Untreated hypertension is known to increase the risk of serious health conditions like heart attacks and strokes. Recent research has identified another risk linked to hypertension in women: an increased likelihood of developing uterine fibroids.

Women with untreated and new-onset hypertension have elevated risk of fibroids; the noncancerous tumors that form on the wall of the uterus. However, undergoing treatment for hypertension can help lower this risk, according to the latest study published in the Jama Network.

The findings were based on health data of 2,570 participants, between the ages of 42 and 52, who were part of the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation. The participants did not have a previous history of fibroids when they enrolled between 1996 and 1997. They were then followed up through 13 semi-annual follow-up visits held between 1998 and 2013.

During these visits, the participants' blood pressure and biomarkers, including cholesterol, triglycerides, and C-reactive protein, were recorded. They were also asked if they were taking any medications for hypertension.

In the study, 20% of the participants reported a diagnosis of fibroids. The researchers noted that participants with untreated high blood pressure had a 19% higher risk of developing fibroids compared to those without hypertension. At the same time, individuals with treated high blood pressure were at a 20% reduced risk of developing fibroids.

Among those with hypertension, participants who took treatment had a 37% reduced risk of fibroid diagnosis compared to those who did not seek treatment. Additionally, individuals who took ACE inhibitors had a 48% reduced risk of developing fibroids.

"Participants with untreated and new-onset hypertension had increased risk of newly diagnosed fibroids, whereas those taking antihypertensive treatment had lower risk, suggesting that blood pressure control may provide new strategies for fibroid prevention," the researchers wrote.

However, the study has certain limitations. One of these is that the researchers relied on self-reported fibroid diagnoses, which means that asymptomatic fibroids, which could make up more than half of all cases, might have been overlooked.

Researchers caution that further investigation is required to understand the mechanism and the association. "If the associations are causal, antihypertensive medication use where indicated may present an opportunity to prevent clinically apparent fibroid development at this high-risk life stage," they added.