Triad Phone: 336-448-9100
Charlotte Phone: 844-686-2233

Questions? Ask the doctor

Fibroids and Infertility: Are They Linked?

Category Archives: Infertility

Fibroids and Infertility: Are They Linked?

A gynecologist doctor probes the lower abdomen of a girl who has pain and inflammation of the reproductive system. Ovarian cyst; blog: Fibroids and Infertility: Are They Linked?

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), fibroids are found in 20% of women of reproductive age. But do fibroids affect your fertility? For Fibroid Awareness Month this July, we are looking at how fibroids and infertility may be linked.

What are Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are benign (noncancerous) tumors that grow in or on the uterus. Fibroids may also be referred to as myomas or leiomyomas. Most women who have fibroids have more than one at a time. There are three main types of fibroids (in order from most common to least common):

  1. Subserosal fibroids: Located on or in the outer wall of the uterus
  2. Intramural fibroids: Located in the muscular layers of the uterine wall
  3. Submucosal fibroids: Protrude into the uterine cavity


It is common for women to have fibroids and not have noticeable symptoms. However, some women with uterine fibroids experience the following symptoms:

  • Painful periods
  • Heavy bleeding during menstruation
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Anemia
  • Lower back pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Infertility or recurrent pregnancy loss

Uterine Fibroids and Infertility

Just because a woman has fibroids does not mean that she will have fertility issues. According to the ASRM, only about 5% – 10% of women with infertility have fibroids and most women with fibroids will not be infertile. However, in some cases, fibroids can contribute to fertility problems depending on their size and location.

Uterine fibroids and infertility are linked in the following ways:

  • Fibroids can block the fallopian tubes.
  • Fibroids can change the shape of the cervix. This can decrease the number of sperm that make it to the uterus.
  • The size or thickness of the uterine lining may be affected by fibroids.
  • If fibroids change the shape of the uterus it can interfere with the movement of the sperm or an embryo.

Treating Fibroids for Fertility

If you’re experiencing difficulty with uterine fibroids and infertility, there are treatment options that may help. However, women who have fibroids should be evaluated by a fertility specialist for other causes of infertility before fibroids are treated. Her partner should also be evaluated.

Drug Therapy

In some cases, the symptoms caused by uterine fibroids can be managed with hormonal drug therapy. However, these hormonal medications are intended to stop ovulation and menstruation in order to reduce symptoms. Therefore, they are not an effective treatment for someone actively trying to get pregnant. However, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists may be prescribed for short-term use before a myomectomy to reduce bleeding.

Surgical Treatment for Fibroids

In cases where uterine fibroids are very large or are causing severe symptoms, a hysterectomy may be recommended. However, for women who wish to have children, there are other procedures that leave the uterus in place. These procedures include:

  • Myomectomy: A myomectomy is the surgical removal of uterine fibroids while the uterus is left in place. This surgery can be done laparoscopically, with robot assistance, or in a traditional open procedure. If fibroids return, multiple surgeries may be required.
  • Resection of submucosal myoma: A submucosal myoma is a fibroid located under the mucosal layer of the uterus that protrudes into the uterine cavity. Sometimes these fibroids can be removed with a procedure called a resection. This procedure can be performed with a hysteroscope. A hysteroscope is a long, thin telescope-like device that is inserted into the vagina into the uterus. This technique is less invasive than open procedures.

Other Treatments

If someone is not a good candidate for drug therapy or surgery, there is another minimally invasive treatment available:

  • Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE): Uterine fibroid embolization is a treatment option for women who are experiencing symptoms such as infertility due to fibroids. The procedure is minimally invasive and the woman keeps her uterus. During the procedure, a catheter is fed through an artery and guided to the fibroids. Tiny, round beads are injected into the blood vessels that feed the fibroids. This cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids and causes them to shrink.

Schedule a Consultation

The providers at Carolinas Fertility Institute have decades of expertise when it comes to fertility treatments. If you are struggling with fibroids and infertility, we can do a fertility evaluation. To achieve your dream of building a family, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an initial consultation by calling our Charlotte office at (844) 686-2233 or our office in the Triad at (336) 448-9100.

Translating Common Infertility Terms & Acronyms

If you are just starting on your fertility journey, you might notice that there are a lot of words and abbreviations you are unfamiliar with. It’s like a foreign language! Your fertility specialist should always explain things clearly, but it’s useful to know what certain infertility terms and acronyms mean. Basic Infertility Terms These basic… Continue Reading

5 Reasons Infertility Awareness Matters

  If you are on a fertility journey, you know that infertility can be an intensely personal subject. Many people feel shame or guilt if they are struggling with getting pregnant. There is no rational reason for these feelings, but part of the problem is that people are conditioned to keep their problems to themselves.… Continue Reading

Female Fertility Tests: What to Expect

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the inability to have a child affects 1 in every 7 women in the United States. That is not to say that infertility is solely a female problem. Both partners need to be evaluated once infertility has been diagnosed.  Female fertility tests can be very basic or… Continue Reading

Taking Care of Yourself While Dealing with Infertility

Dealing with infertility is an emotionally and physically challenging process. As you focus on getting pregnant and building your family, you also need to focus on taking care of yourself. That includes taking care of both your body and mind. So in addition to following your fertility specialist’s guidelines for diet, exercise, and medication, make… Continue Reading

Can Lack of Sleep Affect Your Fertility?

Chances are you’ve experienced the downsides of lack of sleep a few times in your life. Sleep is crucial to keep our bodies running optimally and contributes to our wellness in a big way. The exact mechanism of sleep’s restorative nature and why we need to do it for an extended period of time each… Continue Reading

Endometriosis and Infertility: What You Need to Know

Endometriosis and Infertility: What You Need to Know

  More people seem to be openly discussing endometriosis in an attempt to raise awareness. Hopefully, these efforts can give support to women who have been diagnosed and educate those who might be suffering from it but have not yet been diagnosed. Endometriosis is a condition affecting female reproductive organs, making life painful for the… Continue Reading

7 Surprising Facts About Fertility You Didn’t Know

If you are ready to start or expand your family, fertility may be on your mind. And with good reason, as we often hear about conception statistics, fertility treatments and infertility issues from friends, family, and even the news. The CDC says that 12% of women aged 15 to 44 years old in the United… Continue Reading

What Every 20-Something Should Know About Fertility

  It’s no secret that fertility changes as you age.  If you are planning on conceiving, you might already be pretty well versed in fertility facts and statistics. However, if you’re in your 20s and just beginning to consider your reproductive future, educating yourself on fertility is a great idea. If you have specific concerns,… Continue Reading

Resources for Those Trying to Conceive

Trying to conceive isn’t always as easy as one might think. In fact, for many, it can be a long and challenging process. To help, we’ve put together a list of helpful resources to help you on your journey to starting a family. What to Expect: Consulting a fertility specialist for the first time can… Continue Reading