treating fibroid. The intake of right nutrition can help a woman in maintaining a healthy weight and reduce the risk of being affected with fibroid at any stage of life.
- Foods to eat: A woman should eat foods rich in fiber that helps in preventing fibroid. These foods prevent unnecessary appetite, balancing hormones, and prevent excess weight gain. A woman can also have brightly colored foods such as fruits and vegetables which have required nutrients in them. This may help in reducing inflammation and decline the risk of fibroid. The list of these foods includes dried fruit, brown rice, couscous, quinoa, fresh and dried herbs, lentils and beans.
- Foods not to eat: Eating more refined carbohydrates and sugary foods may increase the effect of fibroid in a woman and affect in resulting of pregnancy. This is because these foods increase blood sugar levels. This causes your body to produce more of insulin hormone. A woman should avoid simple refined carbohydrates such as white rice, pasta, flour, corn syrup, boxed cereals, potato chips, and crackers.
- Vitamins and supplements: Milk and dairy products may help in reducing the risk of having a fibroid in a woman. This is because dairy products contain a high amount of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Intake of these nutrients may help in preventing the growth of the fibroid. Many times vitamins may also help in reducing the growth and the size of the fibroid. On the basis of research, the risk of having fibroid may increase if a woman has low amounts of vitamin A and D in her diet and does not intake required dairy products.
- Herbal remedies: This may also help in treating fibroid. Herbs are potent medicine which can interact with other drugs. One should consult her doctor before taking any herbal medicine especially if she is already diagnosed with fibroid growth in her uterus.
These natural treatments may help in reducing the symptoms of fibroid. Every woman should visit and consult her fertility specialist before trying any of these natural treatments of fibroid.
How does fibroid cause infertility?
Many women having fibroid think whether uterine fibroid can eventually lead to infertility. However, fibroid affects infertility but this varies with respect to each of the medical cases. The main factor that can have an impact on the pregnancy of the patient is the location of the fibroid. If in case the fibroid is located in certain areas of the uterine cavity then it can actually twist the shape and the size of the uterus. This can happen if the uterine fibroid grows incredibly large in size. While if in case the fibroid is placed in the wall of the uterus can also have an impact on fertility. This effect is generally far less severe in nature. Women who believe that they have symptoms which indicate uterine fibroid must visit the doctor immediately. Those women who have any family history of fibroid should surely visit a doctor on a regular basis to check if she also has the same. Unfortunately, a fibroid can grow at a rapid rate in any woman. (21) Most of the women having fibroid can get pregnant naturally.
There are multiple ways uterine fibroid can reduce the fertility of a woman:
- Change in shape of the cervix: It can affect the number of sperm entering the uterus of a woman during intercourse.
- Changes in the shape of the uterus: This can interfere with the movement of the sperm or embryo.
- Blockage of Fallopian tubes: Fibroids can block the fallopian tubes of a woman that can make it hard for a woman to conceive successfully.
- Impact uterine cavity: Fibroids can affect the size of the lining of the uterine cavity in a negative manner which can ultimately impact the success of the pregnancy in the form of delivery of a healthy baby.
- Blood flow can be affected: Fibroids can affect the blood flow to the uterine cavity. This can decrease the ability of an embryo to implant into the uterine wall.
Uterine fibroid is the most common issue that can affect fertility levels in several ways. Fibroids can affect sperm, egg fertilization, embryo implantation or else it can also affect pregnancy. The choice of treatment of fibroid depends on the medical case of a woman. It is usually based on the symptoms of fibroid and may help in improving overall fertility in a woman. OVO Fertility is one of the best healthcare platforms which helps patients right from the time of diagnosis to completion of the treatment. It has helped millions of couples in fulfilling the dream of their parenthood dream. You can get more information related to other infertility treatments by visiting www.ovohealth.com. Or else you can call us on +918268260808 for booking an appointment with the best infertility specialist nearby.
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