Uterine Fibroids Most Common Cause of Hysterectomy for African Women?

African-American women are three times more likely to develop uterine fibroids, research indicates. Sadly, according to a article, research into this condition is still wanting, because,

“One of the issues with fibroid research is that, because it’s built as a disease process that mostly affects black women, in the sphere of research there just aren’t that many people who will consider it an immediate problem they face every day like heart attack or stroke,” explained Dr. Janice M. Newsome, MD, Interventional Radiologist, Assistant Professor of Radiology at Emory University, and Director of Interventional Services at Emory University Hospital Midtown in Atlanta, Ga.

Most women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms. However, fibroids can cause a number of symptoms depending on their size, location within the uterus, and how close they are to adjacent pelvic organs. These are most commonly abnormal bleeding, pain and pressure. Source –

The HuffingtonPost article indicated that “when it comes to racial diversity, fibroid research has taken a backseat.” For a condition as serious as this should be very worrying to governments and researchers in Africa.

Women who do have symptoms of uterine fibroids often find fibroids hard to live with. Some have pain and heavy menstrual bleeding:

African American women are nearly three times more likely to develop uterine fibroids and suffer with severe symptoms like heavy menstrual bleeding, anemia, and pelvic pain. From interfering with daily activities to negatively affecting intimate relationships, fibroids have a much more dramatic impact on black women in comparison to women of other races.

Are uterine fibroids linked to hair relaxers?

“The truth is, we don’t know enough about why fibroids affect African American women,” Dr. Newsome clarified. “For example, is it scientifically sound to link the use of hair relaxers and fibroids in African American women or is it simply a correlation because African American women tend to use hair relaxers? Yes, the science shows that these women are affected disproportionately than all other women. But just because a black woman carries a certain amount of melanin in her skin doesn’t answer why it’s happening.”

There is this frightening claim that,

“Among African American women, having fibroids is almost considered the norm,” Dr. Newsome told Ask4UFE. “We develop fibroids at an earlier age and have more severe symptoms so it’s difficult to know what’s unacceptable when you’re a black girl who has a 10-day long period just like your mom, aunt, and cousins—then what’s really abnormal?”

Uterine fibroids are such a common problem among African-American women, but fibroids typically are not cancerous, although they are responsible for a large number of unnecessary hysterectomies (surgery to remove the uterus)

“It’s 2016 and as a black doctor myself who treats fibroids, I see a lot of women who come in and say their doctor told them they needed a hysterectomy and that it was their only choice,” Dr. Newsome said. “We, as the medical community, need to change this—especially since black women are more likely to experience complications after surgery.”

For African women, if you suspect that you may have uterine fibroids, here is some advice:

Educate yourself about fibroids, and do not accept surgery as the only option.