What if you could have your uterine fibroids treated and improve your chances of getting pregnant at the same time? One study, conducted in Portugal and published in the magazine Radiology, suggests you can.
Fertility and UFE
The study focused on 359 women who had undergone uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), a minimally-invasive fibroid treatment. For six years after the procedure, the study examined how many of these women became pregnant. It also looked at how many of them delivered living babies.
The study found that 42 percent of the women (149) became pregnant at least once within the six years. In addition, 131 of them gave birth to 150 living children. By contrast, only 32 percent of the women had carried at least one pregnancy before their procedure, and only 20 percent had successfully given birth to a living baby.
Good news for fibroid sufferers of childbearing age
The improvements in fertility among the women in this study are significant because of a prevailing belief that UFE side effects can mean possible reduced fertility for women. Some non-experts thought that UFE can reduce the blood flow to a woman’s reproductive organs. This would make it more difficult for them to become pregnant and carry a baby to term. The misconception has caused some to avoid UFE as a uterine fibroids treatment option.
Joao Martins Pisco, a researcher at New University of Lisbon and the lead author for the study, said in an email: “With this study we were able to verify that women who could not conceive due to uterine fibroids, once subjected to embolization, could have a normal pregnancy with a live newborn.”
Fibroids and pregnancy
The large number of pregnancies and live births documented by the study were also significant because fibroids and pregnancy generally do not mix. In fact, up to 25 percent of women who suffer from fibroids suffers from fertility problems as well. (Fibroids are one of the leading causes of infertility and pregnancy-related problems.)
The study indicates that UFE might be a better alternative to myomectomy (the surgical removal of fibroids from the uterus) for women who want to conceive. UFE is less invasive than that major surgery and doesn’t risk the complications that can lead to hysterectomies.
Significantly, fibroids do not always cause infertility. Women who are struggling to conceive should not assume that uterine fibroids are the culprit. Other causes of infertility that should be ruled out, according to Mikulas Redecha, a researcher at the University Hospital Bratislava in Slovakia. (Redecha wasn’t involved in the study).
However, for women struggling with fibroid pain or other symptoms of fibroids and fertility problems, the study offers hope that UFE can make a difference, according to Martins Pisco.
Fibroid symptoms reduced, too
Improved fertility was not the only positive outcome noted by the study. In addition, 79 percent of the women experienced a reduction in fibroid symptoms. Complications rates for the procedure were at 15 percent for women who underwent partial embolization (the blockage of small vessels to the fibroid) and 23 percent for women who underwent complete embolization (blockage of all the vessels to the fibroids). In only 28 cases did women need to have the procedure repeated.
VIVA EVE can help your fibroids
The doctors at VIVA EVE have years of experience treating uterine fibroids. Experts in UFE, we are provide high-quality, personalized care for each and every patient we see. We will partner with you to determine the best way to treat your problematic fibroids or adenomyosis symptoms.