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Untreated High Blood Pressure Linked to Uterine Fibroids

Posted by Triple Naturals I On Apr 18, 2024
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Blood pressure medication may reduce the risk of uterine fibroids, a new study suggests.

Regular blood pressure checkups in middle age may not just promote heart health. A new study suggests that it might also help reduce the risk of uterine fibroids, noncancerous vascular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus that can be painful to live with.

For the study, researchers examined data on 2,750 middle-aged women without any history of uterine fibroids. Researchers followed the participants for more than a decade, with health checkups roughly once a year that assessed blood pressure, any use of antihypertensive medications, and any development of new uterine fibroids.

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One in 5 participants developed uterine fibroids by the end of the study period. People who developed high blood pressure for the first time during follow-up were 45 percent more likely to develop fibroids, according to study results published in JAMA Network Open.

Similarly, people with untreated high blood pressure were 19 percent more likely to develop uterine fibroids than individuals without hypertension. But people who treated their high blood pressure with medication had a 20 percent lower risk of fibroids than people without hypertension.

Why It’s Important to Treat High Blood Pressure 

“Current clinical practice recommends that patients have their blood pressure checked at every clinical visit because controlling high blood pressure is necessary to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are life-threatening,” says the lead study author Susanna Mitro, PhD, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research in Northern California.

“Our findings suggest treating high blood pressure for those reasons may also reduce risk of fibroids,” Dr. Mitro says.

Whether people with high blood pressure take medication — and which drugs they use — may also impact their fibroid risk.


When researchers looked just at people who had blood pressure high enough to require medication, they found that individuals who took antihypertensive drugs were 37 percent less likely to develop fibroids than those who didn’t. People who used one specific type of blood pressure drug, medicines known as ACE inhibitors, had a 48 percent lower risk they'd develop fibroids.

“Our research adds to evidence that high blood pressure may increase the risk of fibroids, and suggests that treatment of high blood pressure, especially with ACE inhibitors, reduces the risk of fibroids,” Mitro says. “However, more research in a larger sample of participants is needed before these findings can be broadly translated into recommendations for patients.”

Uterine Fibroid Prevention

The study wasn’t designed to prove how high blood pressure might directly cause fibroids or how taking antihypertensive medications might prevent fibroids. But it’s possible that high blood pressure might cause inflammation and changes in blood vessels and uterine muscle cells that promote fibroid growth, says Bhuchitra Singh, MD, MPH, the director of clinical research in reproductive sciences and women’s health at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

“Treating hypertension could potentially reverse or stop these processes,” says Dr. Singh, who wasn’t involved in the new study.

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There’s no clear-cut way to easily prevent fibroids, but there are several heart-healthy lifestyle approaches that may also lower the risk of fibroids, says Elizabeth Stewart, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Mayo Clinic Alix College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, who wasn’t involved in the new study.

“Exercise, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in red meat, and weight control all appear to be linked to decreased risk of both hypertension and fibroids,” Dr. Stewart says.

What the new study suggests is that screening and treating high blood pressure may play a role in fibroid prevention, Stewart adds.

“Not only can you decrease risk of heart attack and stroke by controlling high blood pressure, but these data suggest you may be able to decrease the risk of uterine fibroids,” Stewart says. “Additionally, for women with uterine fibroids, screening for hypertension is even more important.”

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