Infertility is a major concern if you have non-cancerous uterine tumors. After all, your fertility is an important health marker, even if you don’t want a child right now. But fibroids aren’t the only cause of infertility. So, regardless of your family plan, it’s important to understand what’s causing your infertility. And, to help you investigate, here are some of the top culprits to explore if you’re dealing with infertility:
1. Infertility and Fallopian Tube Issues
When functioning properly, your fallopian tubes act as a highway for your eggs. During ovulation, eggs travel down the tubes; if an egg meets sperm at the end of its journey, it can become a fertilized embryo. If, however, your fallopian tubes become blocked or damaged, sperm can’t meet your eggs. And even if the sperm and egg do connect, the fertilized embryo will have a harder time travelling to your uterus for implantation. While many things can cause damage to your fallopian tubes, PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) and STIs or STDs are often responsible.
2. Endometriosis Impacts Fertility
Endometriosis is a painful condition in which endometrium, the tissue that’s normally found in the lining of your uterus grows outside the uterus. Often, this misplaced tissue develops in your ovaries or fallopian tubes. Endometriosis can be painful. It affects your menstrual cycle and, often, your ability to conceive.
PCOS, or Polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a hormonal disorder that causes your ovaries to become enlarged and covered in cysts at their edges. Another characteristic of this condition is that women produce more male hormones than is typical. Approximately 10% of women are affected by PCOS. Symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, obesity, excess hair growth, higher risks of diabetes and acne.
4. Uterine Fibroids and Infertility
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that develop in or on your uterus. Fibroids can develop inside your uterus, on its lining, inside its wall or even on the outer surface of your uterus. Fibroids can affect your menstrual cycle, your ability to conceive and your ability to carry a successful pregnancy to term.
Secondary infertility is often tied to fibroids. (This means you’ve had one baby, but are struggling to become pregnant again) Why? If you develop new fibroids after your first pregnancy, you may not conceive. The same could be true if an old fibroid got bigger after your first baby. If that’s your situation, discuss a fibroid exam with your doctor. We are also happy to offer remote fibroid consultations at this time.
5. Thyroid conditions
Thyroid hormones regulate, among other things, fertility and pregnancy in as much as they are a major part of human growth and development. Hypothyroidism, a condition in which your thyroid hormone levels are low, can stop your ovaries from releasing eggs for fertilization.
6. Egg problems
Every woman has a different number and quality of eggs that may be produced by her ovaries. Some women have fairly low egg counts. Other women have plenty of eggs, but the ones she has are not up to the task of creating a baby. Egg count and quality decrease with age, so women with advanced maternal age may be inclined to check their egg quality when grappling with infertility.
7. Uterine Polyps and Infertility
Polyps are uterine growths, but they are different than fibroids. (Learn the difference between polyps and fibroids here.) Still, like fibroids, polyps can lead to infertility. That’s because they have a stalk that attaches to the membrane lining your uterus and/or cervix.
Unfortunately, many different causes of infertility manifest with the same symptom—irregular or heavy menstrual cycles. In many cases, you can only pinpoint the cause of your infertility by ruling out all other possibilities. If you are concerned that fibroids may be the cause of your infertility issues, schedule a consultation with Dr. Fox or Dr. Hardee in our Houston area fibroid clinic today.