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    Uterine Fibroids – What do I need to do?

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | September 12th, 2021

    Uterine Fibroids – What do I need to do?

    A few weeks ago, my daughter had surgery to remove a uterine fibroid. Luckily for her, she had one fibroid. The fibroid was on the back of the uterus pressing against her rectum causing her to have severe rectal pain. The fibroid was removed with robotic surgery. She left the hospital after one day and has recovered well. When I told one of my friends that my daughter had surgery, she asked, “Isn’t she too young to get uterine fibroids? I thought that happened when you are older.” My daughter is 25 years old.

    Most women are usually diagnosed in their mid-thirties, early 40s but the more and more I talk to my colleagues, they are noticing a disturbing trend of black women being diagnosed with uterine fibroids at a younger age. I have been asking myself and some of my colleagues – WHY and now that my daughter has had the surgery, is there anything that she can do to reduce the risk of her getting the fibroid again?

    A few years ago, I wrote a three part series on uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids are benign (not cancerous) growth of the muscle of the uterus.  For the basics, please read the blog titled, Uterine Fibroids – Do You Have Any Questions? Part 1.

    Regarding the question, why is it happening to women especially black women at a younger age, we just do not know. More research needs to be done.  Regarding, what can my daughter or any woman do to reduce their risk of developing uterine fibroids, I looked at what I wrote in 2017 and it still holds true today.

    1. Diet plays a role. Beef and other red meats and ham increase the risk of fibroids. Try to avoid them or at least cut down. Fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy products decrease the risk. Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower in particular have been helpful. There is also research that has shown that green tea may play a role in decreasing risk of uterine fibroids.
    2. Weight plays a role. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing fibroids. Maintaining an appropriate weight is helpful. This would be the time not to gain any extra weight. Start to exercise regularly to the point where you are working out 4 – 5 hours a week.
    3. Maintain an adequate vitamin D level. Low vitamin D levels increases the risk of uterine fibroids. It will be helpful to know your levels and work towards making sure that your levels are good.
    4. We know that starting birth control pills before age 16 increases your risk of uterine fibroid, but if you have a choice, I would consider the intrauterine device with or without hormones as a form of birth control.
    5. Reduce stress – try techniques to manage stress. An example would be Mindful Meditation described in a previous blog.

    Please note that if your uterus is large causing you severe symptoms, please seek help from a health care provider. Following the above recommendations is not going to make existing fibroids disappear.

    If you want in depth information on the latest on uterine fibroids, visit The Fibroid Foundation. They sponsored the Fibroid Summit 2021 and it is worth the time to listen.

    2 Responses to “Uterine Fibroids – What do I need to do?”

    1. Linda Jackson says:

      Wow. I was also surprised to learn that uterine fibroids are happening at younger and younger ages. Glad to see that the first recommendation is the influence of diet playing a role. All the recommendations given are very interesting. Thank you so much for caring about us!

      • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

        There is still so much to learn when it comes to uterine fibroids. Hopefully, there will be more investment in research in this area.

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