Black Women & High Prevalence of Fibroids

Uterine Fibroid Blog

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Black Women & High Prevalence of Fibroids

Research suggests that black women suffer fibroids in disproportionate numbers in comparison to their white counterparts.

Why are African American women more likely to be affected by fibroids?

Research has yet to understand why women are affected by fibroids, let alone black women. Since this information is not available, it is difficult to understand why black women are disproportionately affected by fibroids. However, there are a few speculations that research scientist have suggested to explain the high prevalence of fibroids in African-American women.

Studies in the last decade have confirmed the increased risk for African-Americans of both developing fibroids and suffering their effects. It’s clear that while they’re common in all women, in African-American women they appear earlier and are more severe. As a result, the need for surgery is three times what it is for Caucasian women, both for myomectomy and hysterectomy. African-American women also fare worse in in-vitro fertility treatments, and a couple of studies suggest it’s due to uterine fibroids.  Additionally, Uterine fibroids also raise the risk of premature births and of delivery by Cesarean section.

One reason that has been speculated as a cause for the increased prevalence is due to diet and obesity.  Some studies suggest that black women who are obese and who have high blood pressure are associated with a higher risk of fibroid presence.  Also, according to findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published online March 3, 2010, higher-carbohydrate diets can lead to higher insulin levels, which are in turn linked to levels of other hormones thought to encourage fibroid growth.

Another possible reason for the occurrence of fibroids may be due to genetics.  Research evidence has demonstrated that women with a family history of fibroids are twice more likely to develop fibroids than women with no family history.  Also, women whose close female relatives have fibroids are also more likely to develop symptoms. Although more research is necessary to confirm these speculations, there is a possibility that black women may have some genetic predisposition to inheriting fibroids.

Lastly, another thought of reasoning in regards to the prevalence of fibroids in black women is due to the tendency in African Americans to keloid.  Keloids are defined as abnormal scar tissue that forms and is caused by an over active tissue repair process following a skin injury or trauma to the skin.  African Americans tend to keloid at a higher rate than any other race.  Keloids have many similarities at the molecular level to fibroids and researchers speculate that keloids may cause growth of fibroids because fibroids are really a muscular sort of scar type of growth within the wall of the uterus. Both keloids and fibroids have been demonstrated in studies to have a genetic link to African Americans and the cause for both is still unknown.

Although there are many possible speculations as to occurrence of fibroids in women, and more specifically, black women, more research is needed to look further into the cause and development of fibroids.

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