Exploring the Genetic Link: Fibroids and Family History


Fibroids are extremely common among reproductive-age women, with around two out of three women developing at least one fibroid during their lifetime1. Although the exact cause of fibroids remains unknown, it’s clear that genetics and family history definitely contribute to a woman’s likelihood of developing them.  

Researchers are still exploring why particular genes and multiple incidences of UF diagnoses in a family lead to a higher likelihood of fibroids. But while studies are ongoing, women should be aware of the impact of genetics on their individual fibroid risk. 

Genetic Factors in Fibroid Development 

Recent studies have found specific genetic factors and markers contributing to the development of fibroids. Researchers now recognize the role of certain genes, such as MED12 and HMGA2, identifying them as potential contributors to fibroid development.2 According to Spanish researchers, some 70% of fibroids are found to have MED12 mutations, while HMGA2 alterations were also commonplace in women with UF. 

An additional study by Finnish researchers at the University of Helsinki confirmed that MED12 mutations are directly linked to a higher prevalence of fibroids, emphasizing the need to consider genetic factors when assessing an individual’s risk.3 

Although research into genetic mutations and UF is still ongoing, it’s apparent that genes do play a pivotal role in determining a woman’s susceptibility to developing fibroids. 

Family History and Its Implications 

Your family tree may hold more information than you realize when it comes to fibroids. If your mother, sister, or aunt has experienced fibroids, you may be at an increased risk. Family history is a valuable indicator, and studies have consistently demonstrated a correlation between familial predisposition and the likelihood of developing fibroids.4 

One study concluded that a maternal history of fibroids5 may be the single biggest risk factor for fibroid development. Other research has found that family history of fibroids is linked to women developing multiple fibroids which are larger in size, compared to those who do not have family members with UF.6 

Genetic Research: Current State and Future Directions 

The current state of genetic research in fibroids showcases a growing understanding of the molecular mechanisms at play. Breakthroughs in identifying specific genetic mutations associated with fibroids have paved the way for targeted interventions and personalized treatment approaches. 

A recent study discovered that an individual’s genes may indicate to clinicians whether or not a myectomy (a surgery to remove fibroids) would be helpful in the long-term for treating the fibroids of that patient.7 As researchers delve deeper into this realm, the potential for more precise diagnostics and innovative treatments continues to expand. 

Practical Advice: Monitoring and Consultation 

If you have a family history of fibroids, it’s essential to take practical steps towards safeguarding your reproductive health. Schedule annual check-ups with a gynaecologist, and let your doctor know that you have a relative who was diagnosed with UF.  

Embrace proactive monitoring for symptoms and discuss anything unusual changes to your healthcare provider. Open communication with your doctor and knowledge of your own body can mean that you discover fibroids as early as possible, ensuring that you have the widest range of treatment paths available. 

Understanding the genetic link between fibroids and family history is a powerful tool for taking charge of your health and wellbeing. As research advances and our understanding of UF deepens, women can take charge of their reproductive health with confidence, armed with critical knowledge about important factors around fibroid risk. 



  1.  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/fibroids/
  2. Luis Javier Galindo, Tamara Hernández-Beeftink, Ana Salas, Yaiza Jung, Ricardo Reyes, Francisco Montes de Oca, Mariano Hernández, Teresa A Almeida, "HMGA2 and MED12 alterations frequently co-occur in uterine leiomyomas," Gynecologic Oncology 150, no. 3 (2018)
  3. Niko Välimäki, Heli Kuisma, Annukka Pasanen, Oskari Heikinheimo, Jari Sjöberg, Ralf Bützow, Nanna Sarvilinna, Hanna-Riikka Heinonen, Jaana Tolvanen, Simona Bramante, Tomas Tanskanen, Juha Auvinen, Outi Uimari, Amjad Alkodsi, Rainer Lehtonen, Eevi Kaasinen, Kimmo Palin, and Lauri A Aaltonen, "Genetic predisposition to uterine leiomyoma is determined by loci for genitourinary development and genome stability," eLife Sciences 7 (2018). DOI: 10.7554/eLife.37110
  4. Ian P.M. Tomlinson and Richard S. Houlston, "Germline mutations in FH predispose to dominantly inherited uterine fibroids, skin leiomyomata and papillary renal cell cancer," Nature Genetics 30 (2002)  
  5. B. Van Voorhis, P. Romitti, and M. Jones, "Family history as a risk factor for development of uterine fibroids—results of a pilot study," Fertility and Sterility 76, no. 3 (2001)
  6. S.O. Okolo, C.C. Gentry, C.W. Perrett, and A.B. Maclean, "Familial prevalence of uterine fibroids is associated with distinct clinical and molecular features," Human Reproduction 49, no. 5 (2005)
  7. S.O. Okolo, C.C. Gentry, C.W. Perrett, and A.B. Maclean, "Familial prevalence of uterine fibroids is associated with distinct clinical and molecular features," Human Reproduction 49, no. 5 (2005)