This is a video from 2016 when I initially started Fibroidology, to illustrate how toxic commercial pads were because of their ingredients. Toxic ingredients include: unknown fragrance chemicals, dioxins and furans, pesticides, adhesive chemicals just to name a few.
Anemia: What Does That Really Mean?
As a child, I recall seeing a lot of women in my family eating “dirt”, “ chalk” and or eating ice. One vivid memory involves my mom, a spoon and box of Argo starch and the laundry room was their common meeting ground where she would take maybe a tablespoon or two every now and then. Being the curious child that I was, I was inclined to taste the Argo starch too, and I coughed, chocked and gasped for air with disgust. How could anyone like the taste of that? Although it was a norm for me to see my family members eat those types of things, unbeknownst to me, it was a medical condition that was not diagnosed. The women of my family were experiencing PICA as a result anemia. PICA can be defined as an abnormal desire to substances not normally eaten e.g. chalk, dirt, hair, ice, ashes and much more. Whereas anemia is classified as a condition marked by a deficiency of red blood cells (RBC) or of hemoglobin (Hb) in the blood, so what does that really mean? What does having fibroids have to do with anemia?
Scientific chatter can be boring, but try to image this because it’s important. The body is composed of many cells and RBCs happens to be one of them. Each RBC contains several Hb molecules that houses iron that transports oxygen into the body and carbon dioxide out of the body. Why is that important? Because besides, the O2 and CO2 exchange with Hb, iron is essential to produce new cells, hormones, neurotransmitters and amino acids. Therefore a deficit in iron can lease to anemia.
Most women that suffer from fibroids, experience anemia and if anemia worsens then PICA can develop. Women plagued with fibroids experience heaving bleeding and sometimes hemorrhaging that leads to anemia. Bleeding heavily every month or for months at a time doesn’t allow the body to replenish what was lost. My personal experiences with heavy cycles caused anemia and resulted in heart palpitations, weakness, shortness of breath and light-headedness with position changes. With those signs and symptoms many medical doctors will prescribe iron supplements that resulted in dark stool, constipation, stomach pain and more. I eventually found Floradix, a plant based iron that work well for my symptoms of anemia, without causing constipation. Although supplements provided me a jump start, what if I was able to combat my anemia with the foods that I ate.
To combat anemia with the foods, certain things in your diet should be avoided and certain things need to be increase. The main culprits that inhibited my iron absorption included:
- Black/green tea
The above mentions were stables in my diet and I believed that they were truly helping me, well except for the coffee. LOL! However some of the foods that I really never ate before assisted in combating anemia and they include:
- Hemp seeds
- Sea Moss
Now growing up in the country I was exposed to southern cuisine e.g grits, eggs, mac n cheese, fried chicken, collard, salmon croquettes, catfish stew, beets and the list goes on. My grandmother nor my mother for that matter served dandelion tea, it was Lipton’s, water, kool aid or nothing at all. Nor did they know anything about hemp seeds or sea moss, in the words of my grandmother, “You need a colorful plate and that’s a balance meal”. My grandmothers’ philosophy still applies but takes the time to research foods that increase iron absorption and incorporate things into you diet that you have never tried before. Dare to be different, try different foods, teas, etc, and take over your health. The healing starts with you and and the foods that you choose to ingest.. Let the healing begin.
MY STORY & MY STRUGGLE WITH FIBROIDS: KATHRYN BAILEY
Fibroid Awareness is Month has passed in the state of Georgia, but sharing your story can provide hope for other women as they fight their fibroids in silence. Featuring Kathryn Bailey and her story -remember no story is the same, every journey is different.
When I was 16 years old, I learned my mother had fibroid tumors growing in her uterus. She had been living with them for years (and all that entails) but by this time they had grown to the size of a 6-month old fetus. So at the age of 46, she opted to have a hysterectomy.
Fast forward 13 years (2010), and I received my own diagnosis of fibroid tumors. I know that fibroid tumors can increase the pain and bleeding during your menstrual cycle. However I have always had really bad cramps and heavy bleeding so I had no reason to believe that I had fibroid tumors. The OBGYN who diagnosed me told me that they were small and as long as they don’t bother me we wouldn’t worry about them.
In 2013 was told by my new OBGYN that my fibroids had grown and that I might want to consider surgery. I told her that they weren’t bothering me and I would just wait until they did. Well about a month later I noticed that I had to urinate often throughout the day and even more so at night. I would wake up 4 times during the night just to use the bathroom. I thought maybe I was drinking too many liquids at night so I tried to limit them before bed time. Nothing seemed to help. I was so exhausted that I began to wonder what could be causing and then it finally hit me. My fibroids were pressing on my bladder. I went to see my OBGYN and told her about the frequent urination and we decided that the fibroids had to go. There were several sonograms and MRIs to determine the approximate size and location of my fibroids. The results from these tests showed two fibroids (one baseball size and one golf ball size) on the outside of my uterus (subserosal). My OBGYN opted for a laproscopic myomectomy that would take 2 hr to complete, followed by an overnight stay at the hospital.
Once they began surgery, my OBGYN found that the sonogram and MRI did not tell the whole story. Instead of only two fibroids there was another massive fibroid (my OBGYN called it a “monster”) on the back side of my uterus that the sonogram and MRI missed. She guessed it was between 10 and 12 inches long as she was not able to measure it during surgery. My 2 hr surgery turned into 5 hr and I was in the hospital for 4 days. During the surgery I lost a lot of blood and my OBGYN was concerned that I was bleeding internally. She ordered another MRI to make sure that I wasn’t bleeding because if I was, she was going to do a hysterectomy. Thankfully, the MRI showed not internal bleeding as I was devastated at the thought of never being able to have children. Although I wasn’t bleeding, my blood count was still really low. I have never been so aware of my own heartbeat before. It felt like my heart was working overtime to circulate the blood through my body and with each heartbeat I had a pounding headache. I felt like I was dying. I was given a blood transfusion (I needed two bags of blood) after which I felt much better. After I was released from the hospital my recovery was pretty smooth and I returned to work after 3 weeks.
Three months after surgery, I had another sonogram done and two small fibroids were found. Over the past 4 years, my OBGYN has monitored their growth but for the most part, they have not gotten much bigger. In addition to exercising more throughout the week, my OBGYN suggested decreasing my dairy intake, with these changes I have avoided surgery and maintained a healthy lifestyle.
Fibroid Awareness Month Centerstage: Dedra Williams
Don’t Stand In The Sun…You Will Get Black
One thing I recall from my childhood is that I was darker than everyone else, darker than everyone at my school, in my after school program and amongst other places .I also noticed that not too many people were happy with how they looked or appreciated the color of their skin. With that in mind, I noticed that people took bleach baths, used bleaching cream, avoided drinking coffee and avoided being in the sun at all cost…because of fear of getting darker. Being dark skinned wasn’t something that I was particularly proud of and didn’t recognize it’s power until adulthood. It seemed like my cousins and friends that were lighter had special privileges, so if my family /associates treated darker skin people that way, how was I suppose to feel about myself? Of course I was in the sun during long summers in Tifton, GA and when participating in extra curricular activities throughout my life e.g. band, cross-country, but I was never a sun worshiper by any means. It takes my mom to tell you that I am the only person that moved to Florida and got lighter…LOL because I never went outside nor did I ever enjoy the sun.
While at an annual physical my physician tested my vitamin D levels and they were extremely low in which I was prescribed vitamin D. To my surprise I had signs and symptoms of vitamin D decency and didn’t even know it. Signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include but not limited to:
- Getting sick often
- Never feeling rested
- Bone and back pain
- Impaired wound healing
- Bone loss
- Hair loss
- Muscle Pain
Geesh if I would have known all that could happen I would have stood in the sun every second, minute, hour and so on. Although I was taking vitamin D3 supplements, I still didn’t understand the importance of being in the actual sun. From my understanding since I wasn’t close to the equator, I wasn’t absorbing a lot of vitamin D from the sun anyway right? WRONG! I couldn’t be more wrong, I recently heard a M3P featuring Gessie Thompson, Dr. Amsu and Dr. Amun and they discussed the importance of the sun, and never did they mention the sun making you black, but it actually aided in healing. The Doctors(s) mentioned that the sun was the best source of vitamin D and emits 3 rays to include UVA (harmful), UVB and UVC. UVB and UVC are the most important rays and the closer you are to the equator the more UVB and UVC you receive. It was also mentioned that Vitamin D is important when dealing with inflammatory issues and is a very powerful antitumor agent that inhibits human uterine fibroid cells. Many diseases processes develop secondary to inflammation, and guess what? Fibroids do too. It has been statically proven that women with low vitamin D levels are at higher risk for developing fibroids when compared to women with higher vitamin D levels. My physician recommended that my vitamin D blood levels remain >than 50 ng/mL in an effort to shrink my fibroids naturally, hence the importance of the sun and diet. Vitamin D has been known to enhance the minerals in your body and increase your vitality. Please keep in mind that you don’t get vitamin D from the sun but from the actual rays from the sun via melanin in your body, so isn’t my HUE or your HUE and Melanin beautiful?
Different hues exist and are beautiful in their own right, but it turns out that the darker the skin, the more it’s protected against skin cancer but the less able it is to absorb UVB rays. (one reason why African American women may suffer from fibroids more than women with lighter hues). If you’re fairer skin, you would need only a few minutes in the sun without sunscreen, but if you’re of darker hue more time would be required to be in the sun to received the same amounts of vitamin D. Vitamin D we received from the sun and various foods helps protect against but not limited to the following:
- Heart disease
- Cancers of the breast, prostate and colon
- Protecting against depression
- Overactive immune system.
So if you are of darker hue, appreciate the kiss from the sun that you have, suppress the childhood memories that try to remind you that your hue is not beautiful, and stand in the sun for longer periods of time and absorb that vitamin D, so that you can have a healthy body and dissolve your fibroids naturally.
Massage My What? Yes Massage that Yoni
While attending a uterine fibroid embolization workshop, I met two older ladies that healed themselves from fibroids with dietary changes, self-care, a belief in a higher power and massaging their vagina (yoni). When I heard them say that I just had to ask, “Do you mean masturbate or actually just massage your yoni? They said both were important for female health, but they were referring to massaging the external parts of the vagina. So why was this so important? and why I was this my first time hearing about this? I mean I have heard of masturbation, but not vaginal massage.
Vaginal or Yoni massage should be 5-10 minutes a day and has several benefits to include:
- Boost suppleness and increase circulation of the skin of the vulva and vagina
- Loosen the muscles of the pelvic floor
- Intensifies orgasms and better vaginal health
- Improve well-being and sensuousness
- Reverse vaginal atrophy for menopausal women
- Assist with child birth, daily massage of vaginal and pernieal massage after 35th week, can decrease perineal tears during childbirth
- Provide intimacy with sexual partner
- Increase natural lubrications of the vagina during and before sexual intercourse
So now that we have the benefits out of the way, how do you actually perform the act of vaginal massage? Vaginal massage can be used for external and internal massage using water based gel, lubricant, olive oil, Vitamin E and/or organic coconut oil. Can you believe that some women are actually paying for professional vaginal massages and an organism isn’t the main reason women are doing this? So lets compare a self-massage versus a professional massage shall we.
Self-vaginal massage will go something like this:
- While in the nude, lie down and apply a water based gel/lubricant/coconut oil to the middle or index finer
- Push into the skin with circular strikes and massage deeply into the vaginas surface including the inner lips, the hood, head of the clitoris and perineum (the skin and muscle between the vagina and anus)
- Move through your yoni until you reach the opening canal and use the same circular motion and proceed with internal vaginal massage if you desire to
- To continue the internal massage, some people chose to use a dildo to stimulate the vaginal canal, while others just chose to massage the external region of the yoni
A vaginal masseuse treats a vaginal massage as a ceremony in which several aspects of the female anatomy is assessed and treated.
Professional Vaginal Massage will be different from the Self- vaginal Massage:
- Deep breathing exercises are initiated to bring awareness to the clients body and pelvic floor or even rolling on an exercise ball to engage the pelvis
- The clients body is then massaged with essential oil(s) with focus on erogenous zones e.g breast, nape of neck, inner thigh, followed by a hip flexor stretch
- The client is placed in butterfly position and the masseuse places their hands on the clients vulva and the client is asked to repeat breathing exercises. (Masseuse wear gloves throughout this process)
- The client is constantly asked how she feels, if the client is willing, the massage therapist will analyze the inside of the woman’s vagina and if a tight spot is found the masseuse presses it and the client is asked to contract around the fingers of the therapist and release.
- Some people have an orgasm, but the massage is more about discovering what makes you feel good and emotional release.
So you may be wondering, how much this cost? And can I afford something like that? It can typically cost 300.00 or more for this vaginal massage. If you ask me, what better way to incorporate self care by doing a vaginal massage on yourself. The frequency in which vaginal massage should be done varied from daily to once a week, but I believe it’s your preference. Another article I read suggested after urinating, to use some coconut oil after wiping, but just like anything else, do what works for you. And what better way to find out what works for you than by experimenting. Vaginal massage is perfectly normal and has been in existence for some time, but err on the side of caution if you are prone to yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and/or bacterial infections.
I grew up hearing the older people saying “there is nothing new under the sun” and guess what? They were right. I would have never thought that an older woman in her late 60’s or early 70’s would inform me of vaginal massage and how essential it was to healing. Healing involves the mind, body and soul, so why not try something new that can deepen your connection with yourself, your emotions and your partner.