Uterine Fibroids During Menopause
Uterine Fibroids can range in size from a microscopic seed up to the size of a small basketball. Uterine Fibroids can affect women of any age, but the incidence of reported fibroids increases with age. It is estimated that they occur in more than 30% of women aged 40-60. The exact number is not known as many women may have fibroids but experience none, or only mild symptoms. Others have more severe symptoms that may require medical treatment.
What Happens To Fibroids During Menopause?
Researchers now understand that fibroid tumors are dependent upon estrogen levels in the body. The estrogen hormone is required to be present in order for fibroids to continue to grow and expand.
In many cases the fibroid tumors begin to shrink or disappear as a woman enters menopause. This is because the levels of estrogen in the body fall dramatically during menopause and therefore no longer stimulate the fibroid growth.
Risk Factors For Developing Uterine Fibroids
Scientists are still unsure of how and why fibroids grow. Researchers have identified the specific risk factors that increase the potential that a woman will experience fibroids in her later years. These include obseity, family history and hypertension. Fibroids are also more common among African American women – suggesting a genetic link.
Fibroid tumors are normally benign (non-cancerous), however women who develop fibroids during menopause, or after menopause, are at greater risk of developing fibroid tumors that are pre-cancerous.
Fibroids After Menopause
Some researchers now hold a theory that xenoestrogens, a molecule similar in structure to estrogen, found in meats, pesticides and plastics, have impacted the number of women who are suffering from fibroids. There has been an increase in the number of women who continue to have difficulty with fibroids after menopause – which may be linked to the increased amount of chemicals they ingest from milk, meat, dairy and pesticides long after menopause has come and gone.
Menopause and fibroids are typically mutually exclusive because of the dependence of fibroids on the presence of estrogen. Unfortunately, because of the amount of estrogen, or xenoestrogens, that are available in dairy products and environmental toxins, some women continue to experience tumors that do not reduce in size even after menopause.