Why are so many women affected by uterine fibroids and what causes uterine fibroids? [Dr. Abadir]

Q: Why are so many women affected by fibroids and what causes fibroids?

A: Fibroids in general are a very common issue with women. Up to 60% to 70% of all women have some fibroids. Only a small number of those actually become symptomatic, but it’s a very common issue. Some muscle cells in the uterus stop obeying the normal commands that say “stop growing” so they form a little tumor that’s not malignant and not dangerous, but it can cause symptoms. Nobody has been able to identify any major causes, it seems to be mostly genetic and runs in families. If your mother or sister has fibroids, you’re much more likely to have fibroids. It also varies by race. Black women are affected at least twice as much as white women. There are very few factors you can modify in terms of fibroids because they are genetically-based.

Additionally, fibroids seem to be affected by the body mass index. If you are overweight you may have increased production of estrogen. Fibroids seem to be responsive to estrogen, so that’s one modifiable factor.

Other things that we’ve seen associated with fibroids include the age that you have your first menses. If it’s early, you’re exposed to estrogen longer and you seem to have a higher incidence of fibroids. Also, having children early seems to increase your risk of fibroids later in life.

More videos from the interview with Dr. Abadir of the Fishkill Endovascular Center as he outlines causes and treatments for uterine fibroids:

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