I just found out July is fibroids, awareness month! I had to share this because fibroids aren’t something that women speak about freely and I’m glad to know that there is an awareness month to bring more light to this health topic, as it's really needed. Fibroids affect more Black women, like me than any other racial group. Fibroids are benign tumors that can be as small as a tiny seed or as large as a grapefruit (whoa!). It grows on the inside or outside of the uterus.
My Mom, myself, and some of my friends (all Black women) who were brave enough to discuss have suffered from fibroids. I want to share my experience along with some suggestions and tips that were passed on to me and how I managed that will hopefully help you if you are dealing with this. Physically, my experience with fibroids caused:
- Extremely heavy bleeding during my cycle
- Blood clots
- Cycle lasting up to 9-10 days (ugghh)
- Excruciating cramps (keeping me bedridden at times)
- Leg and back pains
Emotionally, fibroids caused fear, worry, and stress. My period became so disruptive to my life! It is too risky to wear white pants or a dress (I loooooved white jeans). I've had to plan my life around my period because there was a chance that I couldn't function properly when it came. I worried about cramps, leaking, and how often I had to change my pads and making sure I had pads everywhere, in my purse, at work in my car. It was crazy.
For cramps, I was allergic to muscle relaxants and Advil, so I had to find natural alternatives. I HIGHLY recommend raspberry leaf tea to help ease painful cramps along with using a heating pad. Though I haven’t tried, I heard rubbing castor oil on your abdomen is really helpful too. I dealt with heavy bleeding by doubling up and using pads and tampons simultaneously.
In the past, I had an IUD called Minera, but I didn't enjoy having something foreign in my body especially when the payoff still wasn’t great; I still had heavy enough bleeding and cramps. My Mom had a hysterectomy, this is when your uterus is removed but I opted not to have surgery as I am in my 40s. I decided to wait it out a little as things seem to be taking a turn for the better at the moment and menopause is approaching. Fibroids are supposed to shrink with menopause. If you’re suffering from fibroids and don’t want surgery, make sure to advocate for yourself with your doctor because in my experience a hysterectomy seemed to be the default option. Consider seeing a naturopathic doctor too, I wish I looked into this sooner. I believe I would have been presented with options my gynecologist or family doctor doesn’t traditionally follow. Once the challenges of this pandemic subside I am looking forward to seeing my naturopathic doctor. I've used www.blackdoctor.org as a resource in the past, to have information to suggest to my doctors as to what options could work best for me. Though I am still dealing with it, I thought I would share and I hope this can help you or someone you love navigate fibroids.
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