By Seyi Lawal
According to a recent study released on the American Journal of Epidemiology website, hair relaxers used by millions of black women, could be exposing them to various chemicals through scalp lesions and burn which could increase the risk of uterine Leiomyomata.
Uterine Leiomyomata defined by the free online medical dictionary is a benign tumor composed of muscle tissue. Leiomyomas in the uterus are sometimes called fibroids.
In the Black Women’s Health Study, researchers measured hair relaxer use in relation to uterine leiomyomata incidence. In 1997, participants reported on hair relaxer 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 or surgery. The incidence rate ratio comparing ever with never use of relaxers was 1.17 (95% confidence interval. Positive trends were observed for frequency of use, duration of use, and number of burns. 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 (Ptrend = 0.002). Risk was unrelated to age at first use or type of formulation.
These findings raise the hypothesis that hair relaxer use.