Toya Wright recently opened up to People.com, telling the website about her fibroids. When she started experiencing heavy bleeding and cramping during her period, she saw her doctor. Her diagnosis put her in a group that includes 80 percent of all Black women. You might remember that Cynthia Bailey also had this same issue a few years ago. In fact, Black women are more likely than any other group of women in America to experience fibroids. Would you know if you had them? If you experience the symptoms below, see your gynecologist or midwife for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are noncancerous growths that can appear in the uterus. They can grow within the uterine wall, inside the uterus or on the outside of the uterus. Many women have no idea they exist until they have a pelvic exam or an ultrasound.
Who’s most at risk for fibroids?
Race: Black women are not only more likely to develop them, but they are also more likely to have them young, more likely to have large ones and more likely to have several fibroids.
Genetics: If your mother or sister have them, you’re more likely to pop up with them.
Experiences: Starting your period early, using hormonal birth control, being obese, being vitamin D deficient, eating lots of red meat, not eating enough vegetables or fruit and drinking alcohol all up your chances of developing fibroids.
What are the symptoms of fibroids?
– Heavy bleeding during periods.
– Periods that last more than seven days.
– Unexplained spotting between periods.
– Pain or pressure in the pelvis, abdomen, back or legs.
– Frequent urge to urinate.
– Difficulty fully emptying the bladder.
How can fibroids be treated?
Many fibroids cause no symptoms and may go away on their own.
Taking a Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonist, which prevents your body from producing estrogen and progesterone, which the fibroids feed on.
Getting an IUD that uses progestin to prevent pregnancy can reduce heavy bleeding, though it won’t impact the size of fibroids. Tranexamic acid also slows down heavy bleeding.
Uterine artery embolization cuts the blood supply to the fibroids, which makes them shrink and ultimately die.
Laparoscopic surgery involves using an electric current to destroy them.
MRI-guided ultrasound surgery uses sound waves to destroy the fibroids.
A hysterectomy requires removing the entire uterus to remove the fibroids.
(Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images)
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