African American Women Have A Higher Risk Of Large Fibroids And Fibroid-Related Infertility
Minimally Invasive Fibroid Removal Can Reduce Fertility Problems And Miscarriage
A staggering 70 to 80 percent of American women will develop uterine fibroids by age 50. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that originate from the muscle of the womb and can occur anywhere in the uterus — often with painful and significant side effects.
African American women are at an even higher risk: It is estimated that 90 percent are affected by age 50. Not only are they more likely to develop fibroids, African American women also have a much higher chance of them recurring after a myomectomy (fibroid removal), growing significantly larger, and causing fertility-related problems.
Fibroids can grow quickly, causing bleeding, anemia, infertility, and miscarriage. The outdated idea of “watching and waiting,” and not treating fibroids unless they disrupt everyday activities, can lead to fibroids growing, and further impacting fertility and the possibility of getting pregnant and carrying to term. Learning about minimally invasive fibroid removal options, such as a myomectomy with the LAAM-BUAO® technique, as early as possible is critical for preserving fertility when diagnosed with fibroids.
HOW FIBROIDS AFFECT PREGNANCY FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN
African American women are three times more likely to experience pregnancy-related complications as a result of fibroids than women of other races. Overall risk may be reduced based on the location of the fibroid; however, the rapid growth of a fibroid in any location can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant and carry to term.
Submucosal fibroids, or fibroids in the cavity of the uterus, can prevent an embryo from attaching to the endometrial lining. If the embryo cannot successfully attach, the placenta will not be able to develop. The fibroid can also redirect blood supply and impact development of a fetus from an embryo.
Intramural fibroids are fibroids in the muscle that can prevent conception by blocking the fallopian tubes, making it difficult to conceive. In some cases, an embryo may not be able to pass through a fallopian tube blocked by a fibroid, resulting in a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy.
If a woman is able to get pregnant, fibroids can cause other issues, such as placental abruption (detachment of the placenta from the uterine wall, causing bleeding and loss of pregnancy, or preterm birth), abnormal growth of the pregnancy (occurring from fibroids affecting blood flow or the size of the fibroids competing with the growth of the baby), or preterm labor.
DELAYING FERTILITY CAN LEAD TO ADDITIONAL PROBLEMS
Women today often wait longer to have children. The risk of fibroids increases with age — compounding other age-related challenges to fertility. Although women can get pregnant into their 40s, there are higher risks to both the mother and the baby. The rates of success diminish exponentially after 35 due to decreased egg quality.
THE WRONG FIBROID TREATMENT CAN ELIMINATE A WOMAN’S CHANCE OF PREGNANCY
If advised to watch and wait, fibroids can grow quickly and become more difficult to treat. Once fibroids grow to a certain point, patients are often told that their only option is to have an invasive, open procedure, as many doctors are not trained in laparoscopic techniques. In many cases, doctors will only offer a hysterectomy over a myomectomy, which completely eliminates the possibility of pregnancy.
In the case of Raynelle, she was not offered a minimally invasive surgical solution to her fibroids by her regular OBGYN and was worried how it would affect her fertility.
“The fibroids weren’t causing any day-to-day issues, but each year they were getting bigger. As my husband and I started thinking we wanted to have children, I realized that I needed to get checked out. My OBGYN said that the fibroids were now the size of a small grapefruit or an orange, and there would be no room in my torso for them and a baby. She recommended an open myomectomy.”
Knowing how invasive that surgery would be, Raynelle researched other options and made the decision to travel to The Center for Innovative GYN Care (CIGC®) in the Washington D.C. area for the advanced LAAM procedure with Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD. “Within a three- to four-minute conversation with Dr. Danilyants, I had a better understanding of how my body worked than I had after eight years’ worth of conversations with my regular OBGYN.”
After a minimally invasive myomectomy, Raynelle was able to get pregnant in her mid-30s and give birth to her beautiful daughter, Emersyn.
A SAFER MINIMALLY INVASIVE MYOMECTOMY AT CIGC
Patients with fibroids who want to become pregnant can choose a state-of-the-art laparoscopic procedure. The Center for Innovative GYN Care specialists perform modern minimally invasive techniques, such as a LAAM myomectomy. LAAM makes it possible to remove fibroids while leaving the uterus intact to maintain fertility.
A myomectomy is a complex procedure. The surgeon removes the fibroids from the uterus, and for the strongest healing, the uterus should be repaired by hand at each site of fibroid removal to ensure it is able to withstand carrying a baby to term.
Many surgeons are not highly skilled in laparoscopic removal of fibroids, and OBGYNs are often reluctant to perform a myomectomy because of the risks associated with the procedure. If a myomectomy is performed by an OBGYN, it is likely to be an open procedure, and heavy bleeding can occur, increasing the need for a blood transfusion due to the tremendous blood supply from the uterine artery.
At CICG, our advanced LAAM technique is a safer laparoscopic myomectomy surgery that uses only two small incisions. This surgery can remove large or multiple fibroids from any location, and allows the CIGC specialist to feel even small fibroids for removal to prevent them from growing larger.
Women often delay surgery due to the length of time for recovery. One of the benefits of the LAAM procedure is a quick recovery that allows women to address fibroids early and get back to their lives faster, rather than delay surgery. Fibroids will continue to grow, so removing them when they are smaller can help prevent future complications.
The CIGC collaborative approach to care ensures our patients have the best of both worlds: exceptional surgical treatment from us, and continuation of care with their OBGYN or general practitioner. Patients can find peace of mind in the form of expertise and care from our surgical experts.
BOOK A CONSULTATION
The CIGC state-of-the-art specialists are available at three locations in the DC metro area. Virginia patients can visit the Reston, VA location, and Saturday appointments are available. Maryland offices are located in Rockville, MD and Annapolis, MD.
CIGC is dedicated to providing information and materials for women to help navigate the complicated healthcare system. The CIGC founders, minimally invasive GYN surgical specialists Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD and Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD, developed their advanced GYN surgical techniques using only two small incisions with patients’ well-being in mind.
Their personalized approach to care helps patients understand their condition and the recommended treatment so that they can have confidence from the very start. Our surgeons have performed over 20,000 GYN procedures and are constantly finding better ways to improve outcomes for patients.