Abuse during childhood linked to uterine fibroids in African-American women

January 24, 2013, Boston University Medical Center

According to a new study from the Slone Epidemiology Center (SEC) at Boston University, African-American women who reported sexual or physical abuse before age 11 had a greater risk of uterine fibroids in adulthood compared with women who had no such abuse history. The association was strongest for women who experienced sexual abuse.

The study, which is published online in the American Journal of , was led by Lauren A. Wise, ScD, senior epidemiologist at SEC and associate professor of epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health.

This study followed 9,910 premenopausal African-American women from the Black Women's . In 2005, participants provided information on lifetime experiences of physical and sexual abuse during childhood (up to age 11), adolescence (ages 12-18), and adulthood (19 and older). The incidence of fibroids was ascertained from 2005 through 2011.

The results indicate that the incidence of was increased by 16 percent among women who had been physically abused during childhood and by 34 percent among women who had been sexually abused during childhood. The risk of fibroids increased with increasing severity of child abuse. The results were weaker among women who reported high levels of coping, which is consistent with previous research showing that emotional support may buffer the of violence. There was also little indication that abuse during adolescence and adulthood increased the risk of fibroids.

"This is the second prospective study to show an association between and uterine fibroids diagnosed during adulthood," said Wise. She noted that mechanisms might involve the influence of psychosocial stress on the biosynthesis or metabolism of sex steroid hormones, which are thought to be involved in fibroid development and growth. In addition, is associated with sexually transmitted infections, which may also increase fibroid risk.

The lifetime risk of clinically-relevant uterine fibroids is 30 percent and they are a major contributor to gynecologic morbidity, including heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain and infertility. In the U.S., fibroids account for more than $9.4 billion in health care costs annually and black women are two to three times more likely to be affected by the condition.

"Given the high prevalence of fibroids in African-American women, the association is of public health importance," Wise added.

Explore further: Abuse during childhood linked to adult-onset asthma in African-American women

Related Stories

Abuse during childhood linked to adult-onset asthma in African-American women

December 7, 2012
According to a new study from the Slone Epidemiology Center (SEC) at Boston University, African-American women who reported suffering abuse before age 11 had a greater likelihood of adult-onset asthma compared to women whose ...

Genetic risk for uterine fibroids discovered

October 4, 2012
Uterine fibroids are the most common type of pelvic tumors in women and are the leading cause of hysterectomy in the United States. Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) are the first to discover a genetic risk ...

Researchers find abuse during childhood may contribute to obesity in adulthood

July 2, 2012
Investigators from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center report research findings that may shed light on influences on obesity during adulthood. Appearing in the journal ...

Recommended for you

Rise in preterm births linked to clinical intervention

January 18, 2018
Research at the University of Adelaide shows preterm births in South Australia have increased by 40 percent over 28 years and early intervention by medical professionals has resulted in the majority of the increase.

New report calls into question effectiveness of pregnancy anti-nausea drug

January 17, 2018
Previously unpublished information from the clinical trial that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration relied on to approve the most commonly prescribed medicine for nausea in pregnancy indicates the drug is not effective, ...

New study finds 'baby brain' is real, but the cause remains mysterious

January 15, 2018
So-called "baby brain" refers to increased forgetfulness, inattention, and mental "fogginess" reported by four out of five pregnant women. These changes in brain function during pregnancy have long been recognised in midwifery ...

Sleep quality improves with help of incontinence drug

January 12, 2018
A drug used to curtail episodes of urinary incontinence in women also improves quality of sleep, a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine reports.

Frozen embryos result in just as many live births in IVF

January 10, 2018
Freezing and subsequent transfer of embryos gives infertile couples just as much of a chance of having a child as using fresh embryos for in vitro fertilization (IVF), research from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Adelaide, ...

Study suggests air pollution breathed in the months before and after conception increases chance of birth defects

January 8, 2018
A team of researchers with the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospital has found evidence that indicates that pre-and post-pregnant women living in an area with air pollution are at an increased risk of ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.