African American Women More Likely to Experience Fibroids

African American women more likely to experience fibroids

African American Women More Likely to Experience Fibroids

Many women will experience fibroids (benign tumors of the uterine wall) in their lifetime, but why do African American women have a heightened risk of developing fibroids?

It is estimated that nearly 70 to 80 percent of women develop fibroids by age 50, African American women are 80 to 90 percent more likely to develop uterine fibroids.

Astoundingly, both African and African American women have a risk three times greater for developing uterine fibroids than any other racial group in the United States.

African American women are more likely to:

  • Develop uterine fibroids
  • Be affected at an earlier age
  • Experience a delayed diagnosis
  • Develop a more significant number of fibroids
  • Have fibroids with higher growth rates
  • Hospitalized due to fibroids
  • Require blood transfusion because of heavy bleeding
  • Treat fibroids with surgical intervention
  • Have complications from fibroid surgery

In a study of medical records gathered by Johns Hopkins researchers, African American women with a common form of hair loss also have an increased chance of developing uterine fibroids.

What are Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are a noncancerous tumor that emerges in or around the uterus. Fibroids are classified by where they grow in the uterus and uterine lining. Uterine fibroids are not life-threatening, but they can cause painful symptoms and other complications if left untreated.

Types of Fibroids:

  • Intramural fibroids (pelvic region)
  • Submucosal fibroids (grow from the uterine wall into the uterine cavity)
  • Subserosal fibroids (grow from the uterine wall to the outside of the uterus)
  • Pedunculated fibroids (grow outwards from the uterus)

Why African American Women Experience Fibroids?

According to McLeod Health, research has linked a few elements to uterine fibroids in African American women, though no cause had been identified.

  • Genetics may raise this predisposition among African American women.
  • More significant lifetime stress may help trigger fibroids.
  • Environmental factors, such as diet or a history of abuse, may increase the risk.
  • Hair relaxers include hormonally active compounds and harsh chemicals.
    • More than 23,000 African American women found an increased risk of fibroids among those who had the most prolonged and most frequent use and most burns from hair relaxers.
  • Vitamin D deficiency may increase risk. Vitamin D is necessary in fighting the growth of uterine fibroids in all women. Various conditions of biology and socioeconomics combine to create a much higher risk to the African American childbearing female population of developing fibroids.

How Fibroids Affect Fertility?

One influencing factor is that fibroids can cause the uterus to change shape, which can decrease fertility. Fibroids can lead to infertility and sometimes may lead to miscarriage.

The physicians and surgeons at Fertility Specialists Medical Group often use minimally invasive surgical procedures to diagnose and treat various fertility-related conditions such as uterine polyps, fibroids, endometriosis, and others.

Connect with us if you want to learn more about options for treatment, including reproductive surgery.

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