What’s the thyroid fibroid connection? Well, we know that many women develop fibroids—non-cancerous uterine tumors. And we know that even more women of color live with fibroids. In fact, black women are three times more likely than white women to develop fibroids. Plus, those fibroids tend to be larger and cause more disruptive symptoms. But we don’t know why some women get fibroids and some women don’t.
For years, researchers have tried to pinpoint an answer. They’ve discovered that hormones play a role in your fibroid risk. As does exposure to certain chemicals, which is many people believe black women’s hair products might play a role in their fibroid risk. Stress and family history can also raise your fibroid risk.
All of these ideas offer helpful information. Because, the more you know about potential fibroid risks, the better you may be able to prevent their growth. Which is why, today, we’re discussing one new theory about fibroids: a possible thyroid-fibroid connection.
Studying the Thyroid and Fibroids
In a new study in the Endocrine Journal, researchers noticed a connection between thyroid nodules and fibroids, in pre-menopausal women. (Thyroid nodules are fluid-filled lumps that form at the base of your thyroid. Most aren’t cancerous. But a few will be, so you should always see a doctor for nodules.) In other words, women with thyroid nodules were very likely to have fibroids.
They found this thyroid fibroid connection by looking at electronic medical records for women aged 24 to 51. Each of these women had check-ups between 2017 and 2018 at a hospital in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China. During that checkup, they also had lab testing, thyroid ultrasounds, and transvaginal pelvic ultrasounds.
What they found was telling. Among the women studied, 432 had uterine fibroids. And 421 were fibroid free. In the group of women with fibroids, 65% also had thyroid nodules. But among women without fibroids, only 52% had thyroid nodules. Which means that women with fibroids are more likely to have thyroid nodules.
And the opposite also seemed true. Women with thyroid nodules were more likely to have multiple fibroids. But there was no difference in fibroid size for women with nodules compared to women without them.
Pursuing the Thyroid Fibroid Connection
The results of this study are interesting. But, once again, they just give us a hint about your fibroid risk. Without offering one clear reason why women develop fibroids. Even study authors recognized the limitations on their findings.
These included missing data about the women’s estrogen, antithyroglobulin, and antithyroperoxidase levels. And that’s a big deal, since we know there is a connection between your hormones and your fibroid risk.
Still, the study does suggest that thyroid nodules may be associated with uterine fibroids. Moving forward, researchers will keep exploring this thyroid fibroid connection. Because it can also teach us more about your future risk for fibroid cancer.
Now, even while we wait for answers, you don’t have to wait for relief from fibroid symptoms. At our Houston area fibroid office, we offer minimally invasive fibroid treatment. So you can get rid of painful symptoms without the risk of surgery. Want to learn if you’re a good candidate for this alternative to myomectomy? Schedule a consultation at our office. We’ll help you review all your fibroid treatment options.
Sources: Endocrinology Advisor