July is Fibroid Awareness Month, a time to bring attention to an issue that impacts between 20 and 70 percent of women of childbearing age. Fibroids are noncancerous tumors that grow in and around a woman’s uterus. And although the cause is unknown, risk factors can include a family history of fibroids as well as obesity and high blood pressure.
This month is particularly important to us at The Root, as fibroids are more common among Black women than any other racial group. In fact, a 2017 study found that Black women were three times more likely to develop fibroids than white women. Black women are also more likely to be hospitalized or undergo a hysterectomy (the surgical removal of the uterus) due to fibroids than other racial groups.
While some women don’t know they are living with fibroids, for others, the symptoms, which can include heavy bleeding, abdominal pain, bloating and frequent urination, can be incredibly painful and disruptive to their daily lives. For some women, fibroids can cause pregnancy complications or infertility. As someone who is currently living with fibroids, I know first-hand how the painful symptoms can make even the simplest tasks feel like a chore.
Although you or someone you know may live or have lived with uterine fibroids, they are not often talked about. Too many women, particularly those without adequate healthcare, are forced suffer in silence. Fortunately, celebrities including Eve, Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Cynthia Bailey and MSNBC’s Tiffany Cross have come out and made their very personal experiences with fibroids public, which has brought more attention to the issue and allowed more women to feel comfortable enough to share their stories.
We want you to join the conversation. Drop your personal stories about living with fibroids in the comment section. And we will continue to cover this important issue, sharing information and resources designed specifically to help women of color who are living with fibroids all month long.