We don’t know what causes uterine fibroids. Evidence suggests that multiple factors play a role in their growth.
Although exact causes are unknown, research evidence suggests that any or all of these factors might play a role in the growth of uterine fibroids:1
- Genetics (e.g., genetic mutations in the MED12, HMGA2, COL4A5/COL4A6, or FH genes)
- Estrogen and progesterone
- Growth hormones
- Micronutrients, such as iron, that the body needs only small amounts of in the blood.2 For instance, a deficiency of vitamin D may be associated with uterine fibroids.3
- Major stresses4,5
It is likely that fibroids are caused by many factors interacting with one another. Once we know the cause or causes of fibroids, our efforts to find a cure or even prevent fibroids could move ahead more quickly.
- Segars, J. H., Parrott, E. C., Nagel, J. D., Guo, X. C., Gao, X., Birnbaum, L. S., et al. (2014). Proceedings from the Third National Institutes of Health International Congress on Advances in Uterine Leiomyoma Research: Comprehensive review, conference summary and future recommendations. Human Reproduction Update, 20(3), 309â€“333. Retrieved June 29, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3999378/
- Martin, C. L., Huber, L. R., Thompson, M. E., & Racine, E. F. (2011). Serum micronutrient concentrations and risk of uterine fibroids. Journal of Women's Health, 20(6), 915â€“922. Retrieved June 13, 2017, from http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jwh.2009.1782
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2012). Vitamin D shrinks fibroid tumors in rats. Retrieved June 13, 2017, from http://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/releases/Pages/030112-vitaminD-fibroids.aspx
- Baird, D., & Wise, L. (2011). Childhood abuse and fibroids. Epidemiology, 22(1), 15â€“17. Retrieved June 13, 2017, from http://journals.lww.com/epidem/Citation/2011/01000/Childhood_Abuse_and_Fibroids.3.aspx
- Vines, A. I., Ta, M., & Esserman, D. A. (2010). The association between self-reported major life events and the presence of uterine fibroids. Women's Health Issues, 20(4), 294â€“298. Retrieved June 13, 2017, from http://www.whijournal.com/article/S1049-3867(10)00041-1/abstract