Common Misconceptions About the Causes of Fibroids
We understand that there can be a lot of confusion surrounding uterine fibroids. In fact, it seems like misconceptions about fibroids are almost as widespread as fibroids themselves: this common health condition affects 70 to 80% of women by age 50.
Uterine fibroids are a type of noncancerous growth that commonly develops in the walls of the uterus. Although not generally considered dangerous, fibroids can put pressure on surrounding organs, impact fertility, and cause painful symptoms like heavy periods, severe menstrual cramps, frequent urination, or low energy levels. As a result of these symptoms, some women with fibroids cannot go to work, socialize, or perform daily tasks. Fibroid treatment is usually recommended when symptoms become debilitating and start to negatively affect your daily routine.
If you have uterine fibroids or are at risk for developing them, you may have some questions about what causes them. We encourage you to visit a fibroid specialist to get all of your individual questions answered.
No matter what caused your fibroids to develop in the first place, we want you to understand that there’s no need to suffer any longer. At USA Fibroid Centers, we offer office-based, non-surgical treatment that can alleviate your symptoms and quickly get you back to living life at its fullest.
What Causes Fibroids?
While the causes of uterine fibroids are not entirely understood, it is widely believed that a range of factors contribute to their development. These include:
- Genetic Changes: Genetic sequencing has indicated key differences between uterine fibroid and normal uterine muscle cells. Additional research has suggested that more than 70% of fibroids possess a single stem cell mutation of the gene MED12.
- Hormones: Certain hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, likely play a major role in fibroid development. We know that fibroids have more estrogen and progesterone receptors than normal uterine tissue. Also, fibroids tend to grow during times when hormone production increases, such as during a woman’s childbearing years. Inversely, fibroids often shrink after childbirth or menopause.
- Other Fibroid Growth Factors: An important growth factor known as Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF) has been shown to stimulate the growth of many types of cells, including those of fibroids. IGF occurs naturally in the body.
- Extracellular Matrix (ECM): Uterine fibroids have also been linked to an increased production of Extracellular Matrix, which gives fibroids their fibrous consistency.
- Lifestyle Influences: Although more research is needed, many experts believe that lifestyle choices influence fibroid growth. Risk factors include frequently eating red meat, not getting enough fruits or vegetables, regularly drinking alcohol or caffeine, and not drinking enough water. Additionally, a high Body Weight Index (BMI), high blood pressure, Vitamin D deficiency, and early menstruation may be contributing factors.
Are Fibroids Genetic/Hereditary?
When it comes to fibroid development, there appears to be a strong genetic component. In other words, if you have a close family member with fibroids, you are more likely to develop them. In this case, it is advised that you discuss your family history with your doctor so they can monitor your situation closely.
We also want you to be aware that women of African-American descent are disproportionately affected by fibroids. Not only are black women 80-90% more likely to develop uterine fibroids than other women, they are also more likely to experience more symptoms overall, and at a higher level of severity.
Are Fibroids Contagious?
No, uterine fibroids are not contagious. Uterine fibroids are benign growths that develop over time and cannot be transferred from person to person.
Are Fibroids Sexually Transmitted?
Uterine fibroids are not sexually transmitted. However, fibroid symptoms like heavy bleeding, frequent urination, and pain during sex may affect your overall libido.
Can Abortion Cause Fibroids?
Abortion does not cause uterine fibroids. However, abortion can be more complicated when large fibroids are present.
What’s The Relationship Between Hair Relaxers And Fibroids?
A debate exists about whether women who frequently use chemical hair relaxers have a higher chance of developing fibroids. Hair relaxers can cause scalp burns or lesions, which some believe allow chemicals to enter the body and contribute to fibroid growth.
Millions of women of African-American descent use or have used hair relaxers. This population is also two to three times more likely than white women to develop fibroids. Bottom line: Additional studies are needed to determine whether there is a causal relationship between the two.
Does Collagen Cause Fibroids To Grow?
Uterine fibroids have a high content of collagen, so it’s no surprise that some women with fibroids wonder if collagen supplements can cause fibroids to grow. The answer is no: consuming collagen as a supplement or dietary additive does not affect fibroid growth.
Does Eating Soil Cause Fibroids?
Eating soil does not cause fibroids. However, the urge to eat soil, clay, or ice can be a sign of anemia, a common fibroid symptom. Anemia is a condition when your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen from the lungs to different parts of the body. Anemia can also cause weakness and fatigue.
Can a Copper IUD Cause Fibroids?
A copper IUD, also known as ParaGuard, is a type of non-hormonal birth control. Because it is 100% hormone-free, a copper IUD should not impact fibroid growth. It is important to note that unlike hormonal birth control, copper IUDs do not alleviate fibroid symptoms like heavy bleeding and cramping. Instead, they often can have the opposite effect.
How Do You Treat and Get Rid of Fibroids?
Although many causes of fibroids are possibly beyond your control, you can take control of what happens next. Many women believe that their only treatment choice is a hysterectomy, or the complete surgical removal of the uterus. Fortunately, this isn’t true. Specialized fibroid treatment offers both surgical and non-surgical options.
At USA Fibroid Centers, we offer a state-of-the-art, nonsurgical fibroid treatment called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). UFE takes less than an hour and can shrink your fibroids, alleviate painful fibroid symptoms, and leave your uterus fully intact.
Some key benefits of Uterine Fibroid Embolization include:
- Involves less risk than fibroid surgery
- Does not require a hospital stay
- Is performed by highly-trained fibroid specialists
- Does not require general anesthesia
- Has a short recovery period of only one to two weeks
- Leaves the uterus intact
- Provides quick relief of fibroid symptoms
To discover whether you are a good candidate for UFE, simply schedule an appointment online today. You can choose to visit one of our leading experts at any of our nationwide centers or via our convenient telemedicine platform. Either way, we look forward to meeting you and helping you take back control of your life. To get started, call 855.615.2555 today!