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DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I'm 24, single and looking forward to having a family one day. I was recently diagnosed with fibroids. What treatment options would allow me to have a baby in the future?
ANSWER: Fibroids are noncancerous masses made of muscle that grow within the uterus.
While fibroids are common — they are present in over 75% of women — most people don't have symptoms or pregnancy problems due to fibroids, and everyone does not need treatment.
Fibroids are classified in three main categories based on location:
For some people, fibroids can cause heavy or prolonged periods or bulk symptoms if they are large. Bulk symptoms include pelvic pressure or heaviness, urinary frequency, difficulty passing bowel movements, or feeling full constantly. Occasionally, fibroids can make it harder to become pregnant or stay pregnant, and sometimes fibroids can cause problems during pregnancy or delivery of the baby.
A greater number of fibroids, larger fibroids, and submucosal fibroids have been shown to have the biggest effect on women trying to get pregnant. Having large or numerous fibroids can cause issues during pregnancy like pain, excessive bleeding, preterm delivery, or needing a cesarean section. Seeing a fibroid specialist can help you understand if your fibroids will be a problem in a future pregnancy and what treatment options are available.
All the treatments noted above do not remove the uterus, so it's possible for new fibroids to occur in the future. For some patients with significant fibroids, a hysterectomy is the best option. In this surgery, both the uterus and fibroids are removed to prevent fibroids from coming back and eliminating menstrual bleeding forever. While a hysterectomy does not cause menopause, getting pregnant is impossible after a hysterectomy because the uterus is removed.
While it's possible for some fibroids to affect your ability to get pregnant or cause problems in pregnancy, fibroid specialists can guide you through your treatment options and help you achieve a healthy pregnancy and long-term quality of life. — Dr. Michelle Louie, Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Phoenix
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