By Dr. Robert P. Mayson

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Q. Uterine fibroids run in my family. I don’t have any symptoms, but I know that doesn’t mean they’re not there. If I do have uterine fibroids, will I have a hard time getting pregnant?

A. Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus that often appear during childbearing years. Although they are common—as many as three of every four women develop fibroids at some point during their lives—many women with fibroids have no symptoms. The growths may be discovered during a pelvic or prenatal ultrasound.

When it comes to conception and pregnancy, fibroids typically don’t interfere. It is possible a fibroid could block or interfere with sperm passing from your cervix to your fallopian tubes. A fibroid also could prevent implantation and growth of an embryo. In these cases, doctors often recommend removing the fibroid.

For the most part, treatment for fibroids during pregnancy isn’t necessary. Pregnant women with fibroids may experience pain in the pelvic region. This can be managed with over-the-counter pain medicine.

A woman with fibroids who has experienced repeated pregnancy losses may benefit from removal of one or more fibroids to improve her chances of carrying a baby to term.

Because you have a family history of fibroids, wish to start a family and have concerns related to your reproductive health, I recommend making an appointment with your physician. An OB/GYN can review your medical history, perform an examination if needed, and address your concerns.

Dr. Robert Mayson is an OB/GYN with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton.

This content is intended to encourage a healthy lifestyle. For medical advice and treatment, see a physician.