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
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
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