Common Causes of Fibroids and Polyps
There is no definitive cause of uterine fibroids or uterine polyps. However, medical experts agree that fibroids need female hormones—estrogen and progesterone—in order to grow. It is believed that uterine polyps are estrogen-sensitive. That simply means that they react to hormones just the same way the lining of your uterus (endometrium) does, growing in response to circulating estrogen.
Fibroids tend to grow rapidly during pregnancy, when hormone levels are high. Conversely, when hormone levels are low or when your doctor prescribes an anti-hormone medication, they often shrink. And once you reach menopause, your fibroids tend to stop growing, shrink—or disappear altogether.
In addition to fluctuating estrogen levels, there are other factors that can increase your risk of developing uterine fibroids, including:1
- Age - Uterine fibroids become more common as you age, especially during your 30s and 40s and right up until menopause. After you go through menopause, fibroids usually shrink.
- Family history - Having a family member with fibroids increases your risk. If your mother had uterine fibroids, your risk is about three times higher than average.
- Ethnic origin – Approximately 80 percent of African American women, and 70 percent of Caucasian, Hispanic and Asian women, develop uterine fibroids by the time they are 50.
- Obesity - Women who are overweight are at higher risk for uterine fibroids. For very heavy women, the risk is two to three times greater than average.
- Eating habits - Eating a lot of red meat, like beef or hamburger, and ham is linked to increasing your risk of fibroids. Eating plenty of green vegetables seems to help protect women from developing fibroids.
Additionally, there are certain factors that may contribute to an increased risk for developing polyps. These include:2
- Are between the ages of 40 and 50
- Are overweight or obese
- Take tamoxifen, a drug therapy for breast cancer
- Have high blood pressure (hypertension)
1. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/uterine/conditioninfo/pages/people-affected.aspx 2. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic-uterine-polyps