How Your Hair Treatment May Impact Your Uterine Fibroids

If you suffer from fibroids, you know they cause heavy and long lasting periods, pelvic pain, and frequent urination along with back and leg pain. Although we don’t know exactly what causes them or why black women seem to be especially vulnerable, there are some suspected links such as common hair products that you may be using.


Chemicals Are Not Your Friend

Chemicals may help to smooth the skin and straighten your hair, but they may also be very dangerous. If you stop and think about the cosmetic treatments you regularly indulge in, you might wonder if they could be causing health issues.

One proven link appears to be between hair relaxers and hair dyes, and uterine fibroids. Studies have shown a link as well between relaxers and breast cancer.

When we repeatedly use products like a hair relaxer or the toxic chemicals in perms, dyes, texturizers, and kiddie perms, these chemicals get absorbed into the scalp through any breaks in the skin or through our pores. This becomes an instant highway to our bloodstream.Pink background with a bowl of hair dye

How Do These Chemicals Affect Black Women?

The specific chemicals in hair straighteners and dyes that spread through the bloodstream are dangerous carcinogens or hormone disruptors, which ultimately affect a woman’s reproductive system and breasts.

Several studies have been performed to assess the connections between these products and the effects they have on a person’s health.

American Journal of Epidemiology

One of the earliest studies found that hair straighteners increased the risk for uterine fibroids. 23,000 premenopausal women were studied from 1997 –  2009. The results concluded that black women had a 2 to 3 times higher risk of uterine fibroids with 7000 women diagnosed.

Silent Spring Institute Study

Another study conducted on the subject was published in Environmental Research in 2018. This study measured the concentration of chemicals found in 18 hair products that interfered with hormones. Examples include hot oils, anti-frizz treatments, polishers, leave in conditioners, and hair relaxers.

The results are as follows:

  • 11 products contained 7 chemicals prohibited in the EU, (European Union) and California Proposition 65.
  • All products contained fragrance chemicals
  • 84% of the toxic chemicals were NOT listed on the product labels
  • 72% contained parabens and phthalates (an industrial chemical used in plastics)
  • Hair relaxers for children contained regulated or restricted chemicals

Your Hair or Your Health

Hair relaxers are not regulated by the FDA and this will continue to be a problem until it is changed. The above studies obviously show concerning results. So, what can you do?

  • Reduce the number of products you use
  • Look for products that say paraben or fragrance-free on the label
  • Buy products that are plant-based or have organic ingredients.
  • Use this tip sheet.

Contact Denver Fibroids if you have additional questions about hair treatments and fibroids. We are here to help!

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