Studies Show 80% of Black Women Will Develop Uterine Fibroids

Studies Show 80% of Black Women Will Develop Uterine Fibroids

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 70% to 80% of Black women will develop benign uterine fibroid tumors by their late 40s.

While all women are at risk for developing uterine fibroids, Black women are disproportionately affected. One study shows Black women are three times more likely to develop them than white women and are more likely to need surgical treatment.

With symptoms including heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and bulk symptoms related to the size or position of the fibroids, McLeod Health defines fibroids as “non-cancerous growths in the uterus” that maintains the most common pelvic tumor in women.” They are also a major indication for a hysterectomy.

Estimations have shown that 25% of African American women will suffer from fibroids by age 25.

Uterine fibroids
Young African-American woman feeling sad at home

“We also know that Black women tend to experience fibroids at a younger age and often more severely than their white counterparts,” McLeod OB/GYN Dr. Monica Ploetzke said, according to a blog.

Additionally, Black women are often underdiagnosed and under-treated regarding fibroids, and their fibroids tend to grow to larger sizes.

Dr. Eric Hardee, a co-founder of Houston Fibroids, specializes in a non-invasive procedure called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) to help Black women avoid a more strenuous recovery. He previously spoke with BLACK ENTERPRISE about the many factors that affect the likelihood of Black women developing uterine fibroids.

“Black women are more likely to have symptomatic fibroids. They are also more likely to have a greater number of fibroids and also have larger fibroids with more severe symptoms,” Dr. Hardee explained.

He added: “There is a genetic predisposition as well. A recent study found that a genetic marker associated with the development of fibroids was 2.5 times more common in Black women.”

Studies have found several other elements linked to the alarming disparity, including greater overall lifetime stress, elevated lifetime exposure to estrogen, diet, history of abuse, Vitamin D deficiency, and frequent use of hair relaxers. Though no cause has been identified, controlling the elements highlighted above is recommended if you can.