Fertility Friday: A Hormonal Clue To Why Some Women, and Some Families, Have More Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fbiroids are non-cancerous muscle knots. They are common, but it is also uncommon for them to need treatment. Only 25% of all women who have fibroids will need medical treatment. However, they can be a source of significant medical problems for many women. The question is why so many women have fibroids, and truthfully we do not know. 
Testosterone may be the reason some women, and some families have more uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids are not congenital, and they don't occur with puberty, but they definitely have a hormonal link. What exactly that link is has been speculated on for many years. It has been argued that birth control pills cause fibroids, and counter arguments say that birth control pills prevent uterine fibroids. Menopause is usually accompanied by resolution of fibroids. This is coming out of the SWAN study data base which has brought forward many hormonal insight and is specifically designed to look at different ethnicity and differences between groups such as African-American vs Asians vs Caucasians. The women who had fibroids were found to have very different hormonal patterns from the women who did not have fibroids. It was not completely clear nor simplistic an explanation as just having high blood testosterone. The women with fibroids had both high free testosterone, and other factors, such as high estrogen levels. The research is very provocative and may help to determine how to design treatments that could, by modifying hormonal levels, at least for some women, can also prevent uterine fibroids.

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