Category: News

Why Black Women Get Fibroids

Black women get fibroids more than any other women on the planet. And, did you know that African American women have some of the worst fibroid experiences? These are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around your uterus.

Fibroids are composed of muscle tissue. You can develop one or many fibroids. They may be small or large. And, while some women don’t even know they have fibroids, others experience symptoms that significantly interfere with their lives. These include heavy periods, pelvic pain,  frequent urination and/or constipation, and pain during sex.

Why Do Black Women get Fibroids More Often?

We still don’t know why some women develop fibroids, while others don’t. But we do know that Black and African women develop fibroids three times more often than white women. That’s why our own Dr. Eric Hardee is spreading the word about why black women have an increased fibroid risk.

Sadly, the bad news doesn’t end there. Because, when they do develop, those fibroids are likely to be large and symptomatic.

Tanika Gray Valbrun, founder of The White Dress Project, is one of those women. She was 23 when she received a fibroid diagnosis, but she’d already had years of pain. Today, at 42, she continues to fight for fibroid awareness. She wants the world to take this health challenge seriously, pointing out that the WHO (World Health Organization) doesn’t even share fibroid information on its website.

This is a shocking discrepancy since the site offers extensive information on other conditions affecting women, including infertility.

Valbrun recently told CNN, “I just don’t understand it, like, if so many Black women have fibroids, why aren’t more people talking about it? Why aren’t there so many walks and campaigns like there are for other medical conditions?” she said.

Additional Challenges

Lack of awareness is a problem for many black women who get fibroids. But so is the period stigma that’s still prevalent in many African cultures.

That’s something Ghanain Nana Konamah is working to change. In 2019, she and friend Jessica Nabongo made a documentary to help women understand how fibroids can impact so many aspects of women’s lives. At the same time, she’s trying to eliminate period stigma so that women speak up about symptoms and get diagnosed.

Early diagnosis is crucial. And it’s equally important to understand your fibroid treatment options! Because, according to the most recent CDC data, 33 percent of Black women ages 48-50 had a hysterectomy. In contrast, only 3 percent of white women in that age group removed their uterus. And when it comes to younger women? The gaps are even more startling.  Among women ages 33-45, 12 percent of Black women had a hysterectomy. And white women? Only 4 percent in that age group chose this invasive surgery. That’s a major problem. We need to do better and help spread more fibroid knowledge, so all women know their fibroid treatment options.

Increased Risk and Delayed Treatment

Uterine-Fibroid-Treatment-for-African-American-Women in Houston We don’t know the exact scientific evidence reason why African American women are more likely to develop uterine fibroids. Still, there are a number of theories.

First, because African American girls are more likely to start their period at a younger age, one such theory is that fact makes them more susceptible to fibroid development later in life. It could also explain why black women develop fibroids at a younger age than women of other races. Daughters are also three times as likely to have fibroids if their mother experienced them, which just completes this vicious circle.

Recently, the Black Women’s Health Study offered another theory. One interesting new idea was that black women’s increased fibroid risk was linked to childhood trauma. Something that is devastating for us to learn.

And here’s the worse news. More African American women have fibroids, and severe fibroid symptoms, they don’t get help quickly. In fact, studies show that  African American women reported taking an average of four years to seek fibroid treatment

How to Treat Uterine Fibroids

Unfortunately, African American women are not only three times more likely to develop uterine fibroids but they are also more likely to have larger and more densely populated fibroid tumors, so the treatment options can be different. While African American women diagnosed with fibroids are twice as likely to have a hysterectomy as Caucasian women, it’s important that those diagnosed with uterine fibroids are given comprehensive treatment options.

  • Non-invasive: include watchful waiting if you don’t experience symptoms, hormone treatments that may treat some symptoms, or an ultrasound procedure.
  • Less invasive: include uterine fibroid embolization, or endometrial ablation, which removes the lining of the uterine.
  • Surgical: include a myomectomy in which the fibroids are surgically removed, or a hysterectomy where the entire uterus is removed. The more invasive a surgery, the more room there is for complications.

Talk to your gynecologist and our fibroid specialists about the symptoms you’re experiencing to help decide on your best approach to treatment.

Sources: CNN, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Black Women’s Health Imperatives, Black Women’s Health Study, CDC, Well + Good

Dr. Hardee Explains Black Women’s Risk of Fibroids On Black Enterprise

Black women have a 2.5 greater relative risk of developing fibroids compared to white women. In an article on the Black Enterprise, Houston Fibroids’ Dr. Eric Hardee explains why black women are more likely to have uterine fibroids and what they should know about treatment options.

screenshot of Dr. Hardee's feature in Black Enterprise

Read the full article to discover the factors that play into the likelihood of Black women developing uterine fibroids. 

Houston Fibroids Featured in August Issue of First For Women

Houston Fibroids was recently featured in the August issue of First For Women where Dr. Hardee’s patient, Yolanda Rhodes, speaks to how she was able to “get her life back” after having severe complications resulting from uterine fibroids. Check out this article which talks about Yolanda’s personal story, how a simple outpatient procedure healed her physical and emotional pain, and how other African American women can learn from her experience.

Dr. Eric Hardee of Houston Fibroids

 

 

Dr. Hardee on Differences in Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroids and Adenomyosis

Those who have been diagnosed with endometriosis or uterine fibroids may actually be suffering from adenomyosis. Learn more about this condition, and why it’s hard to diagnose, from our very own Dr. Eric Hardee on FOX 26 Houston:

Read the full article:

 

fox 26

 

If you have any further questions or if you would like to schedule an appointment with Houston Fibroids, please call (713) 575-3686 or request an appointment online today.

 

 

Dr Hardee and Kandi Discuss Her Experience with Uterine Fibroids Treatment

Please take a moment to listen to these patient stories from Kandi Eastman about her experience in finding the right treatment method for her uterine fibroids at our office in Houston, TX. Watch the videos and schedule your appointment today.

Patient Video 1: What To Do If Your OBGYN Says Hysterectomy Is Your Only Option For Fibroid Treatment

Listen to Kandi’s story about uterine fibroid treatment at our office in Houston, TX.

Patient Video 2: Fibroid Treatment Options

Listen to Dr. Hardee and Kandi discuss the various treatment options for fibroids at our office in Houston, TX.

Patient Video 3: Suffering from Fibroids?

Listen as Kandi shares her experience with treating uterine fibroids- and learns that a hysterectomy is not her only option.

To learn more about Kandi’s story or the treatment options we provide for uterine fibroids at our office in Houston, TX, call (713) 575-3686 to schedule your appointment today.

Dr. Hardee and Dr. Fox Featured in The Katy News Article on Uterine Fibroid Treatment

Houston Fibroids’ Dr. Eric Hardee and Dr. William Fox were featured in an article by The Katy News discussing uterine fibroids and the various treatment options they provide for this condition. According to these uterine fibroid specialists, ” A Hysterectomy isn’t the only option [for treating uterine fibroids]…there are other non-surgical treatment options.”

Read the full article.

 

 

If you have any further questions or if you would like to schedule an appointment with Houston Fibroids, please call (713) 575-3686 or request an appointment online today.

Dr. Eric Hardee Featured in The Hype Magazine Live Sessions on Fibroids

Dr. Hardee Shares His Insight in Hysterectomy Alternatives

Houston Fibroids’s Dr. Eric Hardee was featured with patient Yolanda Rhodes in The Hype Magazine Live Sessions discussing uterine fibroids and treatment alternatives to a hysterectomy.

In this podcast, you’ll hear about Houston nurse Yolanda Rhodes’ experience. After suffering a prolapsed uterus due to uterine fibroids and facing potential hysterectomy, Yolanda was directed by her OB/GYN to get a second opinion. Houston-based interventional radiologists Eric Hardee MD and William Fox MD—who pioneered a revolutionary outpatient treatment known as Trans-Radial Uterine Fibroid Embolization, or UFE— found that Yolanda was an excellent candidate for UFE and didn’t need a hysterectomy at all.

How UAE Can Stop Postpartum Bleeding and Save Fertility

After giving birth, some women hemorrhage and doctors need to stop the postpartum bleeding. And quickly, or the new mother could die. Often, doctors perform emergency hysterectomies, saving the mother’s lives but costing them future futility. Thankfully, now, a new study suggests a better alternative: UAE (Uterine Artery Embolization.)

What is UAE? Fibroids can impact your fetal development

UAE is also called UFE—uterine fibroid embolization—because we use this procedure to treat fibroids. During UAE, we use a slender, flexible tube (catheter) to inject small particles into your uterine arteries, stopping the flow of blood. If you have fibroids, this starves the tumors of their blood supply, and they shrink and die. But if you have postpartum bleeding, it can stop uterine hemorrhaging, and may prevent the need for hysterectomy (removal of the uterus.)

Can UAE Stop Postpartum Bleeding?

A new study from Emory University’s School of medicine suggests it can! Led by Dr. Janice Newsome, researchers learned that, right now, women with postpartum bleeding are 60% more likely to get a hysterectomy than UAE. And that’s a problem, because “UAE is safer and has an easier recovery than hysterectomy,” she said at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s virtual annual meeting.

She also noted that postpartum bleeding is common. Each year, about 100,000 women in this country develop this condition. And postpartum bleeding is still the leading cause of global maternal mortality.

Currently, most women are treated with a blood transfusion. But the second most common way to stop postpartum bleeding is to give women a hysterectomy.

UAE vs Hysterectomy After Delivery

Here are the stats according to Dr. Newsome’s team. For every 1000 women with postpartum bleeding, 116 received transfusions. About 20 of those women received hysterectomies, while only 13 women were treated with UAE.

While a hysterectomy can stop postpartum bleeding, it also comes with serious, permanent side effects—plus instant loss of fertility for these new moms. Plus, after hysterectomy, moms were twice as likely to face long hospital stays. (Not to mention hefty hospital bills!)

Even more worrying? Hispanic women in particular were more likely to receive a hysterectomy. As were women in rural communities. Or those who were Medicaid patients.

In response to these findings, Dr. Newsome suggested adding an interventional radiologist to the hospital maternal medicine team. She hopes that will help reduce the rate of hysterectomy for postpartum bleeding going forward.

Choosing UAE in Houston

While our team of interventional radiologists doesn’t offer postpartum care, we do offer UAE. And we’ve helped many women with fibroids avoid hysterectomy, while relieving their painful symptoms.

Are you looking for fibroid relief? And hoping to keep your uterus and avoid hysterectomy? We’re here today! Reach out to our team today and schedule a consultation. We can help you decide if you’re a good candidate for UFE!

SOURCES: Janice Newsome, MD, Emory University, Atlanta; Society of Interventional Radiology

 

WCW: When fibroids return, and Penguins join the fight!

You can treat non-cancerous uterine tumors, but often, these fibroids return. And that’s a big problem for many women, because fibroids are very common. In fact, about 80% of all women  develop one or more fibroids by the age of 50. While that statistic may seem surprising, here’s something you may find even more unexpected .Fibroids are a problem in the animal kingdom, too! And that’s why, this week, we’ve named Bette the African penguin as our Woman Crush of the Week!

When Fibroids Return for Animals

This week, we’re honoring Bette, an 18-inch African penguin living at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA. A few years back, she had to have surgery to remove a mass from her abdomen. At that time, doctors also removed several fibroid tumors from her uterus.

While any kind of uterine surgery can be complicated, the process is particularly trying on a penguin. The compact bird’s body is protected by thick feathers (her surgeons used a mustache clipper to get through and make an incision) and three separate layers of skin and blubber, each of which required its own stitches.

Thankfully, Bette recovered well from her surgery. Just days after the procedure, she was hopping around her recovery enclosure, ready to play with toys. Her full recovery took about 10 days, at which point Bette returned to her long time penguin mate, Sidney, and their babies, Sunshine and D.J.

Treating Fibroids in Houston

Unfortunately, human patients don’t bounce back from surgery as quickly as penguins. In fact, according to recent studies, women who treat their fibroids via hysterectomy will face long term health consequences, including an increased risk of obesity and heart disease!

But that’s not all. Even if you choose myomectomy, a surgery that, like Bette’s, removes individual tumors, the fibroids return after treatment quite frequently. Plus, you still have to face general anesthesia, as well as a hospital stay and an extended recovery. And, during that time, you will likely miss work and other regular activities.

So, that’s the bad news. But here’s the good news. Unlike penguins, humans with fibroids have access to non-surgical fibroid treatment options. Minimally invasive fibroid treatments like embolization make for quicker recovery times with less complications down the road. And, while some women’s fibroids return after UFE, the revision rates are the same or slightly better than with myomectomy. In other words, whether you have surgery or UFE, your risk of fibroid return is the same. Making the non-surgical option very attractive, as long as you’re a good candidate for UFE.

So, if you’re dealing with a fibroid diagnosis and want to explore minimally invasive treatment plans, reach out to Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee, your Houston area fibroid specialists! We’re here to help you avoid surgery when possible. In that way, even if your fibroids return, you won’t be faced with a second surgery and increased risk for complications.

Sources: European Radiology Journal

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