#WCW: Black Women and Fibroids

As Houston fibroid specialists, we want to help women understand their fibroid risk. And we like to celebrate women who share their fibroid journeys. Like Augusta, Georgia News 12 anchor Monique Williams, who missed lots of air time because of fibroid pain. At first, Williams kept quiet about her struggle. Soon, however, she gave her viewers and explanation. In fact, she revealed her struggle with fibroids.

Now, some of what she scares is scary. Like Monique, eight out of every 10 black women develop uterine fibroid tumors. In Ms. William’s case, her fibroids got very large. This eliminated many of her treatment options. So Ms. Williams ultimately had a complete hysterectomy due to the solid, sheer mass of the tumors.

The TV anchor’s struggle left her entire news team wondering: why do African American women have such a high risk of developing fibroids?

Black Women and Fibroids

Black women are three times more likely to develop fibroids than women of any other race. And we don’t know why! What we do know is your fibroid risk is related to family history . Like Monique Williams, her mother also ended up getting a hysterectomy in order to put an end to her fibroid pain. In addition to a genetic predisposition, potential exposure to the chemicals in hair relaxing products and an earlier onset of menstruation may all increase a woman’s risk of developing fibroids. While there is no way to prevent fibroids from first developing, high-risk women can and should take certain precautions.

What’s Your Fibroid Risk?

First and foremost, women with a high likelihood of developing fibroids should be familiar with the signs and symptoms of these tumors (major red flags include heavy menstrual bleeding, abdominal pain and bloating and anemia); black women should ask their OBGYNs for regular screenings. Visits to the doctor should be annual.

Since both a diet high in carbohydrates and increased body weight both elevate fibroid risks, it’s also important for women to get regular exercise and choose lean proteins, fruits and veggies over bread, pasta and other grains.

For Ms. Williams, who has now returned to her news desk, sharing her story was all about helping other women know their options. While a hysterectomy was her choice, she made sure to share information on fertility-preserving treatment options like myomectomy (surgical removal of individual tumors) or tumor-shrinking, non surgical procedures like Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE.) As a news anchor, Monique lives to inform others, and because she turned her personal struggle into a teaching moment for all other women, we salute her as our Woman Crush of the week!

Sources: WRDW News 12

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