New Report Finds 80% of Black Women Will Develop Uterine Fibroids

by Xara Aziz

A new study is shedding light on the link between Black women and fibroids.

According to a National Library of Medicine report, 80% of Black women will develop uterine fibroids, noncancerous tumors, by the age of 50. Furthermore, Black women are more likely to develop fibroids at an earlier age, compared to their white counterparts.

To address this issue, Forbes reached out to four Black women to share their experiences and offer advice for other Black women who have or may experience fibroids.

“I never knew what was truly wrong with me until I was in my 30s,” a 35-year-old healthcare worker who chose to remain anonymous said. “I always had very heavy periods and considered it the norm but didn’t start feeling strange hormone changes until after I was pregnant and ended up in the ER from blood loss. With fibroids, I had mood swings, painful cramps, brain fog, chronic anemia, nausea, embarrassing accidents, fainting spells, and just felt miserable.” In 2020, after undergoing a myomectomy, which is a procedure to remove uterine fibroids, her symptoms returned in 2021. “I had a fainting spell and was tired of trying hormones so I opted for a hysterectomy.”

In another interview, 42-year-old Kim Crowder said that she found out she had fibroids while she attended college.

“Having my first surgery in my late 20s, I have been through a total of five fibroid surgeries,” explained Crowder. “Not only were my periods excruciating, but I also experienced severe bleeding, got two blood transfusions and iron infusions, and lost time at work and with family and friends, not to mention how costly surgery was.”

Minda Harts, 40, currently serves as a workplace consultant and shared that “the size and location of my fibroids made my menstrual cycle more frequent and heavier than before—with increased cramping…fibroids have impacted weight gain in my abdominal area [and] fibroids have impacted my ability to have children naturally. I have been advised to have a partial hysterectomy.”

And 46-year-old Janelle Benjamin, a DEI consultant said that having fibroids changed her experience while carrying her child.

“I found out I had five fibroids all around my baby, which was extremely worrisome…there wasn’t anything that I could do about it, but it was competing for blood with my baby. Thankfully, I delivered a healthy baby without consequence and my fibroids reduced on their own after giving birth. I have not had to do anything about them since.”

According to the Forbes report, “by the age of 35, 60% of Black women will have fibroids. After the discovery of fibroids, many Black women are steered towards hysterectomies, even though there may be less invasive options available,” adding that “Black women may be more absent from work due to painful periods or need to take a medical leave to treat them.”

Crowder recommends that Black women can help themselves and the future of their reproductive health by ensuring they have adequate insurance coverage.

“Ensure that insurance covers this care and that preventative yearly gynecology exams are standard, including imaging, if necessary,” she said.

And Benjamin says “Black women may be more absent from work due to painful periods or need to take a medical leave to treat them…encourage leaders to support their Black female employees who may also be dealing with mental health concerns as a result of having fibroids,” she advises.

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