Washington: Women with a common form of hair loss are at an increased risk of developing uterine tumours, a study has found. For the research published in the journal JAMA Dermatology, scientists examined thousands of African-American women.

Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) predominantly affects black women and is the most common form of permanent alopecia in this population, the researchers said. The excess scar tissue that forms as a result of this type of hair loss may also explain the higher risk for uterine fibroids, which are characterised by fibrous growths in the lining of the womb. Crystal Aguh from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US said the scarring associated with CCCA is similar to the scarring associated with excess fibrous tissue elsewhere in the body, a situation that may explain why women with this type of hair loss are at a higher risk for fibroids.

During a four-year period from 2013 to 2017, the researchers analysed data of 487,104 black women. The prevalence of those with fibroids was compared in patients with and without CCCA. Overall, the researchers found that 13.9 per cent of women with CCCA also had a history of uterine fibroids compared to only 3.3 per cent of black women without the condition.

In absolute numbers, out of the 486,000 women who were reviewed, 16,212 had fibroids. Within that population, 447 had CCCA, of which 62 had fibroids. The findings translate to a five-fold increased risk of uterine fibroids in women with CCCA, compared to age, sex, and race matched controls. Women with this type of scarring alopecia should be screened not only for fibroids, but also for other disorders associated with excess fibrous tissue, Aguh said.