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Monday, February 20, 2012

Hair Relaxer --> Uterine Fibroids??? (I know, I was shocked at the possibility too!)

Hi everyone,

It's one thing when you hear about somebody's cousin who got scalp burns from a "bad" relaxer. This sounds like an isolated incident where someone improperly used the relaxer. However, it's quite another situation when the American Journal of Epidemiology, a peer-reviewed journal published by Oxford Press, publishes an article describing a longitudinal study (participants were followed over time) in which evidence suggests that hair relaxer use increases the risk of uterine leiomyomata (i.e., uterine fibroids). WHATTTTTT???!!!!

Reputable medical resources (e.g., the Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/uterine-fibroids/DS00078/DSECTION=risk-factors and the Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/uterine-fibroids.cfm#f) indicate that Black women have an increased risk of uterine fibroids. WHAT IF HAIR RELAXERS HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH THIS INCREASED RISK?

Something to REALLY make us think if that fly, convenient and straight hairstyle is worth it. On top of that, we perm young girls' hair?! Wow, I think we need to investigate and do better!

Here's a link to the abstract (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22234483) and I've also copied it below. Please let me know what you think.


Hair relaxers are used by millions of black women, possibly exposing them to various chemicals through scalp lesions and burns. In the Black Women's Health Study, the authors assessed hair relaxer use in relation to uterine leiomyomata incidence. In 1997, participants reported on hairrelaxer use (age at first use, frequency, duration, number of burns, and type of formulation). From 1997 to 2009, 23,580 premenopausal women were followed for incident uterine leiomyomata. Multivariable Cox regression was used to estimate incidence rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals. During 199,991 person-years, 7,146 cases of uterine leiomyomata were reported as confirmed by ultrasound (n = 4,630) or surgery (n = 2,516). The incidence rate ratio comparing ever with never use of relaxers was 1.17 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.06, 1.30). Positive trends were observed for frequency of use (P(trend) < 0.001), duration of use (P(trend) = 0.015), and number of burns (P(trend) < 0.001). Among long-term users (≥10 years), the incidence rate ratios for frequency of use categories 3-4, 5-6, and ≥7 versus 1-2 times/year were 1.04 (95% CI: 0.92, 1.19), 1.12 (95% CI: 0.99, 1.27), and 1.15 (95% CI: 1.01, 1.31), respectively (P(trend) = 0.002). Risk was unrelated to age at first use or type of formulation. These findings raise the hypothesis that hair relaxer use increases uterine leiomyomata risk.

Image found at: http://www.google.com/url?source=imglanding&ct=img&q=http://cynthiaswilliams.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/relaxer.jpg&sa=X&ei=kuBCT6a8MMr20gG0nKzGBw&ved=0CAoQ8wc&usg=AFQjCNHEgnlrqOEKjbYi8dFYDipzh652PA


  1. Thanks for sharing

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  3. Tina i'm not sure if the study is complete... i am skeptical of research in general bc many of them have biases from the get-go. my questions are these: what was being controlled for in this research and were any other possible causes acknowledged and accounted for? I have had to do my share of research for school and any even remotely educated person knows that this hypothesis most likely is not the "be all and end all" aka the outright cause of fibroids. that being said, the article states that "Researchers fear that Black women are being exposed to chemicals that gain access into the body through lesions on the scalp by burn from even best hair relaxers." specifically what chemicals are being talked about and has it been proven that these chemicals correlate directly with fibroids after controlling for alternate explanations? this article also ***umes that every relaxer that is done results in burns/lesions, which isn't necessarily the case. how often were the relaxers done by those being studied and could that have an impact? i can already see the flaws and i haven't even read the study as yet. when these questions are answered and not blanketed in an article (such as this one) that seeks to deter women from doing what they want with the hair on their heads, and when (if at all) this hypothesis is proven, then i will reconsider bc my healthy def comes 1st and foremost. but until then, i will keep continue to do what i want with my hair and keep abreast of this "research."

  4. Hi Jamie, You raise some excellent points and I think that follow-up studies will address some of them. It's a start and I look forward to additional information. Thank you for your informed comments! Tina

  5. Fibroids within a woman's uterus aren't actually regarded as deadly, although, the uterine fibroid signs and symptoms e.g. pressure in internal organs, abnormal bleeding during menstruation etc. is often quite distressing. Even though menopausal processes usually shrink fibroids the natural way, there are actually a number of must try natural fibroid remedies designed for women who desire to be delivered from the frustrating symptoms caused by uterine fibroids.

    petadolex reviews

  6. Hi Kaney, Thanks so much for responding to this post.

  7. Great to read this post. Uterine fibroids develop in the uterus; they are firm, compact tumors that are made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that range from the size of a pea to the size of a grapefruit or larger. fibroids miracle book by amanda leto

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