In the past, many women suffered from uterine fibroids without realizing there was something wrong because they thought their symptoms were a normal part of their monthly cycle. Now, fibroids are getting more and more attention as women open up about their experiences and healthcare professionals are learning about the causes as well as treatment options available.
An interesting statistic is approximately 80 percent of women develop uterine fibroids by age 50. This makes education about fibroids important because a large majority of women will get fibroids at some time in their lives. Although doctors do not know the exact cause of uterine fibroids, there are some factors that may increase your chance of developing fibroids.
What Are Fibroid Risk Factors?
Anyone is at risk of developing uterine fibroids, but here are the factors that increase your risk:
- Race: Black women have a much higher risk of developing fibroids than women of another race. By age 35, women of African descent have a 20 percent higher incidence of fibroids than other women of the same age. Black women also tend to develop larger or more than one fibroid at an earlier age and are more likely to develop symptoms that require treatment.
- Heredity: Having a family history of uterine fibroids also increases your risk. Someone whose mother has had fibroids, for example, has a risk about three times higher than a woman without a family history of fibroids.
- Age: Because fibroid growth is hormone-related, post-menopausal women rarely develop new fibroids. However, women who began menstruation at an earlier age are more likely to have fibroids.
- Weight: Being overweight increases your risk of uterine fibroids to two to three times greater than average.
- Hormones: Estrogen and progesterone hormones promote the growth of fibroids in women of childbearing age.
Am I at Risk for Uterine Fibroids?
If you have one or more risk factors, you may become worried about developing uterine fibroids. It’s important to keep in mind that a higher likelihood isn’t a guarantee. Watching for symptoms is the best way to evaluate your likelihood of having fibroids. If you notice symptoms such as periods lasting 10 days or more, bleeding between cycles, frequent urination, or severe pelvic pain, it is important to talk with your doctor.
At USA Fibroid Centers, we’re dedicated to helping people get the diagnosis and treatment they need to feel better. If you think you may have fibroids, take our symptom quiz and contact us to schedule a consultation.