A new study is making waves in the hair community for linking relaxers to uterine fibroid tumors. Check out the video and let us know your thoughts!

Hair Today, Tumors Tomorrow?: MyFoxHOUSTON.com



Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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78 Comments on "Relaxers Linked to Uterine Fibroid Tumors?"

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. Writing a five-paragraph essay just isn’t as difficult because it sounds, especially if you use power writing.

Although there are numerous factors (poor diet, environmental toxins, etc.) that can contribute to the development of uterine fibroids, one must admit that just reading the ingredients listed on the relaxer box is enough to convince any rational thinking woman that the chemicals could eventually adversely affect one’s body. However, for the sake of style or tradition, we continue to use the “creamy crack”. Sadly, if there is a link between relaxers and uterine fibroids (which I believe, since many of the chemical in relaxers are known hormone disrupters) I doubt the manufacturers will change the formula for the safety… Read more »
How black women can avoid fibroids
How black women can avoid fibroids
How black women can avoid fibroids and Ovary Cyst 1. Do not go to a University Hospital where they do Research. You dont want to be a guinea pig. 2. Find a gynecologist with a good bedside manner that shows respects towards you and does not seem to see as a black patient or treat you as such. 3. Be serious with your doctor but try to make a relationship were they take you serious and bond with you. 4. Eat organic as much as possible. Avoid cheese at all cost. And if you must only eat dairy on occasions… Read more »

Why is it whenever the topic of hair relaxers come up, it’s always linked to having “low self-esteem”? Why not, because it’s just the way we want to present ourselves. We should have beauty options, like any other race does, without also looking down on our “natural” assets. I relax my hair, but I also don’t think there’s anything “wrong” with my hair, i just choose to straighten it..

I agree. WE ARE THE ONLY RACE FIGHTING AND HARRASSING other Black women about hair. Everyone should have a choice on how they choose to wear their hair. Albeit it appears that the natural hair women attack the relaxed/weave hair women more than anyone. I’ve worn my hair both ways and I interchange. With this summer being so warm and I wanted a chic look for weddings and other occasions, I gave myself a relaxer this summer. I even throw in weave (THE CURSE WORD) on occasion when I want to. I have the highest esteem and never let them… Read more »
Thank you all for this article. I relax yearly, and have started going longer and longer in between relaxing. I believe I’ve made up my mind to stop. I think that we should focus on the African American womans overall health. NOT just relaxers. We need to focus on working out, eating properly, getting our checkups and taking care of ourselves. I have three beautiful daughters, and they always say “mommy, I like your hair, because it’s long.” So, when I take their hair down, I always stretch it out and tell them that their hair is just as long,… Read more »

[…] very popular natural hair blog, Black Girl With Long Hair introduced the story Relaxers Linked to Uterine Fibroid Tumors? on Monday, February 20, 2012.  This post links directly back to Houston FOX […]


[…] very popular natural hair blog, Black Girl With Long Hair introduced the story Relaxers Linked to Uterine Fibroid Tumors? On Monday, February 20, 2012.  This post links directly back to Houston FOX News […]


[…] very popular natural hair blog, Black Girl With Long Hair introduced the story Relaxers Linked to Uterine Fibroid Tumors? On Monday, February 20, 2012.  This post links directly back to Houston FOX News […]


[…] very popular natural hair blog, Black Girl With Long Hair introduced the storyRelaxers Linked to Uterine Fibroid Tumors? On Monday, February 20, 2012.  This post links directly back to Houston FOX News […]

Wow, This is very telling. I used to relax and came down with fibroids. Still dealing with them but I have gone natural and won’t turn back. My hair looks and feels very healthy and has a natural radiance. I think black women should go back to just blowdrying and flat ironing their natural hair. Leave chemicals alone. I don’t like bushy afro or kinky looking styles but that’s a personal opinion. What works for me for everyday is letting my hair airdry in a loose bun. I put serum on it while it’s wet and pomade to smooth it… Read more »

I’m so glad that I decided to go natural! Not only did I let go of perms but my mother, sister, and niece did as well. I’m super happy you guys post this because I missed it when it came on and now I can try a new place here in Houston to get my hair done.

Speaking as a professional stylist … I have worked with several of my clients in getting them off of relaxers for reasons other than showing them how to work with their natural hair was best for other reason. As far as using “chemicals”on our hair and the whole slavery thing .. Well one doesn’t neccessarily have anything to do with the other. The clients I spoke with are not happy with the at home maintenance it takes to do their hair and in being active in sports and the gym they do not have the time to press out natural… Read more »

i guess that’s what you tell your clients huh?

don’t worry about the relaxer. worry about the bpa in the bottle and the processed food.

black women have some of the worst overall health. they should consider all potential sources of toxins and rid their lives of them as much as possible.

Personally, although this is negative health news for us black women, at the same time, this is a great opportunity for us to do some analysis of the beauty rituals we have adopted in our lives thru our parents who didn’t know any better. We are saying to the world that we hate the way God has made us and we want to look like another race (no wonder the world disrespects Blks and downgrades blk women like it does) – we give them reason to. Then, to throw pie in God’s face, we blk (christian) women proclaim that we… Read more »

To AlkebulanQueen: Just because some Black women choose to relax their hair does not meane want to look like another race. Also, we are not “throwing pie in God’s face”. God made you naked, but do you walk around naked now? If not, are you saying you are ashamed of the body God graced you with? Stop speaking negatively about the choices others make, just because you don’t agree with it. We are all accountable for our own choices!

Jamila Matina

What a shame! And it’s crazy that having relaxed hair is concidered the norm.

Jamila Matina

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Notwithstanding all the debate about the “validity” of the study, I am happy that people are at least looking into it. It was recognised as early as 1999 that scientific research into this issue was sorely lacking. I appreciate the right to choose but exposing what is known to be a risky and at times painful process does not undermine that right, what it will do is encourage the producers of traditional chemical relaxers to develop safer methods which are affordable. If we do not require change and expose the possible dangers of the chemical relaxer (and burning and scalp… Read more »
Ann Noire

Actually there are studies that proves this. When I posted this same topic on my Youtube account, the information came from the January 2012 – Journal of Epidimiology. The study ranged from 1997-2007.

The frequent use of relaxers, which causes scalp burns and sensitivities, makes it easier for hormone disrupting products (shampoos, conditioners, etc) to enter your system and results in fibroids and all kinds of health issues.

The Natural Haven

I believe the news report is talking about the same paper. I linked it above.

The scientists do not say that there is ‘proof’. Proof is a very strong word in science. I will quote their conclusion

These findings raise the hypothesis that hair relaxer use increases uterine leiomyomata risk

They are saying that their findings could be used to test the theory that hair relaxer use increases fibroid risk. They are not saying that hair relaxer use increases or causes fibroids.

Ann Noire

Oops..typo. I meant Journal of Epedimiology.


It’s epidemiology…lol

@ Katrina-I agree with the person who said seek out a repo endicrinologist-they have more training than just a regular gyno. I am African American and I have been natural most of my life. I had extremely large fibroids that had to be removed via a myomectomy. The first doctor I sought out told me nothing was wrong and that it was in my head. I could barely even stand up because of the pain and never ending bleeding. Two weeks later I sought out a different dr who diagnosed me with fibroids and immediately removed them. Spare urself any… Read more »
I need more research. I’m not saying that relaxers aren’t linked to fibroids but one study does not a definite conclusion make. Either way, I am glad for many reasons that I no longer relax. I will say this though, because I live with fibroids I’ve done a lot of reading and I remember coming across articles that attempted to link the placenta that is used in a lot of AA hair products with fibroids. The theory was that the excess hormones in the placenta (animal or plant) affected the growth of the fibroids. So I asked my naturopath, someone… Read more »
Black folks and their conspiracy theories: I don’t think it is a big conspiracy. They said linked. Just like there is a link between diabetes and obesity. That doesn’t mean that is the only way to get diabetes and it also doesn’t mean it is a 100% guarantee you will get diabetes if you are obese. It just means there is a link or a higher risk! As black people we really need to stop going straight for the conspiracy theories defense. Everyone is not against us and everyone in science is not a liar with an agenda. This is… Read more »

Thank you!!!!

hi! I own http://www.besthairrelaxer.com to teach and educate young girls and would like to share my sister’s story. She was eleven when she got her very first relaxer. That was also the age when she got her first period. But little more than a year before either of these landmarks she was having her first traumatic ‘lady problems’ episode. She had spent two days bending over, clutching her right side, and crying in pain. It was when she starting vomiting that my mother took her to the pediatrician. she tried her best to stretch out on the table as dr… Read more »

I’ve always wondered about this. Don’t be surprise if there is a link between relaxers and LUPUS.


My mothe had a surgery to remove her fibroids and ultimately her ovaries. When i was younger, she had beautiful long relxed hair. This truly makes me believe that the creamy crack might have been to blame. Im glad ive never been relaxed. Thanks to my mothers love.

fluffy in flight

It’s so strange, i was just watching a video on a natural remedy for uterine fibroids and then when I opened this up, and its on fibroids.


Hmmm don’t know what to think I went natural 3 years ago but I have had 2 surgeries to remove uterine fibroids and I just recently found out that their are more in my cervix. Its good that their is research being done since it affects so many woman but I feel like this article is like one of those everything leads to cancer type things.

CRAP!!!!! I actually do not have a relaxer at the present time. I get one relaxer a year, but I do not believe this report. If so, my friends who are over age 60 should have all sorts of health problems by now. That is not the case. African American women have been known to have fibroids for some time. Also, the report was biased. They interviewed a natural hair extremist to justify the claim. Where are the scientist who did the study? Where are the results of the study? Relaxers may not be for everyone as the stylist with… Read more »

Wow! You’re on a natural hair website calling natural hair ‘Miss kizzy hair’.
I suppose I should stop being shocked by the self hatred of some of the black women out there.

It’s not really your fault, someone drip fed you all of this hatred until it poisoned the reflection you see in the mirror.

Just know this; that ‘miss kizzy hair’ you so dispise now, is actually the CROWN that god put on your head.


You are right on “trac about Charl’s response. We murder and disrespect our hair every 6 to 8 weeks and wonder why we’re going bald early in life?

My Natural Reality
not so sure about this…to me its kinda like linking plastic usage or smoking with cancer. Yes, its probably the cause of the cancer for SOME but for others it’s genetic. It was going to happen regardless how well you took care of your body. Many women with these tumors never had a relaxer, so what’s the explanation for that? White women have been straightening and getting perms for years as well..where is the research on their chemical usage? While I’m all for everyone being more healthy and conscious about what’s done to our bodies, I don’t often jump on… Read more »
Hi My Natural Reality and all, Let me declare, I have natural hair and I’m also an epidemiologist from the Boston area. I used relaxers for about 2 years when I was in my teens. I just searched for the study. http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/01/10/aje.kwr351.abstract I haven’t read the whole thing yet but I read the abstract. You can read the study yourself and draw your own conclusions. In my estimation the researchers who did the study are good scientists/epidemiologists. The findings from this study are basic preliminary findings. As far as I know this is the first study to make this link… Read more »
The Natural Haven
I think the study is valid and the conclusions are fine. I do however think that in all honesty, fibroids are pretty common in women of African origin. In my family, my grandmother and my mother had them. They never needed operations, they both had plenty of kids (7 for my gran, 3 for my mama – none of them had relaxed hair or hair dye ever). If you take statistics seriously about 40% of Caucasian women get fibroids. Black women are 1.5 to 2 times as likely to get fibroids which gives you a figure of about 55%-80%. Yes… Read more »
Ann Noire

In a local study, latino children (Mexican-Americans) in the Texas had a higher amount of body fat, but black children’s weight were based off of muscle and bone. Shouldn’t there be a higher number of latinos with fibroids if body fat relates to this?

And I live in a “fat” city, shouldn’t their be a higher number in our population of all races?

To me, it’s however you’re exposed to hormone disruptive products, and many “black marketed products” have ingredients that will give an environmentalists a heart attack.

The Natural Haven
Zoopath, I just googled the paper title that was in the video, I found the paper here http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/01/10/aje.kwr351.abstract LBell – The scientists did say they have a hypothesis and you are correct a hypothesis is not a fact, it is a theory that needs to be eyplored further. Trisha – Let me be clear about what I mean about body fat. I mean actual internal body fat. There is no way you can compare the oil used to moisturise hair or skin to consumption of food which turns to excess fat (i.e taking a soak in a tub of coconut… Read more »

Thank you for answering my question, Jc. This story is making the runs across the online natural hair community and people are getting worked up for no good reason. A HYPOTHESIS IS NOT A FACT.


You’re correct. Body fat is a round about problem. The circle goes like this… Black young women, choose whatever decade you like, have always used fatty oils to control the drier hair and skin, whether it was animal fat or synthetic based (petroleum ie, vaseline). These molecules are absorbed into our blood stream via the scalp and skin and produce a higher content of fat molecules than our counterparts. This in turn causes hormone production earlier in OUR young women than other races. The earlier you start your menses the more likely your chances of Ovarian, Uterus, or Breast cancer.… Read more »
The study being cited says that they had made a HYPOTHESIS connecting fibroids to relaxer use. Now based on my understanding of that word, it’s a bit of a leap from hypothesis to fact, isn’t it? I’m asking the scientist in the room… 😉 I’m referring to this article in which they actually say that relaxers cause fibroids: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/dpp/news/local/120217-study-causes-hair-scare-about-tumors I agree that obesity is a known risk factor for fibroids. I’m convinced mine came back eight years after my myomectomy because I put on a lot of weight in a fairly short time. I don’t think we can say yet… Read more »

I can’t find the original article on pubmed, where did you find it?

I dislike when they publish this kind of study and do not release the results for those of us who can interpret them to see. I don’t argue that Lye relaxer can have long-term effect on the body’s physiology but who’s to say that the person who wrote this article is not a natural? I am a natural myself and have been for 4yrs now and i don’t believe in this kind of propaganda. This could also just be a scare tactic to orient more black women into going natural as I believe that with the big natural movement out… Read more »
Pubmed.gov and search for the article if you want the article! I don’t think it is a big conspiracy. They said linked. Just like there is a link between diabetes and obesity. That doesn’t mean that is the only way to get diabetes and it also doesn’t mean it is a 100% guarantee you will get diabetes if you are obese. It just means there is a link or a higher risk! As black people we really need to stop going straight for the conspiracy theories. Everyone is not against of and everyone in science is not a liar with… Read more »

Thank you Shug, it amazes me at how defensive some are getting, you’d think their relatives were being criticized. SMH

You’re the only one talking about conspiracy theories, everyone else is just questioning it. Personally, I think it is healthy not to just believe everything you hear and want to research it to get the facts straight. It is known fact that the media tends to miss-report things. They don’t do it intentionally (most don’t do it intentionally), it is something that just happens. Relaxers contain lye and putting lye on the body isn’t healthy either way you spin it, with or without this report. Also, as a nutritionist, there is more than just link between type 2 diabetes and… Read more »

OMG, I was thinking the same thing. How many times have we heard “research” that black women have a slow hair growth rate when the articles are missing. I’m not a fan of relaxers, but connecting it to fibroids is just a little suspect for me. I need to at least be directed towards more information about it. Also, can I point out that many white woman get perms. Why don’t we hear health risks about that.

Also, I wasn’t jealous of anyone’s hair (except for the natural hairstylist) and those women had some unhealthy hair.


Exactly MG! People are so quick to badmouth relaxers that we dont take the time to think logically about the information being presented to us. Something like this should never be published without the appropriate sources and results being published as well. We are very intelligent. Give us the opportunity to make this decision for ourselves instead of trying to instill fear in us!


They aren’t “badmouthing” relaxers. I believe this article

Relaxers are full of carcinogenic chemicals and harmful ingredients. They aren’t making up stuff to badmouth relaxers and this isn’t propaganda. Stop denying the truth.




“embracing the TREND of natural hair”….I wanna tear her face off.


@Monzi, I feel you 😉

Dianne M. Daniels
Agreed – natural hair is not a “trend” – it’s a LIFESTYLE for those who choose it. I will NEVER go back to the creamy crack. RE – fibroids…both my mother and sister suffered with them. Both my mother and sister relaxed their hair…coincidence? I’m not ready to write it off as coincidence, especially since I also had fibroids and I had been relaxing since age 13 (swim class in 9th grade). Now it’s been three years since I had a relaxer and in thinking about it, my formerly heavy periods have gotten lighter as the years have passed. With… Read more »



OMG! I had a relaxer for most of my young adult life (13-18yo)…I found out a last year I have a uterine fibroid and ovarian cysts. I just had surgery to remove the cyst. I’ve been natural since 2007/08 until now. I’m 22 now and trying to change my eating habits so it won’t grow back or bigger….


lets be real… perms and relaxers were created almost 100 years ago and Black women began to use them because they were told that they were not beautiful. it is not hard for me to believe that perms and relaxers will have this type of effect on a person. it has taken so long for these results to surface because no one has done the research… but it makes sense that this would happen after all the chemicals found in a relaxer can also be found in drain cleaner.

Ann Noire

Slaves used their own form of relaxers with lye and lard.


I don’t know about this. I have always read that women of color are predisposed to having fibroid tumors. My mom has had one perm in her life but had a fibroid related hysterectomy before that. I have fibroids but was never a consistent relaxer. Still I don’t think using such potent chemicals is good for you either.

Ann Noire

Hormone disruptive products are not only in shampoos, conditioners, but household and many other products. So, exposure in any way can lead to problems. But, many hair products (shampoos, conditioners) have hormone disruptive ingredients, and scalp burns makes it easier for this to get in your system. There is a link, and this is one of them. There’s no way a child can get a chemical process relaxers, curls, and not have it affect their body in the long-term. I’m not saying this as a natural, but as a budding environmentalist.


i agree.

i don’t think people consider how many chemicals that are in their lives – makeup, household products, chemicals used to manufacture their clothing and other products, food, and it goes on. haven’t even mentioned environmental pollutants in the air.

on top of all of this, having a poor diet (again with processed foods and drink) and not exercising all raise your risk for fibroids.

luckily, i’ve not had a fibroid.

@Samantha, I totally agree. I think this being on a natural site, a lot of woman are going to use this as a point to tell other women not to relax. But when Natural Haven said that henna is a cell mutagen, people jumped on the article fast. I always take a second look when I see something on the news, there’s a lot of information that is missing and only tells part of a story. Like many women have said, black women are generally at higher risk for fibroids. My aunt had a hysterectomy due to her fibroids and… Read more »

I so agree, I think the cause of uterine fibroids is most likely multifactorial. This study shows a link betweein fibroids and hair relaxers but correlation is not causation. I believe I have more examples of women with fibroids who have had few to no relaxers in their lifetime (me included). I am glad that people are looking at this issue though, hopefully more investigations will be done. There is usually little attention paid to health related problems in the african american community.

@Moglet, you right correlation is not causation. The study states they found a link. Just like diabetes is not directly caused by being fat, you have genetic dispositions as well. So, not one should be hung up on you “will” because that is not what the word link means. They are just stating there is a risk of getting fibroids is you have a relaxer compared to not having one. There is also a link in having fibroids with a Vitamin D deficiency. Which also make sense since so many African-American’s are lactose intolerate and therefore don’t look anywhere else… Read more »

@Katrina, you’ve already answered your own concerns. If something doesn’t feel right, and the doctor doesn’t seem to be taking your concerns into SERIOUS consideration, then change doctors…and keep changing and searching until you get the answers that satisfy you. Also be careful of searching for “what you want to hear”, but DO keep searching.




I went to my doc.office for a visit to get check for fibroid but did’nt examine me for it…wasn’t interest in what was going wrong with me…my right side had a big knot on it…have pains off & on…a year and a half ago my doctor had x-rays @ mri office and my doctor told my to take a laxative…it clean my out but still was hurting on my right side…my big knot was still there…think it was a misdiagnosis…something is not right…what do you think?


ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS get a second or even third opinion.

i’ve never felt a doctor i had ever really cared about me all that much. when dealing with doctors, it’s like dealing with everyone else: you have to look out for yourself. you can’t assume that because someone is a doctor, she/he is looking out for you and will do what’s best for you.


I once suffered with fibroids but after a uterine fibroid embolization and hysterosocpy I am happy to report that the pain and excessive bleeding are not a part of my life anymore. I STRONGLY suggest you get another physician, because if you are being ignored then you cannot be helped. This is your life and your health so you have to take control of the situation before your health deteriorates and you options become limited (require surgery or other kind of aggressive treatment).


You can always get a second opinion from a reproductive endocrinologist, not a regular gynecologist, if you think you may have a uterine fibroid. The most noticeable signs of uterine fibroids are heavy and painful periods. But if you’re having just a general pain, I would still suggest a second opinion. You’d be amazed at what doctors miss, but they’re only human.


Katrina- get a new doctor. I has fibroids. Horrible pain. So many things can contribute to their growth and if relaxers are one of those things, I’m sooooo glad I gave that habit up!


It’s good this information is finally surfacing. I found scientific reports like this in 1996 when I was doing the research for Nappily Ever After as a non-fiction book. Publishers passed on the book. Once I turned the book into fiction, I found a way to put the information about tumors in black women without being too scientific. I hope relaxers finally become FDA investigated.


I’ve heard women who straighten their make quite a point in saying that relaxing their hair is not a big deal, not connected to a slave mentality, that’s it’s “only hair.” Well, I say, if women continue to relax their hair, knowing the risk to their life and reproductive health, that the case for “it’s only hair” is instantly moot. Black women really need to ask themselves what’s so wrong with their natural hair that it’s worth risking their health for.




Oh my, this is disturbing. I’m glad I’m natural and glad more women are going natural.


Me too, I have been natural for 2 years already.


I’ve been natural for almost a year now. And I’m LOVING IT!!!