How Do You Get Fibroids?

Uterine Fibroids Risk Factors
Uterine fibroids risk factors

“What causes fibroid tumors in the uterus?” is a common question patients ask when they first learn about or get diagnosed with fibroids.

Fibroids impact up to 70% of women by the age of 50 (and an even higher rate of African-American women). While doctors don’t know exactly what causes fibroid tumors to form, there are a few identified factors like estrogen, progesterone, growth hormones, and genetics. Some of these factors cannot be easily changed, but understanding what you can control may help reduce the risk of developing fibroids.

There are treatments available for uterine fibroids but some of them only help provide limited symptom relief and do not eliminate the growths. Treatment options include medication, hormonal birth control, surgery, or the best option; a minimally invasive treatment called uterine fibroid embolization.

Factors that contribute to fibroid tumors’ growth:

  • Genetics
  • Estrogen
  • Drinking Alcohol
  • Not Eating Enough Colored Vegetables and Fruits
  • Eating Red Meat
  • Vitamin D Deficiency
  • Hair Relaxers
  • Stress

What Causes Fibroid Tumors in Uterus?

How do you develop fibroids? Researchers have been trying to come up with a definitive answer to that question for years. While they have not nailed down a singular answer for what causes fibroids, they have discovered that certain elements can make one woman more at risk for developing fibroids than another. Here are some of the elements that can contribute to their development and growth:

Excess Estrogen Exposure

Unfortunately, these days, women are exposed to unusually high amounts of excess estrogen which is known to be associated with breast cancer and one of the main causes of fibroid growth. This hormone, or artificial chemicals that mimic estrogen can be found in many products that we use and eat every day.  Women who have fibroids and become pregnant often experience rapid growth of their fibroids during the first three months. This is due to the natural increase of estrogen in the body during the early months of pregnancy.

Genetics

African American women are more likely to develop fibroids than Caucasian women. By the age of 35, 60% of African American women will have fibroids, compared to 40% of Caucasian women. While you are not able to change your genetics, you can focus on other factors to decrease your chances of developing fibroid tumors.

Insufficient Intake Of  Fruits and Vegetables

Most of us are aware that we should eat a mix of fruits and vegetables every day, but what you may not know is that those that are very colorful, such as blackberries, cherries, tomatoes, red cabbage, etc., contain what are known as flavonoids. This is a special chemical that has many health benefits, including blocking estrogen synthesis. The more of these colorful fruits and veggies you can include in your diet, the better it is for your health.

Red Meat and Chicken

Following a low-estrogen diet is recommended for women with fibroids or at increased risk of developing them. Consuming an excess of red meat or chicken treated with hormones is associated with an increased risk of fibroid tumors. When shopping for meat, look for choices that are marked “hormone-free”.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is present in certain foods. Our bodies produce vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D has the ability to diminish the growth of cells and regulate the immune system. Vitamin D also limits the production of fibrous tissue. Take regular walks and make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D.

Hair Relaxers

Hair relaxers may contain phthalates, a group of chemicals that are very similar to the structure of estrogen and detectable levels of phthalates are associated with uterine fibroid risk. Reduce the use of hair relaxers or don’t use them at all, if possible.

Alcohol

Consuming alcohol, particularly beer, is associated with the development of uterine fibroids. Avoiding overindulging in alcoholic beverages and limiting your intake of beer will reduce your risk of having issues with uterine fibroids.

High Level of Stress

Stressful life events, such as the loss of a child or spouse, going through a divorce, etc., can trigger the body’s stress response, which can cause an imbalance in hormones. This can cause women to gain weight and may also promote the growth of fibroids. Taking care of yourself by exercising, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, eating healthy, and learning ways to manage your stress levels will be beneficial to your health.

Icon
close