If you have uterine fibroids, it’s natural to wonder if your daughter will develop them as well. In fact, one of the most common questions patients ask the team at Daniel S. Kushner, MD, is whether fibroids are hereditary.
Many factors go into whether women develop fibroids and their associated symptoms, and heredity is one of them. But it’s not all bad news, and Dr. Kushner and his team have years of experience helping women in White Plains and Queens, New York, manage the symptoms associated with uterine fibroids.
If you’re concerned about fibroids and whether you may have passed them on to your daughter, take a moment to learn more about these noncancerous tumors, their genetic link, and how our practice can help.
Understanding uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids are benign muscular tumors that develop in or near your uterus. They come in different sizes, ranging from as small as a seed to as large or larger than a grapefruit.
Around 35 million women in the United States develop fibroids, but not all of them develop problematic symptoms. For those who do, however, fibroids can cause pain or frustration, including fertility struggles.
The symptoms associated with fibroids depend on their size and location, but some of the more common signs include:
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Trouble emptying your bladder fully
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pressure or fullness in your lower abdomen
- Swelling in your abdomen
- Heavy menstrual bleeding, especially with clots
- Periods that last longer than a week
- Bleeding between periods
- Low back pain
- Increased menstrual cramping
Again, some women have no symptoms at all. If you or your daughter are struggling with any of the signs of uterine fibroids, talk to Dr. Kushner, as effective treatments exist.
Fibroids and family history
Researchers are still investigating what causes uterine fibroids to develop in some women. However, many studies reveal that when fibroids are present in a close family relative, especially a mother or sibling, it’s more likely for fibroids to develop in the patient.
This doesn’t mean that if you have fibroids, your daughter will absolutely develop them. While it seems genetics plays a role, other factors also determine a woman’s chances of having these noncancerous tumors. These include:
- Progesterone and estrogen levels
- Genetic mutations in uterine cells
- Having a high BMI
- Being African American
- Getting your period at a young age
- Having a vitamin D deficiency
Dietary habits are also linked to uterine fibroids. Things like not eating enough vegetables and fruits while having a diet high in red meat, not drinking sufficient water, and regular consumption of alcohol and caffeine seem to play a role in whether fibroids develop.
You can help your daughter by making her aware of uterine fibroids and encouraging her to track her periods and menstrual symptoms. Counsel her to talk with a provider who specializes in fibroids and women’s health if she notices any of the above symptoms.
Treating and managing uterine fibroids
In the past, hysterectomy was the only solution offered to women with fibroids. But thanks to advances in medical science, women have options when it comes to managing fibroid symptoms and treating tumors.
Dr. Kushner approaches uterine fibroid treatment from a patient-centric point of view. He takes into account personal preferences, medical history, the size and location of the fibroids, and symptoms to develop a personalized treatment plan, which may include:
- Watchful waiting
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Medications with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa)
- Prescription birth control
- Minimally invasive surgical procedures
- Uterine artery embolization
- Endometrial ablation
Do you have more questions about uterine fibroids affecting you or your daughter? Schedule an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Kushner at his New York office nearest you.