RALEIGH, N.C. -- July is fibroid awareness month, an initiative created to draw attention to uterine fibroids. Fibroids, noncancerous growths of the uterus, often appearing during childbearing years, affect 70 to 80 percent of all women between 35 and 54.
Nationally recognized obstetrician Dr. Jessica Shepherd said fibroids impact Black women even more at 70-75%
When asked where they come from and why they happen, Dr. Shepherd responded: "That's the million-dollar question."
Some women experience heavy bleeding, or present with a mass during an exam, but doctors don't know what causes the symptoms.
Dr. Shepherd said they are dedicating time and resources to learning more about fibroids.
"Looking at research knowing why we start to see certain fibroids start earlier in life more symptomatic and being able to have a cause and effect so that we can again do more for these women than we've seen in the past," she said.
Local doctor Melody Baldwin at Duke said giving the diagnosis can be very scary for patients.
"Because most women have some frame of reference for fibroids, whether it's friends or family. And they hear you know, terrible periods or infertility and they start to worry about kind of what this means for their lives. They start to worry, 'Do I need a hysterectomy?'" she said.
Both want to educate women so they don't feel isolated.
"Because we do have things that can significantly improve quality of life. And that's really our goal with fibroids, you know, there are some women that don't have significant symptoms. And that's great if they don't need more information, but there are others that it really affects how they're able to function. And we want to restore as much of that functionality as we can.
We are working on an in-depth story on how fibroids affect women in our local area. If you are someone who would like to share your story about fibroids, feel free to reach out to Tamara Scott.
If you would like more information on fibroids, click here.