Fibroids, which is a condition that women experience, has been found to be racially discriminative. The condition is one of the finest example of tumors found in women’s reproductive organs. The main reason behind this sexist condition is the production of oestrogen. The condition is found in the women’s uterus and is an overgrowth of muscles and tissues which can have severe consequences such as conception and birth.
As a general community there are women who are much more likely to have fibroids. This may be due to some factors such as: hormones, by inheritance and pregnancy. The hormone oestrogen is responsible for the menstrual cycle. This hormone initiates the cycle by causing the walls of the uterus to shed. Menstruation, in some cases may influence the growth of fibroids. Secondly, a family whereby the previous generations might have had an incidence of fibroids is more likely to have a member likely to be affected by fibroids. Finally, pregnant women are much more likely to have fibroids than non-pregnant women. This is because during the gestation period there is much more production of oestrogen than any other period in a woman’s lifestyle.
Research has shown that African American women are three times more likely to have fibroids than the general population (Azura Vascular Care, 2017).Furthermore, these women tend to experience this condition at a much younger age than any other race with the estimate that 25% by the age of 25 (Azura Vascular Care, 2017).Furthermore, African American women have a higher probability of having this disorder in the latter stages than white women. The estimate is 80% compared to 70% for the former and latter respectively (Macon & Yu, 2015). Though there are no specific reasons as to why this health condition is so prevalent in Africa-American, some theories have been created to try to explain this. Some of these theories include: the genetic composition of African women being different from that of the other population, lack of vitamin D which because of the dark complexion of Africans and African-Americans, Stress induced on African-Americans either due to the living conditions or poverty, others argue that environmental factors, diet and abuse,obesity and last but not least, the controversial theory associated with hair relaxer.
One study was conducted on African-American women who used hair relaxer and it was found there was an increased risk (Bersinger, 2017).The theory states that although some white Americans get some form of fibroids by using hair relaxer, it is not as prevalent as in African-Americans. The controversial factor is justified by the fact that the hair relaxers contain some form of chemical that affects the hormones of women. Furthermore, the chemicals have some adverse effects such as burns. Considering the hair treatment is expensive most cases were reported on women who live in better neighborhoods and have higher paying jobs.
On the case of vitamin D, women of African American origin tend to be deficient of this vitamin.Accordibng to Donna Day Baird Eds. (2017), a research conducted on women aged between 35-49 showed that women of the African-American origin had a higher percent of women with vitamin D deficiency (90%).This was carried out by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Uterine Fibroid Study.
The living conditions of most African American women is not that inviting. Most studies conducted on fibroids involve women-white and black races-with the same educational level, same number of children and same health status. However, African American women tend to live single and in geographic conditions that are not that good. This is part of the social conditions that encourage the development of fibroids. Diets associated with these conditions tend to have some significant effect since these women don’t consider the overall health. Associated with this is the social and stress induced that encourage much development of fibroids. Furthermore, African-American women tend to have prolonged periods before any medical counsel. These women are likely to use other drugs to suppress symptoms associated with fibroids before they go to clinics for checkup. This has an effect of magnifying the symptoms associated with fibroids on African American women than any other race when they visit medical centers.
Obesity and being overweight is also a theory presumed to cause fibroids (HealthUnlocked, 2015). A large population of African American women are considered obese and although this is not a matter of concern, it may be regarded as a reason. Overweight and obese women are considered to produce more oestrogen than their fit peers. Since oestrogen is the hormone responsible for fibroids, an increase in its content in the body increases the likelihood of fibrosis.
TYPES OF FIBROIDS
A slight review of the types of fibroids is an informative step towards African American women mitigating fibriosis. Fibriosis has four primary types which develops in different locations in the uterus.
Intramural fibroids are the most common type and they appear within the muscular walls of the uterus. They can grow larger and can cause the womb to stretch. They can cause excessive menstrual bleedings which will lead to prolonged menstrual periods.
Sub serosal fibroids occur in the outer walls of the uterus. They grow outwardly and increase in size. As a consequence, the growth usually increases pressure on the surrounding organs. These fibroids are accompanied with pelvic pain and pressure. The fibroids do not cause any change in menstruation cycles of women.
Submucosal fibroids are the least common type. Tumors grow in the underpart of the uterine wall. The tumors can grow and get large. This can cause excessive bleeding and prolonged menstrual cycles. If not quickly treated they can cause infertility and due to the heavy bleeding incurred, patients can develop anemia.
Pediculate fibroids are the type of tumors that grow and develop a sort of stem .These tumors develop at the cavity of the uterine walls. Its symptoms include pain and pressure. It is also common for women to have all these types of fibroids and it may also be difficult for women to understand which fibroid is causing some symptoms.
METHODS OF DETERMINING PRESENCE OF FIBROIDS
Due to the various studies indicating the prevalence of fibroids among African Americans than any other race, these women are encouraged to check the presence of fibroids through various methods (UCLA obstetrics and Gynecology, 2017). It has been observed that African American women tend to procrastinate visiting a gynecologist for fibroids checkup. It is estimated that 32% of women of this race tend to wait about five years to seek medical attention in comparison to 17% of the white women (HealthDay, n.d.).
These methods, though very crucial and very expensive, require a professional gynecologist who can perform a thorough pelvic exam. The most common method of diagnosis is the ultrasound. This is a method that, as its name suggests, uses sounds of very high frequency to do a diagnosis of the uterus. From the sounds produced an image of the uterus is produced and can be observed on a screen. From the screen, the internal organs and the fibroids, if present, can be observed. If the clarity of the images is not good, a transvaginal ultrasound can be used. This is a method that uses a device insertable to the vagina to produce clearer images. The proximity of this device to the uterus enables it to produce much clearer images.
An x ray is one of the most common methods of producing images of bones and other internal organs. It is this energy that can be used to indicate the presence of fibroids in the uterus of a woman. An advancement of this method is the Hysterosalpingography which is a form of x ray that is used mainly to prevent obstruction of the fallopian tubes. The method gives an image of the fallopian tubes and the ovary.
Hysteroscopy is a method that uses some sort of an instrument to view the interior organs of a woman such as the uterus and the cervical canal. The instrument is inserted into the uterus via the vagina. Anemia is an indication of heavy blood loss from the body and if this is caused by fibroids, then a blood test will be sufficient. If the blood test is not sufficient to indicate the presence of fibroids endometrial biopsy or magnetic resonance imaging may be used. Endometrial biopsy is a method whereby a sample of the uterus tissue is observed after its removal from the body through a tube. In comparison, magnetic resonance imaging is a procedure that uses some magnetic frequency to obtain two dimensional images of the uterus without having to insert any device into the vagina.
SYMPTONS ASSOCIATED WITH FIBROIDS.
Some types of fibroids do not indicate any symptoms but some have symptoms. This can be because of the severity of the disorder. Fibroids cause change in menstrual cycle of women. Most women menstrual cycle occur after a period of 28 days .In this they bleed for approximate four or five days. The regularity of this cycle is mostly associated with their general wellness with irregular menstrual cycle a result of abnormal abdominal activities. In this cycle fibroids can change the cycle and the period of their occurrence. Women will experience excessive bleedings and painful crumps in the back and the lower abdomen.
Fibroids can also cause pain and pressure to the pelvis. Pressure in the pelvis can make women to have frequent urinations. This is because the pressure applied on the bladder by the tumor decreases the holding capacity. Furthermore, it can also cause some severe pain in the pelvis due to the twisting of the stalk, or degeneration of the fibroid.
Pain during and after sexual intercourse can also be associated with fibroid tumors. In this case, there is also loss of libido and women tend to have no urge for sex anymore. The pain in sex is mostly caused by large fibroids that increase pressure on the uterus making it painful for sex. Furthermore, tumors can grow in the virginal tract making it painful and unpleasant during penetration. The growing of tumors in the cervical area can also cause bleedings during sexual intercourse (Mclucas, 2012).
Large Fibroids compressing the rectum can cause constipations (Oz, n.d.).This is because the uterus lies directly in front of the end of the colon (Lipman, n.d.).
TREATMENTS OF FIBROIDS FOR BLACK AMERICAN WOMEN.
African American women facing one or more of the stated symptoms may be encouraged to see a gynaecologist. Various treatment methods are available. One method is hysterectomy. This is a surgical procedure for removing the whole or some parts of the uterus. Hysterectomy among African American women is at high rate as compared to other ethnic groups (Armeli, 2016).The high rate of this type of treatment in African Americans women is attributed to the fact that the fibroids in them are mostly large and many. Many African-Americans may opt for this method because it might be the only method of treatment they probably are given .On the contrary, this method may leave them unable to bear children.
Myomectomy is a surgical procedure whereby doctors remove a specific fibroid. Myomectomy takes merely an hour in the hospital and a month for women to fully recover and get back to their lives. It reduces the risk of ladies infertility. Also, depending on the location of the fibroid, women can opt for the non-surgical endometrial ablation procedure. This procedure destroys the uterine lining and the endometrium. This procedure is mainly done by the use of laser beams.
Medicinal treatments for fibroids are also available. Lupron is a medicine used in treating excessive bleeding caused by fibroids. The medicine assists in shrinking the size and growth of Fibroids. This is less painful and highly effective (Overstreet, 2016).
Last but not least is embolization of the uterine artery. This involves the blocking of the blood flowing to the fibroid making it shrink in size and eventually disintegration. The procedure is administered using the catheter. Small objects are injected into the artery so as to block the blood flowing into the Tumor (Overstreet, 2016).
THE EFFECTS OF FIBROIDS.
Fibroids cause heavy bleeding to women in their menstruation period which can lead to depression, fatigue and in the long run, Anemia. Fibroids attach themselves to the linings of the cervix and reduce the ability for the body to stop bleeding. This leads to excessive bleeding which leads to the loss of Red blood cells. Anemia can lead to life threatening diseases such as heart attack, angina and Heart failure (Mackoul, n.d.).
Fibroids can cause pregnancy complications which include pain, fever, nausea and vomiting. The pain associated with fibroids in pregnancy period is mostly felt since the fibroids tends to become large. The accelerated growth is because of the estrogen produced during the pregnancy period. If the fibroid is located near the placenta it may bring complications to the fetus. This is because fibroids can block blood flow .In effect, the child may be smaller than average and may have complications in breathing.
Fibroid can also cause virginal delivery be more complicated and impossible since it may have blocked the virginal tract. Fibroids have also been associated to some preterm birth of children. They grow and they break women’s water which later leads to premature birth of children. Fibroids lead to hysterectomy which makes doctors to remove the womb and it may lead to barrenness (Carrol, 2016).
Fibroids can also lead to infertility. In this case, fibroids can change the shape of the cervix limiting the numbers of sperms entering the womb. Some of them block the passage to the fallopian tube making it difficult for the fertilized eggs to reach the fallopian tube. Furthermore, fibroids weakens the uterus linings and hence limits blood supply to the baby which may cause miscarriage ( Nordqvist, 2017).
Fibroids can cause a rare type of cancer whereby the cancer cells develop inside the fibroid.
Other complications caused by fibroids are internal bleedings and renal failure. Fibroids can block and pressure the ureters leading to distention and hydro nephrosis which brings complications to the kidney. Furthermore, Pressure on veins can lead to blood clotting which can then be circulated to the heart causing cardiovascular problems and complications. Most of these problems are caused by large fibroids but can be caused by smaller ones depending on their locations (Mackoul, n.d.).
Black women tend to have the hysteria revolving around having fibroids. The delay in getting medical treatment from the doctor is one of the major causes causing prevalence among this race. If fibroids are discovered at an early stage, they can be easily treated but after further development, more advanced treatment methods may be required.one such method may include the complete removal of the uterus which women naturally fear.
Lastly, difficulty in comparing the prevalence of fibroids in African women and the African American is mainly due to the difference in the medical standards of Africa and Europe. Introduction of better health facilities in Africa can be a step towards more development and the formulation of theories to explain the prevalence in fibroids in the black race.
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