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Here's Why There are Fibroids Treatment Gaps for Black Women

Posted on April 04, 2024

Black women in this country and around the world face fibroid treatment gaps that lead to delayed diagnoses and more invasive procedures. Even worse? Black women have a higher fibroid risk, develop these tumors at an earlier age, and tend to experience worse symptoms. So, why does this treatment gap exist and what can we do about it? Here's what you need to know.

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Understanding Black Women's Fibroid Risk

According to a study from the National Institutes of Health, Black women are disproportionately affected by fibroids because of their unique gene expression in the muscular tissue of the uterus. Now, within cells, your genes could be turned off or on. When in the on position, those genes produce both proteins and RNA.

Now, this happens all over the body. But, for Black women, the process gets a bit intense in the uterus. Basically, within their uterine muscles, the VWF (von Willebrand factor) gene works overtime, producing a a protein that leads to the formation of more uterine blood vessels. In turn, women of color develop more vascular smooth muscle cells than women, increasing their risk for the muscular tumor formations that are fibroids.

Unfortunately, genetics are not the only factor increasing fibroid risk for Black women. Researchers also believe that exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment and in hair products, along with the chronic stress of facing racism, further increases that disproportionate risk. Then, when you factor in systemic racism in healthcare, you can truly begin to appreciate the roots of fibroid treatment gaps for women of color.

Amplifying Black Women’s Health Equity to Close Fibroid Treatment Gaps

Linda Goler Blount, who is president and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, is on a mission to to close these fibroid treatment gaps. And her first step is getting women to open up about their symptoms. She says, “Women don’t want to talk about it. Men obviously don’t want to talk about it. This makes it a challenge. And as Black women, we are socialized to suffer in silence.”

To flip that script, Blount exhorts that, “Women—Black women in particular—need to pay attention to our bodies. We need to know this isn’t normal. You shouldn’t be suffering month in and month out. Suffering is not normal, and it is not necessary.” And, as fibroid specialists in Dallas, we agree with her completely. And we're trying to advance her cause by normalizing women's ability to talk about their period problems, and by sharing information on less invasive treatment options.

Treating Fibroids in Dallas, TX

Getting a hysterectomy is not the only way to treat fibroids. Instead, there are many treatment options, ranging from minimally invasive procedures to surgical options. Of course, not every treatment will work for every women. However, every woman—regardless of her race—has a right to be informed about each of these treatment options.

Want to explore treatment options that provide you with an alternative to a hysterectomy? Click here to request an appointment with our Dallas-based team of fibroid specialists. We are here to help you understand all your treatment options, in the hopes that, together, we can close fibroid treatment gaps for women of color, and all women living with these tumors.

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