WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- According to the National Institutes of Health, a study found that "women who had sufficient amounts of vitamin D were 32 percent less likely to develop fibroids than women with insufficient vitamin D." The results were released in a press release from the National Institutes of Health on Monday.
Fibroids, or uterine leiomyomata, are non-cancerous tumors of the uterus. They cause pain and bleeding in premenopausal women, and are the leading cause of hysterectomy in the United States, according to NIH.
The study's 1,036 participants were women between the ages of 35 and 49, living in the D.C. area from 1996 to 1999, say NIH officials.
Donna Baird, Ph.D., a researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and her collaborators at The George Washington University and the Medical University of South Carolina screened participants for fibroids using ultrasound, according to NIH. They used blood samples to measure the primary circulating form of vitamin D, also known as 25-hydroxy D. Those with more than 20 nanograms per milliliter of 25-hydroxy D were categorized as sufficient, say NIH officials.
Study participants answered a questionnaire on sun exposure. Participants who reported staying outside in the sun for more than an hour each day also had a decreased risk of fibroids, according to the study results. The estimated reduction was 40 percent, says NIH.
According to NIH, Baird says more studies are needed, and is conducting a study in Detroit to see if the findings from D.C. can be replicated.