Home Journal Is it true that fibroids are mainly a Black woman problem?

Is it true that fibroids are mainly a Black woman problem?


I find it odd that they say 80% of women have fibroids and yet they suggest that fibroids is mostly a problem for African American women. African American women make up such a small minority that it does not mathematically make any sense to me to say that 80% of all women have fibroids and yet classify fibroids are mainly a Black woman problem.

(Update: Whatever document I was reading when I wrote this post originally must have contained wrong info on the percentage of women believed to suffer with fibroids. I still don’t know the accurate number and it appears no one does as you will find a different percentage referecned depending on what you’re reading; but most of the reports range between 20% – 35%. With this new number in mind then my argument that it does not make sense mathematically to say that fibroids are mainly a black woman problem becomes invalid.)

Original post continued…

When you make fibroids out to be a mainly African American woman problem then you start to make wide assumptions and draw conclusions based on those wide assumptions. You also tend to allow your assumptions and stereotypical ideas about Black women to influence how you approach your investigation into trying to find out what causes fibroids which inevitably confuses the whole process of finding a fix for the problem.

Some of what I see based on the things I read suggest to me that someone decided all Black women are obese as a result of eating greasy unhealthy food every day so therefore fibroids grow as a result of being overweight and eating unhealthy foods. This is a picture of me taken around the time my fibroids began to develop. At the time it was the biggest I had ever been in my life. Sad to say I spent most of my life with body image issues such that if I didn’t look like a match stick I thought I was fat, so at this point in my life I considered myself fat and I’m sure there are many others who will look at the picture and see fat because we live in such a twisted culture, but I am happy to be well enough now to be able to see a healthy woman when I look at this picture.

Woman with fibroids

The point here is that for most of my life my problems with food and weight have been that I wouldn’t eat because I didn’t want to gain weight. Take 35 pounds off the picture above and you’ll have an accurate picture of what I looked like most of my life. And it’s not that I’m an exception to some rule. I find that there is such a need to malign and belittle Black women in this world that people readily accept generalizations about us to the point where they will go out and somehow fail to notice the 100 healthy black women that cross their path in a day and only notice the 10 who fit the description that they expect black women to fit.

There are obese black women who don’t have fibroids and there are skinny black women who do have fibroids. I have never been obese. I did get fatter than in the above picture for a couple of years after my fibroids started to grow, but at my heaviest I was never more than a little bit overweight and it was more a fluctuation type of situation where I would keep gaining and losing, gaining and losing while struggling to keep a grip on life.

Right now I’m struggling to avoid losing too much weight and I don’t think I’m an exception to some rule. I think it’s a dangerous thing to generalize when it comes to people’s health and to allow your judgement to be clouded by stereotypes and feelings of disgust that you might have for a group of people based on those stereotypes.

I agree that it’s important to look for commonalities in trying to figure out the root of fibroids, but I don’t think that if you’re going to maintain that 80% of all women, race not germane, have fibroids that you ought to be focusing in so much on a minority group and particularly on a group that is known to get negatively stereotyped with no effort ever being made to clear up the stereotypes because everyone who is not part of this group feels themselves enhanced and elevated in one way or another by having this group maintain their status at the bottom of the totem pole.

When you focus on asking what do all black women have in common, instead of what do all women have in common, you hinder progress in solving the problem of fibroids because you then waste time trying to figure out things like what impact hair relaxers might have on causing fibroids and stuff like that. I don’t relax my hair. My hair is 100% natural and has been for most of my life and I’ve been around a little while. I don’t have fibroids because of relaxers because I don’t use relaxers or any other kind of chemical product in my hair. I don’t have fibroids because of bad diet, unless by bad diet you mean going years starving myself to stay thin. I’m not obese and never have been, and I am sure that I am not the only Black woman with fibroids who can say this.

By trying to treat fibroids like it’s a black woman problem, then you look for ways to blame more so than for ways to help. Well if you weren’t relaxing your hair this wouldn’t happen. If you weren’t eating all that fried chicken and cole slaw and potato salad you wouldn’t have fibroids. If you weren’t so fat and lazy and not getting any exercise you wouldn’t have fibroids. Get a hysterectomy and that’ll solve your problem. It will probably be better for the world if you didn’t have a womb for babies to grow in any way.

I am a black woman with fibroids. During the period when my fibroids were growing I went through patches of gaining weight and not keeping up with my physical fitness on a consistent basis. Patches mean that I might go 3 months not working out so I’d gain some weight; but then I’d get back on track and lose the weight and I kept up that cycle for a couple of years; but outside of that couple of years, I have always been fit. Since I was a teenager I worked out 5 – 7 days per week sometimes upwards of 4 hours per day because I was obsessed with being thin. I worked out regularly and I hardly ate, which isn’t anything to brag about. The point I’m trying to make is that weight is not responsible for my fibroids. I also have natural hair and have for most of my life, so hair relaxer is not responsible for my fibroids either.

Even if you want to insist that fibroids mainly affect black women, although I still find that suggestion problematic from a mathematical standpoint based on the fact that they say 80% of all women have fibroids, I think it’s important not to factor in stereotypes in trying to figure out what the common elements might be. It’s too easy to mislead people, and once you start spreading around ideas that have no basis in truth and fact you just hamper any real progress in finding solutions to problems.

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My name is Monica. I have fibroids. My fibroids are large enough that they have transformed my figure into something I am still trying to learn how to live with. In the meantime while I try to learn how to live with my fibroids I am also trying every possible method I can find to try to shrink them naturally because I am afraid of the idea of a hysterectomy. I lived with fibroids from 2007 - 2016. I started documenting my experiences on this blog in 2012. On March 7th 2016 I had a hysterectomy out of concern that I might have ovarian cancer. It did not turn out that I had ovarian cancer. The cancer scare forced the hysterectomy I was trying to avoid, and so, I became fibroid free as of March 7th 2016. I will try to keep this blog up and running in the hope that it will be of some use to others going through what I went through.



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