It has been reported that up to 80% of women of childbearing age have uterine fibroids although for most of them, they are unaware that they have these tumors because they either experience no symptoms are all or the tumors remain very small. They may also degenerate with the woman being none the wiser. Fibroids also take a long time to grow and almost 99% of them are benign which means that they are non-cancerous. Since these tumors affect most women of childbearing age, it is important to be aware of the risk factors for the development of uterine fibroids.
The most important risk factor is of course being a woman of childbearing age. While much of what causes fibroids is still unknown, the presence of estrogen is thought to be a factor. This is due to the fact that prior to puberty, there are very few fibroid tumors that are reported and after menopause when estrogen levels decrease, menopausal women report few or shrinking uterine fibroids.
2. Family History
It has been determined that women with a family history of uterine fibroids are two times more likely to develop these tumors than women without a family history. This risk can be inherited from either the mother or father’s side of the family.
Though the reason why is still unknown, black women report having uterine fibroids at more than 3 times the rate of white, Asian and hispanic women.
In addition, black women also report having these tumors are earlier ages than women of other races and are more likely to experience the symptoms of uterine fibroids like pain and anemia.
Being overweight definitely increases the risk of developing fibroids as the excess fat leads to the production of excess estrogen that fibroids tumors seem to love.
Women who have had four to five children are up to 80% less likely to develop uterine fibroids which makes this group those with the lowest risk overall of developing fibroid tumors. Generally, women who have no children have an increased risk of developing these tumors than women who have had children.
6. Birth Control Pills
While birth control pills are generally thought to have no effect on fibroid development and in some cases may actually help with the various uterine fibroids symptoms, it has been discovered that women who start using birth control at an early age (teens) actually report having fibroids than women who start using birth control later.
7. Early Menstruation
Women who start menstruating from an early age have an increased risk of developing fibroid tumors.
Diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been shown to reduce the risk of developing these tumors.
9. Non Smokers
Although this is no reason to go out and start smoking, smokers have been found to have less risk of developing uterine fibroids probably due to the chemicals released into the body by cigarettes which can affect hormones. However, the health risks of smoking far outweigh any of the “benefits” of smoking.
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