PCOS and Uterine Fibroids: Is There A Connection?

The body is an interconnected organism wherein, sometimes, health issues are aligned akin to that of a row of dominoes: when one piece falls, so, too, might it bring down others with it. And when a woman is dealing with her personal reproductive health, it makes sense that more concerns and questions may arise than with other areas of the body.

And one such common question with regard to uterine fibroids has to do with polycystic ovarian syndrome: are they related and, if so, what is the chance that a woman will be susceptible to both?

What Is PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is one of the most common health concerns afflicting women today. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 in 10 women of childbearing age will develop PCOS.

Believed by physicians and scientists to be caused by an overabundance of androgens (a type of hormone) in the body, PCOS is the development of non-cancerous cysts in a woman’s ovaries and is commonly recognized by symptoms such as abdominal pain, weight gain, hair loss, and acne.

PCOS is also, in some cases, more likely to lead to fertility issues down the road.

What Are Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids develop on or around a woman’s uterus. They are also non-cancerous growths commonly found in women who are considered to be in their child-bearing years.

Uterine fibroids usually arise with such symptoms as abdominal or lower back pain, heavier menstrual periods, frequent urination, and more.

But while uterine fibroids can in some cases make pregnancy more challenging or painful, they are less likely to lead to greater issues of fertility overall.

So, Is There A Relationship?

To start, PCOS and uterine fibroids do have some similarities, primarily in the fact that both are reportedly caused by hormone levels and can be further dictated or predicted by certain genetic risk factors.

Other than that, researchers are still largely determining whether or not PCOS and uterine fibroids are related, though one prominent study indicates that they may be.

In 1995, researchers at Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center conducted a study known as “The Black Women’s Health Study” over a 6-year period. During that time, the researchers followed over 23,000 premenopausal African American women with no prior history of uterine fibroids. Every two years, the women were to mail back health questionnaires that helped the researchers track their health status.

And what did the study find? 3,631 new cases of uterine fibroids were reported, with the fibroids occurring at a rate of 65% higher in the women who had PCOS than those without.

Why? Well, it may have to do with the role that hormones play in both cases, though researchers are still not clear on the matter. Otherwise, such a correlation is otherwise unconfirmed and undergoing further study.

What To Do If You Experience Symptoms

At the end of the day, PCOS and uterine fibroids can, in some cases, exhibit similar symptoms. And if you’re not sure whether you may be living with one of these conditions, or if you have questions about your risk for developing one, be sure to contact Duval Fibroid Center for a comprehensive screening.

We are a specialized center, focusing on educating women on their options, with the ultimate goal of removing any number of the various types of uterine fibroids they may be living with. Be sure to visit our website or call us at (904) 423-6017 to schedule your appointment today!