NEW YORK: Women who have high levels of both testosterone and estrogen in midlife may face a greater risk of developing benign tumours on the uterus called uterine fibroids than women with low levels of the hormones, reveals a new study.
Three out of four women develop uterine fibroids by age 50, said study author Jason YY Wong from Stanford University School of Medicine in the US.
Fibroids can contribute to irregular bleeding, infertility, pelvic pain, recurrent pregnancy loss and other reproductive complications.
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.
The 13-year longitudinal study examined hormone levels and the incidence of uterine fibroids in 3,240 women participating in the Study of Women’s Health around the Nation (SWAN).
Participants with 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.
“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,” Mr Wong explained.
Women who had high levels of testosterone and estrogen faced an even greater risk, the findings showed.