Uterine myoma is a benign tumor in the muscle tissue of the uterus. A recent meta-analysis, published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE, looks at the association between myoma and alcohol consumption in women. However, data is limited and more research is needed to draw a clear conclusion.
What is already known? Little is known about the risk factors of uterine myoma (a benign tumor in the muscle tissue of the uterus). Different risk factors have been associated with the risk of myoma, including age, ethnicity and lifestyle factors, but the exact role of these factors is unknown. There is consensus that uterine myoma is an estrogen-dependent condition.
What do these studies add? Previous observational studies are limited and show conflicting results. This is a first systematic review and meta-analysis looking at the association between alcohol consumption and the risk of uterine myoma. A causal relationship was not investigated and the underlying mechanism is unknown.
More research needed
The researchers identified 6 studies with in total almost half a million women and over 9,300 cases of myoma. Based on only two studies, current drinkers appear to have a slightly increased risk of having a myoma compared to abstainers. For women who ever drank alcohol the association was less clear1. More research is needed to clarify the association between alcohol and uterine myoma.
The underlying mechanism of the association between alcohol and myoma is unknown. However, researchers do agree that the female hormone estrogen plays an important role. Estrogen is a risk factor for uterine myoma. Because alcohol can influence the hormone levels, it is possible that alcohol interacts with the risk of myoma via estrogenlevels1,2.
Uterine myoma is a benign tumor in the muscle tissue of the uterus. Prevalence of myoma is about 4 to 21% among all women, increasing to about 40% in women above 40 years1,2.
Strengths of this study
• This is a first meta-analysis looking at the association between alcohol and myoma among women.
Limitations of this study
• Limited data on exact alcohol consumption available. Dose-response association not taken into account.
• Few studies were available and studies differed significantly in study design and myoma diagnosis.
• The group of women was very heterogeneous (both Western and non-Western).
1. Chiaffarino, Cipriani, S., Ricci, E., la Vecchia, C., Chiantera, V., Bulfoni, A., and Parazzini, F., Alcohol consumption and risk of uterine myoma: A systematic review and meta-analysis, PLoS ONE, 2017; 12(11).
2. Sparic R, Mirkovic L, Malvasi A, Tinelli A. Epidemiology of Uterine Myomas: A Review.