Causes of Uterine Fibroids


Uterine fibroids are common uterine growths. When faced with a possible or actual diagnosis of uterine fibroids, many people wonder, “What causes fibroids?”

They frequently appear during the years when you are normally able to become pregnant and give birth. Uterine fibroids are not cancerous and almost never become cancerous. They are also not associated with an increased risk of other types of uterine cancer. They’re also known as leiomyomas or myomas.

The precise causes of myomas are unknown. Researchers are finding out more about the causes of uterine fibroids and have detected estrogen, progesterone, growth hormones, genetics, and misplaced cells in the body prior to birth as possible contributors to their development and growth. Most of these factors are beyond our control, but it’s crucial to remember that there are effective treatments for uterine fibroids, such as medication, surgery, or minimally invasive procedures.

Estrogen is the most important hormone responsible for growth and development of uterine fibroid. Estrogen increases the availability of progesterone receptors on the fibroid cells. Both Estrogen (Estradiol) and progesterone work together to maintain viability and promote development of myomas

Many risk factors directly or indirectly increase the blood level of estrogen hormone, responsible for increased incidences of fibroid in those women.

What causes fibroids in women?

African-American women had a 2–3 times greater risk of having fibroids than Caucasian women. African-American women also have fibroids developed at a younger age, and have more numerous, larger, and more symptomatic fibroids. 

Prevalence of fibroids increases with increasing age during the reproductive years and most common in women in their forties. Incidence of fibroids is about 4.3 per 1,000 woman-years for 25–29 year-old women and about 22.5 for 40–44 year-old women.

First-degree relatives of women with myomas have a 2.5 times increased risk of developing myomas. 

Fibroids are hormonally sensitive, particularly estrogen. This could explain why women who begin to menstruate before the age of 10 are more likely to develop fibroids than women who start menstruating after the age of 13. 

There is a high risk of fibroids among women who never got pregnant or given childbirth (Nulliparous). This might be due to  long-term unopposed estrogens level in nulliparous women.

Being overweight or obese elevates the risk of developing fibroids, according to research. Excess body weight can cause hormonal imbalances and changes in estrogen production and metabolism, which can promote fibroid growth.

The risk of fibroids increased approximately 21% for each 10-kg increase in body weight. Obesity increases conversion of adrenal androgens to estrone by excess adipose tissue and decreases sex hormone–binding globulin, resulting in more unbound physiologically active estrogen and thus increasing fibroid prevalence and/ or growth. 

Consumption of beef, other red meat, and ham are associated with increased risk of uterine myomas. 

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found in a variety of foods, particularly dairy. When our skin is exposed to sunlight, our bodies produce vitamin D. Vitamin D has been revealed in studies to inhibit cell growth and regulate the immune system. Vitamin D also inhibits fibroid cell production of fibrous tissue. It is critical to ensure that you are getting enough vitamin D

What protects women from fibroids?

Fibroids shrink following menopause due to absence of estrogen hormonal stimulus. 

Pregnancy has a protective effect on fibroid. Childbearing during the mid-reproductive years (age 25 to 29 years) provides the greatest protection against myoma development. Pregnancy reduces the time of exposure to unopposed estrogens. Also, during pregnancy, fibroid can undergo necrosis and may suffer bleeding within (red degeneration). Blood vessels supplying fibroids may regress during post-partum phase, depriving fibroids of their source of nutrition.

We are all aware that we should consume a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. High intake of green vegetables has a protective effect.  High-fiber diets and low-fat diets will reduce serum estrogen levels, thereby reducing the chances of getting fibroid. Studies have found that vegetarian women excrete 3-fold more estrogen in their feces, and have 15–20% reduced plasma estrogen levels. 

In a dietary habits study, researchers discovered that eating at least two servings of fruit per day, particularly citrus fruits, was associated with a lower risk of uterine fibroids. If you’re not a regular eater of fruits and vegetables, perhaps knowing you’re lowering your risk of developing fibroids can be a motivating factor for you to eat them more frequently.

Exercise decreases incidences of fibroid. Women who are engaged in high physical activity (approximately 7 h/week) are less likely to have fibroids than women with less physical activity (<2 h/week). 

Smoking reduces the incidence of fibroids. Nicotine inhibits aromatase and reduces conversion of androgens to estrone and it leads to higher levels of sex hormone–binding globulin (SHBG), which decreases bioavailability of estrogen. 

Want to know more about - What causes uterine fibroids? Consult our fibroid expert Dr. Sandeep Burathoki

Uterine fibroids are a common yet often misunderstood condition that affects many women. With the help of Dr. Sandeep Burathoki, we have delved into the causes and treatment options for this condition. Whether you are experiencing symptoms or simply want to learn more about uterine fibroids, do not hesitate to consult with our expert for personalized guidance and care. Remember, knowledge is power when it comes to managing your health and well-being.

Consult with Dr. Sandeep