Health & Wellbeing
JM | Feb 27, 2023

Uterine fibroids: What are the risk factors?

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Uterine fibroid is a common medical condition that affects several women who are of childbearing age. According to the Cleveland Clinic, uterine fibroids otherwise known as leiomyomas are growths made up of the muscle and connective tissues from the wall of the uterus. This abnormal growth in the uterus is usually non-cancerous (benign) and relatively easy to treat.

Studies have shown that between 20 to 50 per cent of women of reproductive age have uterine fibroids and 77 per cent will develop fibroids during childbearing years. The National Library of Medicine concurs that in Jamaica, uterine fibroids are the most common reason for major surgery in hospital gynaecology wards.

While this is a common issue that affects several women today, not many women are aware of the risk factors that may lead to uterine fibroids.


Uterine fibroid is common among women between the ages of 30 to 60 years, however it can occur at any age group. Women who are of childbearing age are at a greater risk of developing fibroids compared to younger women.


Research has shown that black women are at a greater risk of developing uterine fibrosis compared to white women. The Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation revealed that nearly a quarter of Black women between 18 and 30 have fibroids compared to about 6 per cent of white women.

The institute also suggests that black women are also two to three times more likely to have recurring fibroids or suffer from complications compared to white women.

The argument that has been put forward by many health officials for fibroids being more prevalent among black women are genetic factors, lack of access to healthcare and diet.

Family history

One of the most common risk factors for uterine fibroids is family history. Studies suggest that women are at a greater risk of developing fibroids if a close female relative such as a mother or sister had the illness.

An article published by the National Library of Medicine outlined that women from families in which two first-degree relatives have fibroids have a two-fold increased risk of developing uterine fibroids.


There is also a link between reduced physical activity and fibroid development in women. Doctors generally recommended that patients who have fibroids participate in regular physical activity, to reduce the estrogen level in the body that the fibroids depend on for growth.

Fibroids can have several impacts on a woman’s body such as painful periods, bloating, constipation, lower back pain, anaemia and among others.


A diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits and Vitamin D is highly recommended for patients who have fibroids as opposed to a diet that is filled with fatty foods and red meat.

Reducing the intake of red meat such as beef, pork and mutton can reduce the risk of uterine fibroids. Red meat has high hormone levels such as estrogen, which will further increase the growth of fibroids in the body.

Women with fibroids should avoid high-processed meats, foods with high salt and sugar concentrations and dairy products.


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