Self-Reported Daily Stress, Squelching of Anger and the Management of Daily Stress and the Prevalence of Uterine Leiomyomata: The Ultrasound Screening Study

Stress Health. 2011 Aug;27(3):e188-e194. doi: 10.1002/smi.1360. Epub 2010 Nov 17.


Self-reported daily stress, ways of managing stress and squelching anger were examined in association with uterine leiomyomata (aka fibroids). These stress factors were obtained from 560 Black and 375 White women enrolled in the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Uterine Fibroid Study. Race-specific prevalence differences (PD) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated. Black women with severe stress had a prevalence of fibroids that was 11% higher (95% CI: 0%, 21%) than those in the no or mild stress group (referent). White women with severe stress, compared to the referent, had a non-significantly (NS) higher prevalence of fibroids [PD = 7%; 95% CI: (-103, 213)]. For both groups, moderate daily stress was associated with a weak elevation (NS) in fibroid prevalence. Black women who reported squelching their anger had an elevated prevalence of fibroids (8%) compared to non-squelchers [95% CI: (-03, 153)] while there was no association for White women. Women with symptomatic fibroids had higher stress than those without, but exclusion of symptomatic women only slightly attenuated the associations. Consistent with a previous report, symptomatic fibroids may cause stress. However, further research is warranted to prospectively investigate a possible aetiologic role for stress in the development of fibroids.

Keywords: anger; coping; disparities; leiomyoma; stress.