Dr. Selander says that not pursuing treatment for fibroids is generally not life threatening. However, a woman’s quality of life can be impacted if she continues to live with heavy menstrual bleeding or pelvic pain. Chronic blood loss from heavy menstrual cycles can also put a woman at risk for conditions associated with chronic anemia such as fatigue, shortness of breath, syncope and even heart attack.
Fibroids can also impact fertility depending on where in the uterus they’re located. Fibroids inside the uterus can distort the uterine cavity, interfering with an embryo’s ability to implant properly or cause placenta previa (low-lying placenta over the cervix), placental abruption (when the placenta prematurely separating from the uterine wall) or placenta accreta (when the placenta implants too deeply into the uterus).
They can also cause bleeding complications during pregnancy, says Dr. Selander. These can lead to preterm delivery, miscarriage and postpartum hemorrhage.
“The fibroid’s position can also impede normal labor or cause challenges with cesarean delivery that can lead to heavy blood loss,” she says.