a happy ending for most women. Recognizing this has led Ruffin on a mission to make sure women know what’s going on with their bodies so that they are able to make the best choices for their overall health and comfort.
“Black women are more likely to experience fibroids. So, let’s talk about it,” she says. “Our silence surrounding gynecological issues is a result of the patriarchy. And as it dies, so do all the things that prop it up. So now is a great time to talk about women’s health.”
This involves getting familiar with the symptoms of fibroids, which include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Menstrual periods lasting more than a week
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Backache or leg pains
While we’ve been programmed to think that heavy periods and uncontrollable bleeding that disrupt our daily lives is normal, it’s not and you don’t have to suffer in silence.
Ruffin advises writing down every symptom you’ve experienced and taking it with you to your gynecologist. He or she can help you get to the root of what’s causing you problems, and ultimately help you find the right treatment depending on the size and location of your fibroids as well as your age. And if your doctor is being dismissive, it is within your right to find a new one.
“When you ask [your doctor] what’s causing your pain, and they say ‘I don’t know,’ you ask, ‘How do we find out what’s going on?’” she shares. “I can’t come here with pain and leave here with no answers.” And if you don’t get answers, Ruffin says that’s a clear sign that you should see someone else. “A good doctor will want to know the answers.”
She advises taking advantage of websites like Zocdoc to read reviews of doctors before you commit. “And don’t just look at the first review. Scroll down to the last review. That’s the bad one,” she adds.
Fibroids affect everyone differently, but the good news is that there is no shortage of options to provide you the relief you desire whether you opt to have your fibroids removed or have your uterus removed entirely like Ruffin.