Up to 80 percent of adult black women have fibroids and will need to explore fibroid treatments. These muscular growths aren’t usually cancerous. But they can drastically affect your quality of life. In fact, women with fibroids experience pain, heavy bleeding and even fertility loss. Here’s the worst part: many women, especially black women, don’t have access to quality healthcare. So they never explore their fibroid treatment options. For that reason, many women choose hysterectomy (removing their uterus) when they could have explored less invasive treatments. And we believe that has to change.
Fibroids: A Common Problem
Let’s really understand uterine fibroids. These fleshy, non-cancerous tumors develop in, on or around your uterus. And, we don’t know why, but fibroids are three times as common in African American populations as in Caucasian ones.
This is true for all black women. But it’s an even bigger problem for African American women with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD.) In fact, a recent study in Academic Radiology found that 61.2% of black women with SCD had fibroids. In contrast, a lower 52.1% of the SCD-free black women had fibroids. In other words, fibroids are a major problem in the African American community. And so is the lack of information about fibroid treatment options.
Exploring Fibroid Treatments
Unfortunately, many black women often cure fibroids with hysterectomies. Now, a hysterectomy will eliminate your fibroid problems. But it can cause a whole range of new health concerns. Not just immediate infertility. Studies show that hysterectomies, especially in women under 40, can lead to incontinence, loss of sex drive, depression, obesity and heart problems.
That’s pretty scary on it’s own. But here’s what’s worse: hysterectomy isn’t your only choice when it comes to fibroid symptom relief. You can choose myomectomy, a surgery that remove your fibroids, not your uterus. And, even more excitingly, there are non-surgical procedures like UFE! In this procedure, we cut off blood flow to your fibroids. We effectively killing the tumor, without forcing you to deal with hospital stays or extended down time. UFE may be a great option if you hope to avoid the expense and risks of invasive surgery. The only problem is this: many women don’t even know UFE exits.
Expanding Fibroid Treatment Options
That’s where health care activism has to step in and make a difference. We see exciting developments in government already. And say thank you to Senator Kamala Harris for introducing a bill to expand fibroid research. Our doctors strongly believe that investing in women’s health care is a great way to help achieve healthcare equality for all women.
But we also know that there’s more work to do. That’s why our doctors are joining the cause. We’re fighting to help all women access high-quality health care by spreading the word about UFE. Women should be armed with information about all available treatment options. It’s the only way they can make informed healthcare decisions. About fibroid treatment or any other health challenge. Now, we want your help in our mission. Sp please share your fibroid stories (and info on alternatives to hysterectomy) on our website or social media. Use the hashtag #FibroidFix and help us get women’s health care issue trending!
Sources: Journal of Academic Radiology