Uterine fibroid tumors are growths on the inside and/or outside of a woman’s uterus. Though these fibroids are not cancerous, they can significantly harm a woman’s reproductive health – causing infertility and pregnancy complications. While the reason is uncertain, fibroids are diagnosed in black women more than three times as white women. Black women are four times more likely than white women to undergo a hysterectomy for the treatment of uterine fibroids. Although the cause of uterine fibroids are uncertain – estrogen and progesterone levels appear to be factors. Fibroids tend to be most problematic during a woman’s prime reproductive years – when hormones are at their highest levels.
Suspected Causes of Uterine Fibroid Tumors in Black Women
Fibroids are diagnosed as the cause of 2.4 percent of female infertility cases. Why fibroids are more prevalent among black women is uncertain.
- Stress is suspected to increase the risk among black women
- Some experts suspect that a lifelong exposure to racism – combined with limited access to quality medical care – may explain the disparity
- Chemicals – such as hair relaxers – used by millions of black women are also suspected
- Estrogen and progesterone levels appear to be factors
Fertility Care for Black Women
If you are a black woman, you must be proactive with your reproductive health so as to avoid an increased risk for future infertility due to uterine fibroids. Not only must black women visit their gynecologist annually, their annual checkups must go beyond a Pap smear to protect their future fertility health. Your gynecologist should conduct a feel-check of your pelvic organs – cervix, uterus, ovaries – to detect the presence of fibroids.
- Pelvic Exam – Checks internal reproductive organs for normality by feeling their shape and size
- Pap Test – Checks for cancer of the cervix
- Breast Exam – Checks for cancer visually and by feel
Don’t wait until you have signs and symptoms that something is wrong with your reproductive system before making an appointment.
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It is important to work with a fertility care team having the experience required to design a customized fertility treatment plan meeting your personal needs. To schedule your initial consultation with the fertility specialists at New Hope Fertility Center – click the icon below – or call 212.969.7422.