Nav: Home

Elevated testosterone levels may raise risk of uterine fibroids

December 15, 2015

Washington, DC -- Women who have high levels of both testosterone and estrogen in midlife may face a greater risk of developing benign tumors on the uterus called uterine fibroids than women with low levels of the hormones, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Three out of four women develop uterine fibroids by age 50, said one of the study's authors, Jason Y.Y. Wong, Sc.D, of Stanford University School of Medicine. Women who are African American or are overweight face a greater risk of developing uterine fibroids. Fibroids can contribute to irregular bleeding, infertility, pelvic pain, recurrent pregnancy loss and other reproductive complications. The first-line treatment is undergoing a hysterectomy, and there are few other treatment options currently available.

Testosterone is one of a group of sex hormones called androgens. While testosterone is typically associated with men, women also naturally produce small amounts of the hormone.

"Our research suggests women undergoing the menopausal transition who have higher testosterone levels have an increased risk of developing fibroids, particularly if they also have higher estrogen levels," Wong said. "This study is the first longitudinal investigation of the relationship between androgen and estrogen levels and the development of uterine fibroids."

The 13-year longitudinal study examined hormone levels and the incidence of uterine fibroids in women participating in the Study of Women's Health around the Nation (SWAN). Among the 3,240 women enrolled at the beginning of the study, 43.6 percent completed the follow-up visits. During nearly annual visits, participants had their blood tested for estrogen and androgen levels. In addition, the women were asked whether they had been diagnosed with or treated for uterine fibroids.

Among the participants, 512 women reported having a single incidence of fibroids, and an additional 478 women had recurrent cases. Participants who had high levels of testosterone in the blood were 1.33 times more likely to develop a single incidence of fibroids than women who had low levels of testosterone. Women who had high levels of testosterone and estrogen faced an even greater risk. Although women with high levels of both hormones were more likely to report a single incidence of fibroids, they also were less likely to have a recurrence than women with low levels of the hormones.

"Our findings are particularly interesting because testosterone was previously unrecognized as a factor in the development of uterine fibroids," said another study author, Jennifer S. Lee, MD, PhD, of Stanford University School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, CA. "The research opens up new lines of inquiry regarding how fibroids develop and how they are treated. Given that managing uterine fibroids costs an estimated $34.4 billion in annual medical expenditures nationwide, it is important to identify new ways to better treat this common condition."
-end-
Other authors of the study include: Wesley O. Johnson of the University of California Davis School of Medicine in Davis, CA, and Ellen B. Gold of the University of California Irvine in Irvine, CA.

The National Institutes of Health's National Center for Research Resources, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and the National Institute of Aging supported the research.

The study, 'Circulating Sex Hormones and Risk of Uterine Fibroids: Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN),' will be published online at http://press.endocrine.org/doi/10.1210/jc.2015-2935, ahead of print.

For more information on fibroids and other causes of infertility in women, visit the Hormone Health Network.

The Endocrine Society

Related Testosterone Articles:

Testosterone makes men less likely to question their impulses
A new study shows that testosterone makes men less likely to realize when they're wrong.
Testosterone treatments may increase cardiac risks
A new JAMA study found a 20 percent increase in arterial plaque among men aged 65 and older who received testosterone replacement therapy for a year,
Benefits of testosterone therapy in older men are mixed
Older men with low testosterone levels showed improved bone density and strength, as well as reduced anemia, after one year of testosterone therapy, according to a new study conducted at Yale and other sites.
Testosterone therapy provides protection against cardiovascular disease in men with low testosterone
Despite the continued controversy surrounding the use of testosterone in men who have testosterone deficiency (hypogonadism), a new study has found that long-term use of testosterone therapy not only improves vigor and vitality, but may reduce the risk of death due to cardiovascular (CV) disease.
Enzyme that digests vitamin A also may regulate testosterone levels
Bco1, an enzyme that metabolizes beta carotene, may play a vital role in testosterone metabolism as well, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Illinois.
'Mean girl' meerkats can make twice as much testosterone as males
Testosterone. It's often lauded as the hormone that makes males bigger, bolder, stronger.
Experts take strong stance on testosterone deficiency and treatment
In an effort to address widespread concerns related to testosterone deficiency (TD) and its treatment with testosterone therapy, a group of international experts has developed a set of resolutions and conclusions to provide clarity for physicians and patients.
Scientists develop recipe for testosterone-producing cells
Researchers led by teams at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Wenzhou Medical University of China have discovered a way to keep adult stem cells that are destined to become testosterone-producing cells multiplying and on track to fulfill their fate, a new study reports.
Testosterone therapy decreases hospital readmissions in older men with low testosterone
A new large-scale population-based study from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston showed for the first time that older men using testosterone therapy were less likely to have complications that require them to go back to the hospital within a month of being discharged than men not using this therapy.
Researchers: Testosterone treatment effective for older men
As men age, their sexual function, vitality and strength can decline, but researchers had not yet established whether testosterone treatment is actually beneficial.

Related Testosterone Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Jumpstarting Creativity
Our greatest breakthroughs and triumphs have one thing in common: creativity. But how do you ignite it? And how do you rekindle it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on jumpstarting creativity. Guests include economist Tim Harford, producer Helen Marriage, artificial intelligence researcher Steve Engels, and behavioral scientist Marily Oppezzo.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".