If you want to have a pregnancy after removal of fibroids, choosing your best treatment may be challenging. That’s especially true if you have large fibroids, or if you have many of these non-cancerous uterine tumors.
After all, many women with multiple fibroids think hysterectomy is their best—or only—treatment option. But if you want to start or grow your family, or avoid hysterectomy complications, you’ll need a different approach. So, in this article, we’ll explore the differences between two fertility-preserving fibroid treatments: UFE and myomectomy.
Pregnancy After Removal of Fibroids: Fertility Preserving Treatments
Up to 80% of women will develop uterine fibroids before hitting menopause. These growths form from cells in the muscular outer layer of your uterus (called the myometrium) and can leave you with heavy periods, pelvic pain and sexual discomfort, among other disruptive symptoms.
While some women with fibroids never develop symptoms, this large survey reveals that women with fibroids are more likely to experience bladder pressure, cramps and pain between and during periods, along with painful sex. As a result, almost 43% of the women with fibroids said their tumors took a negative toll on life, affecting intimacy, work performance and even their familial relationships.
Unfortunately, many doctors consider a hysterectomy to be the main—or only—fibroid treatment option. But fertility sparing approaches do exist. (And they’re very effective.) These are the two main options.
UFE and Pregnancy After Removal of Fibroids
If you choose Uterine Fibroid Embolization, your interventional radiologist will perform this outpatient procedure. Instead of going under anesthesia, you’ll get a small injection in your arm or leg that allows us to insert a catheter. Next, we’ll deliver material to your uterine artery through that catheter. This cuts off blood supply to your fibroids, so they shrink and eventually disappear.
Now, some research suggests that UAE may increase your risk for intrauterine adhesions. And we don’t yet know exactly how they could impact your fertility or ability to carry a baby to term. Still, a recent study comparing UFE and Myomectomy revealed that both procedures delivered similar results. And patients like Yvette Foy have publicly shared their stories about having a baby after UFE, to help other women know hysterectomy isn’t the only way forward. As a result, you should consider both options. Especially if you want to avoid surgery.
Myomectomy: Surgical Fibroid Removal
With this procedure, your surgeon will make one or more small incisions in your abdomen or pelvic region to access and remove your fibroids. While less invasive than a hysterectomy, a myomectomy still requires anasthesia, hospital stays and a more extended recovery period.
If you want to pursue pregnancy after removal of fibroids, you’ll have to choose between these options. And there are many factors to consider. First, you should understand that fibroid location matters when it comes to impact on fertility. So, depending on your situation, you may choose to delay treatment until after your family is complete. (But keep in mind that fibroids can impact your pregnancy, even if they don’t get in the way of conception.) Plus, if you are pregnant with fibroids, you’ll need extra monitoring to make sure the growths don’t limit fetal development.
In other words, choosing to treat fibroids before pregnancy may improve your chances of carrying your baby to term, and avoiding complications. So, if you have fibroids and still want to start or expand your family, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our Houston area specialists. We’ll discuss your fertility-preserving treatment options and help you make a choice that works for your goals.