fibroid and hormones

Hormones and Fibroids

The uterus is one of the first organs that manifests the effects of hormonal imbalance in your body in the form of uterine fibroids or an enlarged uterus. Uterine fibroids are the non-cancerous tumors that develop in the uterus.

So far, there is no known link between female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) and fibroids. But, there is some evidence that proves hormones and genetics play a large part in fibroid growth. These benign tumors do not develop until your body begins the production of estrogen. This occurs during the onset of menstruation. Hormonal imbalance during the reproductive years can trigger the development of fibroids and their growth as well.

The hormonal imbalance in your reproductive years is from higher estrogen levels in comparison to progesterone. This is estrogen dominance.[1] This condition can result in enlarged uterus that can cause pressure on the bladder and result in discomfort for the patient. Estrogen dominance can also result in the development and growth of fibroids in your uterus.[2]

Negative Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy and Birth Control Pills

Fibroids often shrink after menopause when your body stops producing as much estradiol, the hormone responsible for female characteristics and sexual functioning. This sex hormone is responsible for many womanly issues including the growth of uterine fibroids and female cancers.[3] Progesterone production decreases in women in their 30s and 40s and a woman is unlikely to develop fibroids after menopause. However, if you are taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, you may not experience fibroids shrinking after menopause. This is due to excess amount of stored estrogen in your body.[4]

What Research Tells About the Role of Estrogen and Progesterone?

Hormones and fibroids are more connected than many believe. A study by the Endocrine Society found that the women with higher levels of estrogen and testosterone were at increased risk of developing uterine fibroids. Although testosterone is a male hormone, women also produce a small amount of it. Another study by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism shows that women with high levels of these hormones were less likely to develop fibroids again, while those with low levels of these hormones were more likely to develop them again.[5]

Effect of Changing Hormonal Levels During Menstruation

Hormonal levels keep changing throughout the menstrual cycle of a woman. On the day one of your menstrual cycle, both estrogen and progesterone levels are low. At the time of ovulation, which is around 12 to 14 days, estrogen levels increase, causing the release of egg. If the egg is not fertilized, estrogen and progesterone levels decrease again and the menses begin on day 28. During the perimenopause period, hormonal level fluctuates when ovaries gradually begin to produce less estrogen and less estrogen is produced. Perimenopause is the menopause transition period that begins several years before menopause and usually starts in a woman in her 40s. During menopause, there is low progesterone level and comparatively high estrogen level.[6] These hormonal changes may have effect on the health of the uterus of a woman.

Hormone Therapy

Women with long term hormonal imbalance are at the higher risk of many complications including those related to fibroids and reproduction. Maintaining hormone harmony can help one in improving the associated symptoms.

Fibroids Have Receptors for Estrogen and Progesterone for Growth

As per a review published in the Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology, there are receptors for estrogen in your uterus that bind estrogen molecules to the tissue. The resulting cellular process may make the fibroids growth possible. These estrogen receptors have been found in the fibroids also, that’s the reason why fibroids have higher amounts of estrogen hormone than the nearby tissue. This explains the growth of fibroids with increased estrogen level during pregnancy. Uterine fibroids are also seen to have receptors for progesterone. That way, higher levels of both progesterone and estrogen contribute to the growth of uterine fibroids.[7]

Risk Group for Incident Fibroids

Women using sex hormones and progestin, smokers and those with high BMI have the high risks of developing recurring fibroids. Women with higher levels of bio-available circulating endogenous testosterone (T) and Estradiol (E2) were also found to be among the risk group of incident fibroids compared to those with low levels of these hormones.[8]

Home Remedies to Restore Hormonal Balance

Improving estrogen elimination through regular aerobic exercises, decreasing estrogen intake and consuming bioidentical progesterone to smooth out the estrogen dominance in the body can help in improving your overall hormonal balance. Nearly all women can benefit by taking plant-based hormones found in soy and flaxseed that are considered safer alternatives to synthetic hormones. Flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fats that help in reducing the inflammation and tumor growth. Herbs like black cohosh, dong quai and chasteberry can help in balancing estrogen level in your body.[9]

Examining Your Uterine Fibroids

Fibroids are often detected with a pelvic exam of uterus, ovaries and vagina, and can be felt by your doctor to be of the size of a peanut, golf ball, orange or even something larger. Many a time, an imaging test such as ultrasound or MRI will be done to confirm the diagnosis.

One may live with fibroids for years if they are not causing symptoms or do not have adverse health effects on you. However, at times, you may want to seek uterine fibroids treatment if the growth makes you look as if you were pregnant, or you may want to have fibroids pain treatment if the symptoms are severe, like heavy bleeding, cramping, frequent urination, problem in emptying bladder or backache.

Fibroids Pain Treatment

Progesterone therapy may relieve you of your pain and stop the fibroid growth temporarily. However, many women have complained of side effects of this therapy including insomnia, fatigue and weight gain. Therapy is a temporary solution before the proper uterine fibroid’s treatment is done by a specialist. Conventional medicine for fibroid pain treatment uses non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS such as Ibuprofen but these can only provide temporary relief as this uterine fibroid treatment ignores the underlying cause of hormonal imbalance that caused the problem in the first place.

Surgeries for Fibroids

In extreme cases, fibroids may need surgical removal by hysterectomy but it should be the last resort as the surgery will remove your uterus, cause the cessation of menstruation and make you incapable to get pregnant due to the lack of uterus. Myomectomy surgically removes fibroids and keeps your uterus, but it needs repairing. Another technique known as endometrial ablation destroys fibroids with the help of laser’s heat energy but in the process, it also causes destruction to the uterine lining.

Treating Uterine Fibroids with Non-Surgical Procedure

If you have many smaller fibroids, it may become difficult to remove all of them surgically. On the other hand, their smaller size makes it easier for the specialist doctors to treat them without surgery. In many cases, doctors remove the uterus citing the reason that it is too difficult to remove all the fibroids without irreversibly damaging the uterus. However, even if you are suggested surgical removal of fibroids, you can always consider the approaches that do not remove your uterus, or better still, look for the procedures that could keep your uterus intact and no surgery is performed on you for the purpose of your uterine fibroids treatment.

Outpatient UFE Procedure

Newer inventions in women’s health have made it possible for the women to benefit from a non-surgical procedure known as UFE. By exploring new approaches like UFE, even fibroids can be influenced and you can get rid of their symptoms. This outpatient procedure will leave your uterus and ovaries intact, so you can keep your hope of conceiving in future.

UFE – The Minimally Invasive Procedure with a Quick Recovery

Uterine fibroids embolization is an outpatient procedure for fibroids. This treatment allows you to recover quickly and go home the same day of the procedure. You will need someone to drive you home. You may experience some symptoms like nausea and vomiting for a couple of days. Most women are able to return to work after a week of the UFE procedure.

Getting Evaluation for Uterine Fibroids Treatment

If you are looking for fibroids pain treatment, we have a team of fibroid specialists who exclusively perform UFE. Contact us at 855.615.2555 and book your online appointment with our specialist today. Our fibroid experts will evaluate your situation to decide if you are the right candidate to receive UFE treatment. Our treatments are covered by most insurance plans including Medicare, give us a call to verify your coverage.