Uterine fibroids are benign tumors – small clumps of tissue – inside the uterus. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, they are quite common with an estimated 20% to 50% of women experiencing known or unknown uterine fibroids at some point during adulthood.
Marla Ahlgrimm explains that most women will experience no major symptoms of uterine fibroids. However, heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and fertility are common. Less common but more difficult to overcome are recurrent miscarriages due to uterine fibroids.
Fibroids related to miscarriage
A 2000 health study found that uterine fibroids were to blame around 5% of the time for unexplained infertility or multiple miscarriages. Marla Ahlgrimm believes that the reason has less to do with the presence of fibroids and more to do with their size, shape, and location.
As an example, a centrally located fibroids is closer in proximity to the middle of the uterus, where implantation is most common. This fibroid may interfere with the implantation process. Likewise, submucous fibroid, those which stick out into the uterus, maybe more likely to cause a miscarriage than intramural fibroids or subserosal fibroids. Large fibroid, explains Marla Ahlgrimm, may also increase the risk of miscarriage as blood flow is routed to the tumor and away from the developing fetus.
Marla Ahlgrimm reports that uterine fibroids are not difficult to diagnose. A doctor can typically determine presence of a fibroid by performing a simple pelvic exam. If more information regarding the fibroid is needed, the doctor may order a special test known as an HSG, which is a simple outpatient procedure. During an HSG test, and iodine solution is injected into the uterus and x-rays are taken.
Most uterine fibroids do not need treatment. Those that cause issues may be addressed with medications or surgical removal. The two most common surgical treatments include a uterine artery embolization and myomectomy. Marla Ahlgrimm says extreme cases may require a full hysterectomy.