Fibroids and pregnancy

Fibroids in pregnancy are extremely common affecting many women.

Fibroids and pregnancy

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are firm round swellings that grow in or around the womb. They are non-cancerous growths made up of muscle and tissue and can vary in size. They are extremely common with 50-80% of women having them and as the majority are symptom-less, many women don’t know they have fibroids.

Fibroids are often discovered by chance during a routine gynecological check-up. Typically, a woman will have several fibroids in and on her womb all varying in size.

What causes fibroids?

The exact cause of fibroids is unknown however it is known that fibroids are linked to the female hormone, oestrogen.

Throughout a females reproductive years, 16-50, fibroids can form. During times of increased levels of oestrogen, such as pregnancy, fibroids tend to increase in size and can decrease when oestrogen levels are low, during the menopause.

How can fibroids affect pregnancy?

As oestrogen levels are high during pregnancy, if a woman has fibroids formed, they may grow and swell. This can lead to uncomfortable pressure or heaviness and if pushing on nerves, can cause discomfort or pain in the back.

Fibroids account for 2-3% of infertility in women and if they develop just under the surface lining of the womb, can affect the way the fertilised egg attached to the womb wall. This may lead to recurrent miscarriage. Removing fibroids can increase the chance of conceiving by 40-80%, according to research.

The most common complication of fibroids are the arrival of baby 2-3 weeks earlier than the due date though this is of little harm to baby.

How are fibroids treated?

Symptomless fibroids or women who suffer minor symptoms from their fibroids often need no treatment.

There are a range of treatments available to treat troublesome fibroids ranging from medicine to surgery. Ask your GP for more information on how these treatments could ease your symptoms.

Source: BBC, NHS

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