Hair Relaxers Might Be Causing You Fibroid Tumours: Why Processed Hair a.k.a Permed Hair Might be Responsible for causing Fibroid Tumours Especially in African Women.
According to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, it has been perceived that the reason majority of the African women are suffering from Uterine Fibroid otherwise known as uterine leiomyomata or uterine myoma, benign tumour and early puberty in young girls could be related to chemical exposure through scalp lesions and burns resulting from hair relaxers (straighteners) constituents.
Uterine fibroid uterine leiomyomata or uterine myoma, benign tumour that originates from the smooth muscle wall of the uterus, are responsive to estrogens and progesterone and may be single but usually occurs in clusters. Although benign, uterine leiomyomata are associated with significant gynecologic morbidity and are the leading indication for hysterectomy. They are most common in women of African descent and in women who have not given birth, they are most often identified in women between the ages of 30–45 years however, recently younger women between the ages of 20-30 have been diagnosed of fibroid tumours and there seem to be an epidemic rampaging the women folks.
At menopause, new tumours rarely originate while existing ones usually regress at that time but do not disappear.
The symptoms are quite variable and depend largely on the location and size of the tumour. Symptoms may include excessive menstrual bleeding and uterine pain, irregular mensuration, as well as a sensation of pressure in the uterus. Uterine fibroids may contribute to infertility by interfering with egg implantation or by compressing the opening of the fallopian tubes so that the sperm are prevented from reaching the egg.
The diagnosis of uterine fibroids is tentatively made by pelvic examination and is confirmed by ultrasound or a noninvasive surgical procedure called a hysteroscopy. Small asymptomatic fibroids need not be treated; the larger ones may be treated by hormone therapy. Occasionally, excision of fibroids that are protruding into the endometrial cavity is necessary. This may be done either by surgical removal of the tumours (myomectomy) or by total or partial removal of the uterus (hysterectomy).
In the report, an analysis of the constituents of hair relaxers were carried out and it was stated that the main ingredient of “lye” relaxers is sodium hydroxide; no-lye relaxers contain calcium hydroxide and guanidine carbonate, while “thio” relaxers contain thioglycolic acid salts. Hair relaxers may also contain hormonally active compounds, such as phthalates, which are usually found in “fragrances” or “perfume” (100% of popular fragrances tested in a 2002 study were found to contain phthalates). Cosmetic products are often not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration making it difficult to ascertain the ingredients.
The article suggests that Phthalates from cosmetic products can be absorbed by the skin through lesions from chemical burns or inhaled, and they have been shown to have estrogenic effects in cell models and experimental animals.
According to the study, women who got their first menstrual period before the age of 10 were also more likely to have uterine fibroids, and early menstruation may result from the use of these hair products in addition to the chemical content of processed foods we consume. This is reportedly at an earlier age than other racial groups including African Caribbean, Hispanic, and White women in New York City. The women’s first menstrual period (menarche) varied anywhere from age 8 to age 19, but African Americans, who were more likely to use straightening and relaxers hair oils, also reached menarche earlier than these racial/ethnic groups.
While so far, there is only an association rather than a cause and effect relationship between relaxers, menarche, and fibroid tumors, as Tamika Fletcher, co-owner of Natural Resources salon in Houston, pointed out in a Fox Report, the hair care industry isn’t regulated by the FDA so there’s no telling what black women are putting in their hair and how harmful those products may be.
These findings raise the hypothesis that “hair relaxer use increases uterine leiomyomata risk”.