What Are Fibroids?

Causes or Associated Conditions of Fibroids

Symptoms of Fibroids


Causes or Associated Conditions

There is thought to be four periods in a woman’s reproductive years where there are hormonal changes that could account for fibroid stimulation.

Puberty, a period of anovulation, is a time early in life when the pituitary-ovarian axis is not yet synchronized, thereby producing cycles of estrogen dominance. This increased estrogen environment may well trigger a mechanism for the formation or growth of fibroid tumors.

Pregnancy is a nine month period when estrogen, progesterone or other growth hormones are excessively produced and give rise to rapid growth of uterine fibroids. By eight weeks post-partum, many of these fibroids have significantly decreased in size, suggesting that this increased/decreased hormonal phenomena gave rise to these changes.

Obesity is a commonly associated with fibroids in the reproductive years of women. Again this condition produces an estrogen dominant condition, because in fat (adipose) tissue, the circulating androgens are converted to an estrogen (estrone) and can cause an asynchrony of the pituitary-ovarian axis and estrogen dominance. This can also lead to anovulation and infertility.

Premenopause or the transitional years is that time later in the reproductive life cycle where again there is estrogen dominance as a result of anovulation. This increased estrogen environment triggers some mechanism to cause increased growth of uterine fibroids. It is also interesting that with the onset of menopause, a hypoestrogenic environment, many of these enlarged uterine fibroids will decrease in size (unless the woman goes on estrogen replacement therapy).

Finally, there are environmental factors, called hormone disruptors, which may act as hormones in the body or interfere with hormonal actions and cause the growth of uterine fibroids. Additionally, eating foods with estrogens, or estrogen-like compounds are being associated with stimulation. DDT and other organic chemicals are examples of hormonal disruptors.

Stress may also be a factor which interferes with the normal pituitary-ovarian axis and therefore produces an estrogen dominant environment which can contribute to fibroid growth.

Inheritance is factor that may have an affect upon a woman having fibroids. Many women who have fibroids reveal that their mothers and sisters also had fibroids.

These conditions, along with genetic patterns, are currently being studied at the Center for Bioenvironmental Research at Tulane University in New Orleans. The research is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Myron Moorehead of The Women's Laser Institute and The Fibroid Center of New Orleans.

The information provided here is for general information or educational purposes only. A complete physical exam and consultation is the only way a medical decision can be reached.