Black Women And Fibroids
Fibroids are the most common growths in a woman’s reproductive system. Many women with fibroids have no symptoms at all, while others have symptoms ranging from heavy bleeding and pain to incontinence or infertility. These information pages explain what fibroids are, how they can affect your health and what your options are for treatment. For more information on heavy bleeding orhysterectomy, visit our pages on these topics.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are tumours that grow in the uterus (womb). They are benign, which
means they are not cancerous, and are made up of muscle fibers. Fibroids can be
as small as a pea and can grow as large as a melon. It is estimated that 20-50%
of women have, or will have, fibroids at some time in their lives. They are rare
in women under the age of 20, most common in women in their 30s and 40s, and
tend to shrink after the menopause.
Although the exact cause of fibroids is unknown, they seem to be influenced
by oestrogen. This would explain why they appear during a woman’s middle years
(when oestrogen levels are high) and stop growing after the menopause (when
oestrogen levels drop).
According to US studies, fibroids occur up to nine times more often in black
women than in white women, and tend to appear earlier. The reason for this is
unclear. Also women who weigh over 70kg may be more likely to have fibroids.
This is thought to be due to higher levels of oestrogen in heavier women.