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If My Mother Had Fibroids, Will I Get Them?

Posted on May 28, 2024

Many women want to understand their risk for uterine fibroids, non-cancerous tumors that can lead to symptoms such as heavy periods, pelvic pain and more. Now, we don’t know the exact reason why some women are more impacted by fibroids than others. (Especially black women, who develop these tumors three times more frequently than white women.) However, recent research can help us answer one question we hear a lot: if my mother had fibroids, will I get them? And, as it turns out, the answer is that your risk for fibroids certainly increases based on your family history. Here’s what you need to know.

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If My Mother Had Fibroids, Will I Get Them?

A new study published in JAMA Network Openset out to explore the link between family history and fibroid risk, specifically for Black women. Specifically, researchers followed 1610 Black and African American women, aged 23-25, who had not yet been diagnosed with fibroids at the start of the study period. (37% of the women had mother’s who’d been diagnosed with fibroids in previous years.) Then, after being selected for inclusion in the study, each participant was monitored with four ultrasounds over a five-year period, looking for fibroids that were at least 0.5 cm. If fibroids were detected, their growth was monitored in subsequent ultrasounds.

At the conclusion of the study period, here’s what researchers discovered. First, the women whose mothers had fibroids were more likely to develop these tumors as well, especially if their mom’s fibroids were diagnosed at an early age. Moreover, women with a maternal history of fibroids also saw their own tumors grow more than women whose moms did not have uterine tumors. As such, study author Dr. Quaker Harmon concluded, “We confirmed that earlier maternal diagnosis had the strongest association with fibroid incidence.”

 What Should I Do if My Mom Had Fibroids?

Recognizing that family history is a risk factor for fibroids, what should you do if your mom had these tumors? Dr. Harmon suggests discussing your family fibroid history with older female relatives. And, if you have any fibroid symptoms, be sure to mention them to your doctor. (Making sure to explain that your mom was previously diagnosed with fibroids.)

Of course, while family history can increase your fibroid risk, a previous maternal diagnosis doesn’t guarantee that you’ll develop these tumors as well. So, if you’re still wondering, “If my mom had fibroids, will I get them?” know that the answer isn’t always going to be yes. Still, if you have a family history for these tumors, and have noticed changes to your menstrual cycle; have back or pelvic pain; or are experiencing bloating or uterine enlargement, we encourage you to connect with your healthcare provider. And, if fibroids are the cause of your symptoms, click here to request a consultation with our fibroid specialists in Houston. 

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