Black Women with a Common Form of Alopecia May be at Increased Risk for Uterine Fibroids

In an issue of JAMA Dermatology, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine proposed a link between uterine fibroids and Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA), a common form of hair loss among women of African descent. The link was discovered after an analysis of the medical records of 487,104 Black women over the age of 18 during the four-year period between 2013 and 2017. The researchers compared the number of cases of women with fibroids who also had CCCA and those who did not. The results revealed that women with CCCA were five times more likely to develop fibroids than those without. As a result, the researchers in this study were encouraging physicians to warn their patients with CCCA that they could be at risk for fibroids and should be screened for the presence of fibroids.

The Skin of Color Society (SOCS), an organization dedicated to building awareness and education regarding dermatological health in People of Color, explains that CCCA  tends to start in the crown of the scalp and radiates out in a circular or centrifugal pattern. SOCS explains that permanent hair loss occurs when hair follicles are destroyed leading to scarring.

Uterine fibroids, according to the Mayo Clinic, “are non-cancerous growths of the uterus that often appear during childbearing years.”  They are also called leiomyomas. A physician may suspect fibroids if patients present with symptoms such as pelvic pain or pressure, heavy menstruation or periods lasting over a week, as well as frequent urination, constipation, or leg or and back pains.

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