Researchers find increased dairy intake reduces risk of uterine fibroids in black women

Dec 04, 2009

Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) researchers at the Slone Epidemiology Center found that black women with high intake of dairy products have a reduced incidence of uterine leiomyomata (fibroids). This report, based on the Black Women's Health Study, appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors of the uterus and are two to three times more common among black women than white women. They are the primary indication for hysterectomy in the U.S. and account for $2.2 billion annually in health care costs.

National surveys show that consume fewer servings of dairy than white women and have lower intake of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. The causes of fibroids are poorly understood, but sex steroid hormones and growth factors are thought to play a role. The Slone researchers studied dairy products because of the possibility that they have antioxidant effects and may modify endogenous .

The study was based on data from the Black Women's Health Study. The 59,000 study participants, enrolled in 1995, completed biennial questionnaires on which they reported whether they were diagnosed with fibroids. Their diet was assessed at two points in time using a modified version of the National Cancer Institute's Block short-form food frequency questionnaire (FFQ).

Based on 5,871 incident cases of fibroids diagnosed after 10 years of follow-up, the study found that high dairy intake was inversely associated with fibroid risk after controlling for other risk factors. Fibroid incidence was reduced by 30% among women who had 4 or more dairy servings a day, relative to women who had less than 1 serving a day. Intakes of calcium, phosphorus, and calcium-to-phosphorus ratio (an indicator of calcium bioavailability) were also inversely associated with fibroid risk. Because dairy intake is lower among blacks than whites, such differences in intake may contribute to the racial discrepancy in rates of fibroids.

"Although the exact mechanisms are unclear, a protective effect of dairy consumption on risk is plausible, as calcium, a major component of dairy foods, may reduce cell proliferation," said lead author Lauren A. Wise, ScD, an associate professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health and a senior epidemiologist at the Slone Epidemiology Center at BUSM. "This is the first report showing an inverse association between dairy intake and fibroid risk. If confirmed, a modifiable risk factor for fibroids, a major source of gynecologic morbidity, will have been identified," added Wise.

Source: Boston University Medical Center

Explore further: Ebola has killed 61 in Guinea since January

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Focused ultrasound relieves fibroid symptoms in women

May 29, 2007

A noninvasive ultrasound procedure effectively shrinks uterine fibroids and significantly relieves fibroid-related symptoms in women, according to the results of a multicenter clinical trial reported in the June issue of ...

Recommended for you

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

1 hour ago

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

1 hour ago

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

13 hours ago

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

US orders farms to report pig virus infections

Apr 18, 2014

The U.S. government is starting a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of a virus that has killed millions of pigs since showing up in the country last year.

User comments : 0

More news stories

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...