The 2 Things Every Black Woman Battling Fibroids & Infertility Should Know

African American womanJuly is Fibroids Awareness Month and I am one of the 90 percent of Black women affected by fibroids by age 50. I was diagnosed with fibroids—smooth muscle tumors that form in the uterus—in 2001 at the age of 30.  From that moment on, I began a 14-year battle to overcome fibroids, the resulting infertility and a litany of other medical challenges.  The road to my healing was a long and grueling one that included:

  • 10 surgeries—five of them for fibroids
  • 5 in-vitro fertilization cycles
  • 1 heart-wrenching miscarriage
  • 120+ days combined in the hospital
  • A high risk pregnancy that resulted in my unborn baby fighting the fibroids that were siphoning off her blood supply at 21 weeks in utero
  • My heart stopping on the delivery table
  • Thankfully Nia, our miracle baby, being born at 2.5 lbs and 14 inches!

While our family enjoyed a storybook ending, my heart aches for families who are still fighting fibroids and infertility. The fibroids epidemic affects 70 percent of American women at large, and up to 90 percent of Black women by age 50.  Many of these women have their personal and professional lives derailed by infertility, hemorrhaging, life-threatening anemia, debilitating cramps, embarrassing incontinence and so much more.

As I struggled to find out why these foreign masses kept invading my body, I grew frustrated as gynecologists repeatedly told me that the cause of fibroids is unknown.  Furthermore, little to no research was/is being done to unearth the answer.  But one word kept popping up in my findings—estrogen. While doctors hesitated to name it as the root cause, they did agree that estrogen fuels the growth of fibroids.