Understanding the Risk Factors for Fibroids with Houston Fibroids
Did you know that most women will develop at least one uterine fibroid in their lifetime? In fact, an estimated 26 million women between the ages of 15 and 50 live with uterine fibroids in the United States. Of those, about 15 million experience symptoms.
If you are experiencing symptoms such as pelvic pain, prolonged or heavy periods, or an enlarged abdomen, one or more uterine fibroids may be to blame.
Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed with uterine fibroids or are hoping to determine whether you could be at risk of developing these benign tumors, Houston Fibroids is here to help you every step of the way.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are common, non-cancerous tumors made up of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that vary in size and symptoms from person to person. They can appear inside or outside the uterus.
Risk Factors for Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are the most common tumors within the female reproductive system, so all women are at potential risk of developing them.
Although the direct cause of fibroids is still unknown, various risk factors can increase your chances of developing fibroids, including:
- Age: Most uterine fibroids are diagnosed and treated in women between the ages of 35 and 54. However, fibroids can occur in women under 35, even as young as the early 20′s. Studies demonstrate the prevalence of fibroids in 20-40% of women older than 35 years of age.
- Race: Multiple lines of evidence suggest that uterine fibroids have a disproportionate effect on African-American women. African-American women have a higher cumulative risk of uterine fibroids, a threefold greater incidence and relative risk of fibroids, and an earlier age of onset.
- Heredity and genetics: If women in your immediate family, such as your mother or sisters, had fibroids, you are considered to be at higher risk of developing them.
- Hormonal changes: Estrogen and progesterone are linked to the growth of fibroids, especially when there is a significant increase in your hormonal levels, such as during the onset of pregnancy.
Other less-prevalent risk factors include:
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Early-onset of puberty and menstruation
- A diet high in red meat and low in green vegetables, fruit, and dairy
- Regular alcohol consumption
During your annual gynecological examination, your doctor will perform a vaginal exam and check the size of your uterus. If it feels enlarged, your doctor may prescribe an ultrasound to confirm the presence, location, and size of fibroid tumors.
Other methods can confirm uterine fibroids, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). After identifying the size and location of your fibroids, your doctor may recommend ruling out other, potentially more severe conditions and advise you of your options and a recommended course of uterine fibroid treatment.
Most clinicians believe that the shrinking of fibroids will occur when a woman goes through menopause.
If you are experiencing symptoms of uterine fibroid tumors or are categorized as someone who is at an increased risk of developing uterine fibroids, we encourage you to consider uterine fibroid treatment right away to mitigate symptoms and feel better sooner. Contact us today to learn more.