Health + Wellness

Black Women With Fibroids Need To See a Sub-Specialist, Here’s Why


Surgery for uterine fibroids can often be done through minimally invasive techniques that avoid a hospital stay. But Black and Hispanic women may be less likely to receive these treatments, a recent study finds.

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the uterus. Sometimes they cause no problems, but when they do — like heavy monthly bleeding and pain — treatment may be necessary.

What are your treatment options?

One option is surgery: a myomectomy, which removes just the fibroids; or a hysterectomy, which removes the uterus. Either surgery can often be done in a minimally invasive way — vaginally or through small incisions in the abdomen.

Yet in the new study, researchers found that Black and Hispanic women often did not receive those less extensive procedures — instead getting traditional surgery, with a large abdominal incision and a hospital stay.

RELATED: Why Are Black Women Twice as Likely To Get a Hysterectomy?

Why the disparity?

The reasons are not completely clear, according to researchers.

But the investigators did find that Black and Hispanic women were less likely than white women to see a doctor who specialized in minimally invasive techniques.

Uterine fibroids are very common, but especially so among Black women, says researcher Dr. Rebecca Schneyer, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles.

Studies show that about 80% of Black women will have uterine fibroids by age 50, as will 70% of white women. But Black women typically develop them sooner: By some estimates, one-quarter of Black women have fibroids by age 30.

They are also more prone to having numerous or large fibroids, suffer more intense symptoms, and more often undergo

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