Women and Fibroids, How to Identify and Prevent the Disease

A fibroid is a tumor that arises from uterine muscles and connective tissue. Almost all cases are benign (not malignant). Since fibroids develop following the onset of menstruation, enlarge during pregnancy, and decrease after menopause, fibroids are thought to be estrogen dependent. According to Alternative Medicine, one in five women in the U.S. has at least some evidence of fibroids with most occurring in women in their thirties and forties. The book highlighted the fact that it is more common in Black women although the reason for this difference is unknown.

According to the Philadelphia Women’s Health Project, studies showed that fibroids are three times more common in African American women than in Caucasian women. Additionally, fibroids tend to be larger and occur at an earlier age in African Americans. But, no source can explain why fibroids are more prevalent in women of color.

To help explain this reality, Author Monique R. Brown wrote It’s A Sistah Thing: A Guide to understanding and dealing with fibroids for Black women. The book offers many conventional and natural alternatives.

Heredity, a high fat diet, and being overweight all seem to increase the risk. Birth control pills, with high levels of estrogen, and estrogen-replacement medication for menopause symptoms can accelerate tumor growth. The key is to level out high estrogen production so that the fibroids will not continue to grow.

Fibroids cause no problems for some women and normally shrink and disappear after menopause. For other women, symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, painful intercourse, frequent urination, or infertility require medical attention.

Fibroid Symptoms:

– Lower abdominal pains

– Feeling of fullness and pressure in the lower abdomen

– Frequent urination caused by tumor pressure on the bladder

– Heavy menstrual periods

– Bleeding between periods

– Increased menstrual cramps
Renee, a fibroid survivor, described her fibroid as a small orange.

“I had a great deal of pain one day and it was so overwhelming that I had to go to the hospital. My doctor told me I had an enlarged fibroid and advised that I have surgery. I was in the hospital and within two days I had the fibroid removed.” Renee had a myomectomy, where the fibroid was removed surgically.

If a fibroid grows rapidly, it may outstrip its nutritional supply from nearby blood vessels, resulting in the degeneration and death of the oxygen-deprived tissue; severe abdominal pain may result. Some doctors suggest hysterectomies where the entire uterus is removed. If your doctor suggests any surgical procedure please get a second opinion because surgery of any kind should be the last option.

In order to help prevent and eliminate fibroids, a woman must get regular check ups from her conventional and alternative doctor. Often lifestyle and diet modifications may need to happen.

Suggestions:

– whole food diet or vegetarian diet (eliminate processed food)

– regular aerobic exercise (three times a week)

– Yoga (Hatha)

– Stress reduction techniques (deep breathing, counseling, meditation/prayer,
emotional support)

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