It’s still Fibroid Awareness Month (July), so let’s start at the beginning. Unfortunately, fibroids are still hidden in confusion and mystery. Too many people suffer unnecessarily because of this. Frequently affecting melanated women, these noncancerous growths are rooted within the uterus, causing many symptoms that can disrupt one’s daily life. Let’s unravel the layers and explore the ins and outs of fibroids.

Fibroids, or uterine fibroids, are noncancerous growths in or around the uterus. They vary in size, with some being as tiny as an apple seed and others growing as large as a grapefruit. Despite their intimidating size, fibroids are usually benign or noncancerous. Although usually noncancerous, they can still wreak havoc with many symptoms. Depending on their size, number, and location, fibroids could lead to heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged periods, pelvic pain, painful elimination, pain with intercourse, and even difficulties in conception.

So why are we highlighting melanated women in this conversation about fibroids? This is because studies have shown that this demographic has a higher prevalence of fibroids. By age 50, nearly 80% of African American women will have developed fibroids, compared to 70% of Caucasian women1. This discrepancy suggests a possible genetic predisposition among melanated women, stressing the importance of education and frequent health screenings in this population.

Fibroids are a huge health concern because about 100,000 hysterectomies are performed yearly due to fibroids2. Approximately 20% of gynecological visits are related to fibroids2. Fibroids cause many problems besides physical ones, including poor body image, depression, feelings of isolation, and helplessness3.

The cause behind fibroids is still not completely known. However, researchers believe that a combination of hormonal factors, genetic alterations, and other growth factors plays a role. For instance, the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which stimulate the development of the uterine lining during each menstrual cycle, appear to promote the growth of fibroids4.

Despite the daunting figures and disturbing symptoms, it’s important to note that not all fibroids require treatment. Many women with fibroids don’t experience any symptoms, and the growths often shrink after menopause due to decreased hormone production.

However, various treatment options are available. These treatments range from watchful waiting to medications to surgical procedures such as a myomectomy or a hysterectomy. The treatment choice depends on several factors, including the severity of symptoms, size and location of the fibroids, family planning, age, and other factors.

Understanding fibroids is the first step toward managing them. If you’re a melanated woman, you must know this condition, understand its implications, and actively participate in regular health screenings. Remember, knowledge is power. The more you know, the better equipped you are to maintain control over your health. Check out the Fibroid Freedom Workshop to learn about fibroids and treatment options.


  1. Yu O, Scholes D, Schulze-Rath R, Grafton J, Hansen K, Reed SD. A US population-based study of uterine fibroid diagnosis incidence, trends, and prevalence: 2005 through 2014. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2018;219(6):591.e1-591.e8. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2018.09.039
  2. Center for Uterine Fibroids. Accessed July 18, 2023.
  3. Understanding Racial Disparities for Women with Uterine Fibroids. Published August 12, 2020. Accessed July 18, 2023.
  4. Uterine fibroids | Office on Women’s Health. Accessed July 16, 2023.

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