Fibroids development occurs when cells, genetically different from other uterine cells, multiply to create a mass. The mass can develop within the uterine wall, in the uterine cavity or on the outside wall of the uterus. In some cases the mass can grow on a stem extending the fibroid off the uterine wall. Some of the causes of fibroids are also associated with increased risk of developing fibroids.

Family History or Heredity
: One of the first discussions patients have with their doctor pertains to family history. A maternal family history (mother or sister) of fibroids may increase a woman’s risk of fibroid development.

: The majority of women diagnosed with fibroids are in child-bearing years. As women age to their 30s or 40s, the risk of fibroid development increases. After moving into menopause, risk of fibroid development decreases dramatically. If fibroids exist when a woman goes into menopause, the fibroids will shrink due to reduced levels of estrogen and progesterone.

Race or Ethnicity
: Women of African-American descent are more likely to develop fibroids than women of other ethnicities. Race also plays a part in age of fibroid development, fibroid size and number of fibroids that develop. African-American women tend to develop fibroids at a younger age with increased fibroid size and number. Alternatively, women of Asian descent are less likely to develop symptomatic fibroids.

Body Weight
: Obesity is a contributing factor to fibroid development with risk and weight being parallel. For instance, overweight women are at increased risk with very overweight women having a risk factor up to three times that of normal weight women.

: A diet high in red meat may increase risk of fibroids. Some reports also associate ham consumption with fibroid risk. Lower than suggested intake of fruits and/or green vegetables can also contribute to risk. Alcohol consumption, including consumption of beer, is another dietary contributing factor.

Early Onset of Menstrual Period
: Women with earlier menstruation onset are at increased risk of developing fibroids.

Changes in Hormone Levels: There is some evidence that changes in hormone levels associated with other medical conditions could increase risk of fibroids.

: With pregnancy comes an increase in estrogen and progesterone levels, which causes rapid growth of fibroids.

Fibroids can be a painful condition for some women; race, body weight, diet and pregnancy can all increase risk of fibroids or growth rate of existing fibroids. A simple ultrasound is enough to diagnose fibroids in most women.

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