Will fibroids affect my ability to conceive?

One in two women suffer abnormal growths in their wombs ― where these fibroids are located may affect your fertility…

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Anna Liew, 36, mum to Laurel, 3, used to suffer bad menstrual cramps as a teen. But while she thought it was common, or even “natural” for women to experience bad period pains, she only got a check-up when she started trying for a baby.

“We had been trying for a year. It then occurred to me that something may be wrong with my plumbing ― because of all the menstrual cramps I had experienced,” she recalls. Her gynae revealed that she had several fibroids, one of which was rather large (about 5cm) and located near her tubes, where the baby would implant. Removing it surgically would give Liew a higher chance at conceiving.

Liew says, “I was hesitant because I didn’t want to wait anymore to conceive, and I knew I had to recover after the surgery. But my doctor said that we could start trying three to six months after the surgery and my husband and I decided that was okay.”

Three months after Liew and her husband started trying for a baby again, she conceived her daughter. She adds that since the surgical procedure, her “menstrual cycles are regular and periods are lighter with less cramping”.

It then occurred to me that something may be wrong with my plumbing ― because of all the menstrual cramps I had experienced.”

 
What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumours in the uterus, explains Dr Tony Tan, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Raffles Hospital. They may either be:

  • Intramural Found in the muscle layer of the uterus;
  • Subserosal Sticking out of the external layer of the uterus;
  • Submucosal Located within the cavity of the uterus;
  • Or, a combination of the above.

 

Around 50 per cent of women have had fibroids at any one time in their life, Dr Tan notes. “It’s unclear what causes them, but a family history of fibroids, obesity, and being aged between 35 and 50 predisposes a woman to having fibroids.” However, past pregnancies and the previous use of oral contraceptive pills may reduce their risk of such tumours.

Read on to figure out if you have fibroids…