A sister came to see me in tears, overwhelmed and exhausted. She shared how her heavy bleeding was causing so much discomfort, how she tried to maintain her full-time job, caring responsibilities, and relationship when she was so depleted of energy and not getting anywhere with her local GP.
She was feeling imbalanced, and often anxious as she was constantly having to check whether she had soiled herself at work. With 6 fibroids growing inside of her uterus, she also confided that she had grave concerns that she would not be able to conceive the child that she longed to have and had not spoken to anyone about these fears. I reassured her that she was in a safe and supportive space and there is much she can do, with my support to get her health back on track.
This scenario above is just one of the cases where women have reached out to get support with their fibroids condition as they either did not want to go down the invasive treatment route or they wanted to look at natural and holistic ways to heal. Whatever the reason that brings you to a place of needing support it’s important to know that you are not alone, and that only you can make the right and best choice for you, but firstly we need to be fully informed of the choices and potential risks of each option.
So, what are fibroids?
Fibroids are benign tumour masses which grow inside and around the uterus. They can grow singly or in clusters, and for many Black women, they grow in multiple clusters. This health condition is affecting our sisters disproportionately and yet is still not seen as a major health concern by a vast majority of mainstream medical healthcare services. Black women are 4-6 times more likely to have fibroids that white women. These masses can be the size of a pea or can grow to the size of a watermelon. If fibroids are left untreated, women can experience a great deal of discomfort and pain, can experience anaemia, heavy periods, clotting, urinary incontinence, and some women may even experience fertility or pregnancy complications.
There are many conventional medics who try to find a singular answer as to what creates a fibroid, but as a holistic health practitioner we understand that all illness and conditions start first on an energetic level and then come into form, we see that the ‘watch and wait’ approach that many sisters have been advised to do will not work, and this would be an act of negligence. We have to act now!
At a 2015 UNISON conference, it was highlighted that Black women tend to have larger and more numerous fibroids upon diagnosis. They seem to occur at a young age amongst our women and grow at a faster rate. For 65.4% of these hysterectomies in Black women, the principle diagnosis was uterine fibroids, compared to 28.5% in white women. We are also more likely to have complications, longer stay in hospital and had more than 3x the in-hospital mortality rate.
The centre for disease and prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 600,000 hysterectomies are performed in the US each year, and forecasts that one third of all women will have a hysterectomy by the age of 60, and Black women are 2-3 x more likely to have to undergo invasive surgery. So, beloved sisters, we appear to be at a higher risk of being advised to have hysterectomy, thus denying us our rights to fertility. This was confirmed in my researched findings when writing the new book, and that overall Black women with fibroids felt ill-advised, mis-led, mis-informed about what to do.
Firstly, supporting women to fully understand what constitute good health is key, and to explore with sisters just how our lifestyle choices may well be sabotaging the very gals that we may hold dear. Working with women to re-connect with unfulfilled desires, histories of inter-generational and current trauma, the effects of racism and micro-aggressions at work, domestic violence, low self-image can all be contributing factors which further compound our levels of heightened stress and anxiety, which can lead to over-toxicity and estrogen excess which can grow fibroids.
So, as a practitioner focussed on the whole-person I would explore our relationship with self and self-love, diet, sleep, exercise, nutrition, family history of fibroids, work-life balance and many other factors to get the full picture as to why fibroids are forming for the individual.
For many of us, our haircare and body care products may need to be scrutinized and replaced with non-PCB, non-paraben content as these are major endocrine disruptors. We can also consider going natural and styling our hair with products which do not have toxic chemicals that can seep into our bloodstream. We may also wish to explore introducing more plant-based foods into our diet due to the high levels of growth hormones injected into the meats that then get introduced into our body system and can make fibroids and cysts grow.
As we go on this journey towards healing fibroids, we start to see our body as a temple and start to worship the sacred womb-space as a creative space which needs protection, and in so doing, we start to treat ourselves more lovingly and make different choices, bringing us back to nature.
Here are just a few steps in the right direction which have made a significant impact on Black women’s health in relation to healing generally and healing of fibroids:
· Move towards a plant-based diet and start intermittent fasting.
· Get 8 hours consistent sleep at night.
· Start some form of mindfulness, meditation, yoga, qi gong or prayer activity to connect the mind, body and spirit and reduce tension.
· Move away from microwaving our foods, particularly freezing or heating food in plastic containers. Scientists ‘Modets’ estimates that there are more than 700,000 different toxin chemicals bombarding us on a daily basis. Many of these toxins have shown up in tests and samples from urine, blood, serum, breast milk of every people, raising health concerns as very few of these toxins are thoroughly tested for safety. Toxins such as Formaldehyde, mercury, lead, asbestos, pesticides seep into women’s blood stream, and there are 10,500 chemicals found in plastic alone. When such compounds are microwaved, frozen or heated they become highly carcinogenic, the compounds are what is termed endocrine disruptors, as they mimic the oestrogen in the body, dock int the estrogen docking receptor stations and create major disruption.
There is much we can do to eliminate fibroids naturally or start shrinking them so that all symptoms are diminished. Let’s start this work to heal ourselves and heal our nation, together and most importantly, know that you are not alone, so reach out!
My NEW book on Amazon ‘Nature’s Pathways to Womb-Wellness’ focuses on holistic approaches to eliminating fibroids and getting back to womb-wellness. Hope you have enjoyed reading this blog!