I am an African American female in my late 30s. I have had fibroids as big as cantaloupes in the past. After I was operated on, the fibroids grew back. Are fibroids linked to products in the hair care industry? Fibroids and Relaxers, Pennsylvania
Dear Fibroids and Relaxers:
Yes many studies have linked hair relaxers to uterine fibroids, as well as early puberty in young girls. This maybe caused by chemical exposure through scalp lesions and burns resulting from relaxers.
Women who got their first menstrual period before the age of 10 might be more likely to have uterine fibroids, and early menstruation may result from hair products black women are using.
While so far, there is only an association rather than a cause and effect relationship between relaxers, fibroid tumors, and puberty, many experts have been quick to point out that the hair care industry isn’t regulated by the FDA, meaning that there's no definite way to fully know just how harmful standard Black hair care products really are.
Fibroids are tumors that grow in the uterus. They are benign, which means they are not cancerous, and are made up of muscle fibers. Fibroids can be as small as a pea and can grow as large as a melon. It is estimated that 20-50 percent of women have, or will have, fibroids at some time in in their lives. They are rare in women under the age of 20, most common in women in their 30s and 40s, and tend to shrink after the menopause.
Fibroid growth is largely attributed to the levels of estrogen and progesterone being produced in the body. Estrogen makes the tumors grow and the fibroids themselves contain more hormone receptors than normal uterine muscle.