Genetic Component of Uterine Fibroids

Genetic Component of Uterine Fibroids 645d54211864c.png

Genetic Component of Uterine Fibroids

For many women diagnosed with fibroids- especially those that struggle with large or painful fibroids, the cause of these growths is often one of the first questions that come to mind. In some cases, women will report that their mother also had fibroids, and wonder if there is a genetic component.

So is there? Are fibroids hereditary?

According to a study published in The American Journal of Human Genetics, the answer is yes. In the study, researchers analyzed the genetic data collected from over 7,000 women and detected genetic variants that are significantly associated with uterine fibroids. One of the genes they found encodes a protein called Fatty Acid Synthase, or FAS. Upon further analysis, researchers discovered that this FAS protein was three times higher in uterine fibroid samples when compared to normal uterine tissue. They found that an over-expression of the FAS protein can also be found in other types of tumors, and is believed to be an important protein for tumor cell survival.

So what does that all mean? If my mother has higher FAS levels, does that mean you will too? Maybe, but not necessarily.

The genetic component may mean that you are more susceptible to developing fibroids. In fact, if your mother had fibroids, evidence has shown that you are three times more likely to develop fibroids, than someone that doesn’t have them in their family.

Though the research on the genetic connection is sound, it doesn’t necessarily mean that mothers with fibroids always have daughters with fibroids. That is not the case. One reason is that hormone levels are just as relevant to fibroid development as genetics.

Researchers are continuing to study the causes of fibroid tumors, however, even with the discovery of a potential genetic component, little scientific evidence is available on how to prevent them. What we do know is that by making healthy lifestyle choices, such as maintaining a healthy weight and following a healthy diet- you may be able to decrease your fibroid risk, and lessen the severity of fibroid growth.

If you’d like to take a deeper look at the study referenced in this article, you can check it out at:

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