A new US study has found a connection between a history of physical and sexual abuse and elevated risk of uterine fibroids in women.
Uterine leiomyomas, also known as fibroids or myomas, are benign, hormone-dependent tumors that are clinically symptomatic in significant number of reproductive age women.
Participants in the study included 68,505 premenopausal nurses and Sixty-five percent of these women reported physical or sexual abuse as a child or teen.
The researchers discovered 9,823 incident diagnoses of ultrasound- or hysterectomy confirmed uterine leiomyomas and risk for fibroids increased from eight to 36 percent among those with the mildest to most severe cumulative abuse in childhood.
"Our analyses showed that exposure to physical, sexual or emotional abuse in childhood and adolescence was associated with an increased risk for clinically symptomatic fibroid tumors in adulthood. The impact of early life adversity on fibroid risk persisted even among those with no future violence exposure in adulthood," said lead author Renee Boynton Jarrett.
In addition, the researchers found having a consistent emotionally supportive relationship in childhood was protective when included as a covariate in the multivariate model of cumulative violence predicting leiomyoma.
According to Boynton-Jarrett, early life exposure to violence may underpin biologic and behavioral patterns that affect fibroid risk in adulthood.
These findings appeared in the journal Epidemiology.