Uterine Fibroids and Fertility – Will Fibroids Prevent Pregnancy?
Many women experiencing infertility challenges face loneliness, feelings of being exposed or invaded, and some, especially after trying multiple methods without success, wrestle with increasing anger and frustration. “Why me?” “Why us?” “Why can’t my body function as it should?” The medical and emotional turmoil can become entirely intruding, clouding all spheres of life. But when you are armed with as much knowledge as possible, it’s easier and more intuitive to take control of your medical choices, therefore creating a sense of efficacy. You can’t control your health, but certainly, with knowledge, you can make the informed decisions that are best for you and your family.
Natural Conception for Women with Fibroids
There are hundreds of thousands of women with uterine fibroids all over the world. In fact, uterine fibroids affect 35% to 77% of women who are at reproductive age, and many of those women are mothers! So, first of all, don’t panic if you have uterine fibroids and are trying to conceive. For most women who have uterine fibroids, spontaneously conceiving, carrying and giving birth to a healthy baby is absolutely possible.
Some women with fibroids, however, face medical challenges when trying to conceive. While there is still quite a bit of research to be done in this field, it is believed that there are several reasons uterine fibroids can present fertility issues. For the most part, the challenges to conception are related to placement, size and the number of fibroid(s) as well as possible hormonal imbalances.
How Uterine Fibroids Can Affect Your Fertility
Uterine fibroids can reduce fertility in some women for several reasons. First, the fibroids themselves may cause changes in the shape of the cervix, which affects the number of sperm which can enter the uterus. Additionally, fibroids can potentially alter the shape of the uterus itself, which can interfere with the movement of both the sperm and the potential embryo. Uterine fibroids can also potentially impact the size or thickness of the lining in the uterine cavity, thus making the uterus an inhospitable environment for an embryo to attach. Sometimes, fibroids affect the blood flow to the uterine cavity, decreasing the ability of an embryo to attach to the uterine wall. And in rare cases, fallopian tubes can be blocked by fibroids, making it difficult for the egg to successfully make it to the uterus.
The good news is fibroids rarely cause complete infertility. For most women with uterine fibroids, while it may be more difficult to conceive, it is absolutely not impossible. Many of these potential issues can be identified and solved, paving the way to successful conception.
How to Cope with the Stress of Trying to Conceive
Even though the outlook for women with uterine fibroids is positive in terms of conception and a healthy pregnancy, the mental stress one can endure while trying to conceive, especially if the process is lengthy and studded with setbacks, can be emotionally devastating.
How can you cope with the stress of multiple medical checks, potential procedures, and the suspense every month?
First off, find a doctor you trust. When you identify a medical resource you can count on and you feel confident about, you know you are doing the best you can in terms of resources. That eliminates guilt, which is often the culprit of anxiety. The more relaxed you are during this process, the more resilient you and your partner will be.
Expressing your frustration through discussing the situation with your partner, your good friends or your parent, crying, shouting, or throwing pillow are all good methods of letting it out. If that isn’t enough, look up local support groups and give one a try. You mental health matters, and you must dedicate some attention to your own stability throughout this process.
While taking care of your own needs, remember you and your partner’s collective needs as a couple. Not all intimacy needs to be aimed at baby making. Reclaim that passion that perhaps has become all about your cycle, your temperature, and your ovulation. Hang on to intimacy for its own sake, both for now and for when you have conquered your temporary bout with infertility.
Finally, when you feel better physically, you’ll feel better mentally and emotionally. You’ll have more strength for all your trials if you eat right and exercise. Get out, breathe some fresh air while taking in the flowers, the leaves and the scenes around you while jogging, walking, biking, rowing, or swimming. If you’re looking for a slower pace, maybe yoga, Pilates or the martial arts are ideal for you.
Plenty of Hope
While a long road to parenthood isn’t an ideal course, if you have the right information, the right resources and the right attitude, science is on your side. It’s exceptionally rare for uterine fibroids to cause complete infertility, and as long as you can manage through the process, you’ll likely be rewarded with sleepless nights cuddling your newborn as a reward!