Dairy Prevents Uterine Fibroids
Black women who consume four or more servings of dairy a day have a 30% reduced incident of uterine fibroids (Wise et al. 2010). Uterine fibroids are rubbery noncancerous growths of the uterus. They can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, heavy bleeding and infertility.
A large scale study of 22,120 premenopausal women (with 5,871 incidences of fibroids) showed that consuming both full fat and low fat dairy products protected against fibroids (Wise et al. 2010).
Wise et al. (2010) found that two components of dairy products; butyric acid, a fatty acid found in high fat dairy foods, and calcium-to-phosphate ratio; were also associated with a decreased risk for uterine fibroids.
Uterine fibroids, also called leiomyomas or myomas, are benign noncancerous tumors that grow in the uterus. These tumors can cause pelvic cramping, bleeding between periods, bladder infections and excess bleeding. They are the primary reason women have hysterectomies.
Uterine fibroids are 2-3 times more common in Black Americans than White Americans. In addition, young African American women, ages 29-39, report more complications from uterine fibroids than similar white women (Stewart et al. 2013). The same study found that 42% of women wait 4 or more years before seeking treatment.
Dairy intake is also lower in black women when compared to white women. This may be due to the higher incidence of lactose intolerance in black women.
This study showed that all dairy products, including whole milk and cheeses, decreased the risk of uterine fibroids. This suggests that lactose intolerant women could try a diet that is higher in low lactose dairy such as cheese. Click here for tips on adding dairy to your diet if you are lactose intolerant.
- Heavy and/or prolonged menstrual bleeding (7 or more days)
- Spotting or bleeding between periods
- Pelvic pressure or pelvic pain
- Frequent need to urinate
- Difficulty emptying your bladder or feeling you need to 'go' all the time
- Enlarged abdomen
- Backache or leg pains
- Consistent pain during intercourse
- Stewart EA, Nicholson WK, Bradley L, Borah BJ. The Burden of Uterine Fibroids for African-American Women: Results of a National Survey. Journal of Women's Health. 2013;22: 807-816. doi:10.1089/jwh.2013.4334.
- Wise LA, Radin RG, Palmer JR, Kumanyika SK, Rosenberg L. A prospective study of dairy intake and risk of uterine leiomyomata. Am J Epidemiol. Pubmed. 2010;171:221-32. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwp355.