The cast of the Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) has been extremely open about their reproductive health challenges. Cynthia Bailey shared her struggle with uterine fibroids on the show. We’ve been following Kandi Burruss and her husband Todd Tucker struggle to get pregnant and carry a high-risk pregnancy. Now, we’re celebrating the birth of their super cute son, Ace Wells Tucker. Porsha Williams has expressed her desire to be a mother since her first season on the show. She shared with viewers that uterine fibroids caused her to have a miscarriage and has hindered her fertility. She had a surgery to remove the uterine fibroids.
Prompted by her sister Lauren’s pregnancy, Porsha’s desire for children one day brought her back to the gynecology to inquire about her chances of having children in the future. To her surprise, the fibroid tumors had come back. The doctor told her that there were more than one, but the tumors were a lot smaller than the ones she previously had surgically removed. The doctor assured her that she would be able to have children and that the tumors were not going to be a major concern.
I will be honest, I am not surprised that the tumors grew back. Unfortunately, women are not holistically counseled regarding fibroid tumors. According to the Office of Women’s Health, “African-American women are three times more likely to get fibroids than other women. In African-American women, fibroids also seem to occur at a younger age, grow more quickly, and are more likely to cause symptoms.” The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) reports that up to 80% of all African-American women have fibroid tumors in the pelvic cavity.
Lack of Prevention Education
The reason I became a doula and women’s wellness coach is because I suffered from reproductive challenges. I went to several medical doctors and none of them could help me. They just prescribed me birth control, had no answers for my illnesses and I progressively got worse. Once I started to do research, I learned how to heal myself. This information was so revolutionary to me. It changed the trajectory of my life.
I felt deep in my soul that education and information on care of the womb should be systematically taught to all little Black girls and adolescents, perhaps as part of a rites of passage. So many of my 20-something sister-friends were suffering from various reproductive health challenges. As Black women, we all had elder women in our family who had undergone a hysterectomy due to fibroid tumors, cysts or other challenges.
I created RootMama to be a platform for me to provide information to women on how to heal their womb, keep their womb healthy, and bring forth life from their womb.
I’m going to guess the Porsha Williams never received any information growing up on how to prevent fibroids and maintain optimal womb health. Her situation is very common in our community.
Fibroid Tumors and Infertility
According to ASRM, “uterine fibroids are common and can affect fertility in many ways. They can affect whether sperm and egg meet, they can affect whether an embryo can implant, they can affect whether a pregnancy can continue, and they can affect the growth and positioning of the baby.”
The common treatment for severe fibroid tumors is surgical removal. The surgery itself increases infertility. The surgery also increases a woman’s propensity to have a c-section if she does achieve a pregnancy. Women are not given the full disclosure of the future risks of having fibroid tumors surgically removed.
Fibroids can Grow Back after Surgery
The medical industry claims that there are no known reasons for the growth of fibroid tumors. ASRM eluded to hormonal, environmental and genetic factors, but no medical organizations will definitively name the cause of the tumors. Lots of money is being poured into robotic surgical procedures to treat the tumors.
I have counseled with many women who have undergone the surgery, only for the tumors to grow back. The tumors often grow back even bigger. Women frequently comment to me that they had now idea regrowth was even a possibility. They felt like they were doing the right thing with their health by having the surgery and that the surgery was a one and one solution to their fibroid tumors.
When I ask them if their doctor explained to them how they can prevent regrowth, they say that no one including the doctor, told them anything about preventing the fibroids for growing back.
Why do Uterine Fibroids Come Back?
Uterine fibroids are a manifestation of imbalance in the body. It could be a hormonal imbalance, namely too much estrogen. If hormones are the issue, you have to look at what is causing the hormonal imbalance. You have to analyze what triggers – food, environment, emotional state, etc – that could be affecting the hormonal balance. Modern animals are pumped with all kinds of hormones for rapid growth. The hormones are ingested by humans who consume the animal products. Certain industrial pesticides have also been proven to affect hormone levels in both women and men.
Fibroids often start out as cysts. Cysts are accumulations of mucus in the body. The body might produce an excess of mucus for various reasons – food allergies (lactose), too much sugar and simple starches, animal products, and milk. Have you seen a milk farm lately? The white substance that called milk is actually mucus and puss from the cow. I mean, mucus in, mucus out. The body will resort to attempting to cleanse itself using the uterus I the kidneys and especially if the liver is overrun. The body knows the endometrium wall will shed each month, so the body will use the uterus as a cleansing method if other organ systems are overrun. This presents major problems if there are still too many toxins in the body. If all the toxins are not released, cysts form. Cysts turn into tumors that can be benign or cancerous.
Catch them while they’re small
The best thing a woman can do to prevent having major problems with cysts and fibroid tumors is to prevent them. Or, catch them while they are small. Listen to me here. I know that doctors have been trained to ignore “small cysts” and “small fibroid tumors.” Or, they’ve been taught to ignore tumors if they are not causing the patient problems. However, small tumors grow into big tumors. Cysts can multiply and turn into tumors. I would treat small cysts and tumors as a major cry for help of the uterus.
I know women who had gone to the gynecologists for 10 years. Her gynecologists had felt the fibroids every check-up but never said a word to the patient. He didn’t bring it up to the patient until she had multiple baseball sized tumors that required a hysterectomy.
We as Black women have to take our womb health into our own hands. We have to be participatory in our care and advocate for our own best interest.
Know the Signs of Fibroids
Signs of fibroid tumors include pain in the abdomen, lower back, or pelvis, heavy menstruation, irregular menstruation, painful menstruation, or spotting cramping, distended abdomen, or irregular uterine bleeding.
Women can request a sonogram from their gynecologists or midwife. Ask this important question “did you seen any, even tiny, cysts or fibroids?” Also, ask, “where is the fibroid and how big is it?”
With this information, you can go to a holistic practitioner and use natural remedies to attempt to shrink your fibroid tumors. You have this option in most cases before undergoing a risky surgery.
I would love to reach sisters like Porsha Williams who are young, vibrant and wanting children one day. She deserves to know all her options to care for her womb. We would look at her lifestyle, nutrition, emotional well-being, womb history and much more to determine what caused the fibroids to come in the first place. Since she had the myomectomy (fibroid removal surgery) without changing her lifestyle, the same lifestyle conditions surely caused them to grow back.
We have the power to heal our wombs.
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Sis. Freya is the creator of RootMama. She loves encouraging women to achieve greatness.
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