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Understanding fibroids in Black women

Fibroid disparities and promoting proactive steps for prevention and management
Photo credit: / Prostock-studio

Fibroids, non-cancerous growths in the uterus, often develop after puberty and are most commonly diagnosed in women between the ages of 18 and 50. Research has indicated that by age 50, Black women are 10 percent more likely to have fibroids compared to white women. However, the reasons behind this disparity remain unclear due to limited studies and the underrepresentation of Black women in clinical research.

Factors influencing fibroid growth

While family history, environment, and age are known to affect fibroid growth, the specific genetic factors remain underexplored. Dr. Yolanda Lawson, the 124th President of the National Medical Association, emphasizes the need for more inclusive research to understand these dynamics fully.

Linked factors and lifestyle influences

Several lifestyle factors have been associated with an increased risk of fibroids, including:

The use of hair relaxers and exposure to phthalates may disrupt hormone balance.

Stress and a history of abuse could contribute to fibroid development.

Obesity, high blood pressure, and vitamin D deficiency.

Consumption of alcohol, particularly beer, and caffeine intake in younger women.

Conversely, protective factors may include a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, fish consumption, and regular exercise. Pregnancy has also been shown to offer significant protection against fibroids.

Prevention and management

Dr. Lawson encourages women to take proactive steps to reduce fibroid risk by managing weight, ensuring adequate vitamin D intake, and maintaining an active lifestyle. Early medical intervention is crucial for those already diagnosed with fibroids. Treatment plans should be tailored to individual needs, considering fibroid location, size, symptoms, and reproductive goals.

With a call for more research into the occurrence of fibroids in Black women, the medical community continues to seek better understanding and treatment options. In the meantime, awareness and lifestyle adjustments remain key components in managing fibroid risk.

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