The class of drugs known as statins may help prevent uterine fibroids and fibroid pain.
It is estimated that up to 70 percent of white women and 90 percent of black women will suffer from uterine fibroids by the time they are 50 years old.3
And, while not every woman with fibroids suffers from symptoms of fibroids, between 30 percent and 50 percent of women who develop uterine fibroids will seek a cure for their fibroid pain and discomfort. As a result, finding effective fibroid treatment is an important goal.
The Search for Non-Surgical Fibroid Treatments
In addition, finding a nonsurgical option for treating symptoms of fibroids is particularly essential. Surgery for uterine fibroids usually consists of a hysterectomy. About 200,000-400,000 women undergo this procedure every year in the U.S. for their fibroid pain.3,4 Removing the uterus completely might initially sound like a good idea. However, since the procedure removes a woman’s fertility and increases her risk of problems such as infections, bladder injury,5 and early onset of menopause,6 avoiding this treatment for large fibroids in the uterus can be beneficial to patients.
While minimally invasive treatment options, such as uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), are available, one study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology is pointing to the possibility of preventing fibroids through the use of medication.
Statins and Uterine Fibroids
In particular, taking statins has been associated with a reduction in uterine fibroid development and with a reduction in the severity of fibroid pain.
Statins are a commonly used set of drugs intended to lower cholesterol. Between 2011 and 2012, the number of adults who had used statins within the last 30 days was 27.9 percent, an increase of 8 percent over the rates a decade ago.1
Though statins are intended to prevent cardiovascular disease, researchers at the University of Texas recently examined the impact of statin on the development of uterine fibroids and the symptoms of fibroids. What they found may be a promising new step in the fight against large fibroids in the uterus.
Study Findings Regarding Statins and Fibroids
The researchers’ efforts focused on women who met three criteria. Each was:
- Participating in a specific insurance program.
- Between 18 and 65 years old.
- Diagnosed with hyperlipidemia (which is high levels of fat in the blood).
The women, who numbered more than 190,000, were broken into two groups: Those who had been diagnosed with uterine fibroids and those who had not. About a third were in the first group, and two thirds in the latter group.
When researchers examined the relationship between statin use and the development of fibroids in the uterus among these women, what they found was that those who had taken statins had a lower risk of developing uterine fibroids.2 In addition, those who did develop fibroids had fewer symptoms of fibroids (i.e. heavy bleeding, anemia, pelvic pain) than their statin-free counterparts and fewer of them required surgical treatment of large fibroids in the uterus.
This study was implemented based on other studies that indicate statins might be able to slow down the replication of fibroid cells and even contribute to the death of fibroid cells.2 The study does not settle any questions regarding how exactly statins work to reduce fibroid pain and development. Nor does it conclusively find that statins prevent uterine fibroids. However, what it does do is point researchers toward a promising new possibility that, with further research, might one day be able to provide relief to women looking to avoid or alleviate uterine fibroids.
Have Fibroids? Consult Viva Eve: The Fibroid Experts
The doctors at Viva Eve have years of experience in the treatment of both uterine fibroids and adenomyosis through Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE).
At VIVA EVE we are committed to providing high-quality, personalized care for each and every patient we see. We will partner with you to determine the best way to treat your problematic fibroids or adenomyosis.
Sources for the Fibroid Studies Cited in This Post
- Gu, Q., Paulose-Ram, R., Burt. V. L., et al. (2014). Prescription cholesterol-lowering medication use in adults aged 40 and over: United States, 2003–2012. NCHS data brief, no 177. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
- Borahay, M. A., Fang, X., Baillargeon, J. G., et al. (2016). Statin use and uterine fibroid risk in hyperlipidemia patients: a nested case-control study. Am J Obstet Gynecol, Dec; 215(6): 750.e1-750.e8.
- How many people are affected by or at risk of uterine fibroids? (n.d.). Retrieved from HTTPS://WWW.NICHD.NIH.GOV/HEALTH/TOPICS/UTERINE/CONDITIONINFO/PAGES/PEOPLE-AFFECTED.ASPX
- Soliman, A. M., Yang, H., Du, E. X., et al. (2015). The direct and indirect costs of uterine fibroid tumors: a systematic review of the literature between 2000 and 2013. Am J Obstet Gynecol, 213(2): 141-160.
- Clarke-Pearson, D. L., Geller, E. J. (2013). Complications of hysterectomy. Obstet Gynecol, Mar; 121(3): 654-673.
- Trabuco, E., Moorman, P., Algeciras-Schimnich, A., et al. (2016). Association of ovary-sparing hysterectomy with ovarian reserve. Obstet Gynecol, May; 127(5): 819-827.