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MSNBC’s Tiffany Cross opened up about dealing with the condition during her show Cross Connection on the network. The 42-year-old told viewers that she grappled with “debilitating and shooting pain” caused by her fibroids “for years,” PEOPLE noted.

“I endured extremely heavy periods and despite my best working out efforts I had a constantly protruding stomach,” the television personality explained. “After hours in an emergency room one day convincing doctors that there was actually something wrong with me, I discovered that what I was dealing with was not so uncommon at all. Just like more than 25 million other women, I had fibroid tumors.”

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Fibroids are noncancerous tumors that form on the uterus. According to Hopkins Medicine, the fibrous tissue can grow inside the muscle of the uterus or along the uterine cavity. The health organization notes that around 20 to 70 percent of women will develop uterine fibroids during their reproductive years.

Some women experience painful cramps and heavy bleeding during their cycle because of the condition. Fibroids can grow to be very large too, causing the uterus to swell up to “10 times its normal size,” the website notes.  While the condition isn’t considered life-threatening, uterine fibroids can cause significant health problems including infertility, constipation, urinary urgency, anemia, and miscarriage.

Cross revealed that her doctors discovered that she had “five grapefruit-sized fibroids that had to be removed.” The political analyst explained that she initially hesitated to undergo surgery for the condition, thinking that “maybe the pain would go away, but it never did.” She started to develop other symptoms typically associated with fibroids that include hair loss before she finally addressed the matter.

According to Cross, she had two options–her surgeon could cut around the fibroids to remove them as a “temporary fix” that would allow her to still have children or she could receive a full hysterectomy to remove her uterus entirely. However, the journalist hit another roadblock; she had no children, she wasn’t married and she had no health insurance to cover the extensive procedure as she wasn’t fully employed at the time.

“They could remove my uterus entirely and the fibroids and painful periods would be gone. But so too would my ability to carry children,” Cross said. “I was already over 40, I wasn’t married and I had never met this baby I was supposed to have. So, was I to live with pain, go bald and slice my body in half twice? I made the decision that was best for me and opted to have a full hysterectomy.”

Fibroids disproportionately impact Black women at a higher rate than others. A report from the University of Michigan cites that, “nearly a quarter of Black women between 18 and 30 have fibroids compared to about 6% of white women, according to some national estimates. By age 35, that number increases to 60%.”

Cross was able to have the procedure done after she was approved for Obama Care. However, she said she was alarmed upon researching the statistics, and further finding that Black women are often recommended to undergo hysterectomies for the condition rather than seeking non-intrusive alternatives.

“I had a scar as a result of the hysterectomy, and I was so ashamed about it and self-conscious about it,” Cross added. “And how I knew this problem was so prevalent is because, you know, when other women I would talk to them they would say, oh, let me see your scar. Look at my scar.”

If you are someone suffering from fibroids or suspect you may have them, it’s important to talk to your healthcare professional about undergoing the right treatment for your needs. Fibroids are typically diagnosed by ultrasound. Some doctors may choose to also do an MRI of the pelvis as a way to see exactly where the fibroids are.

Check out MADAMENOIRE‘s article on natural remedies you can use at home to possibly ease your symptoms.

 

RELATED CONTENT: Eve Recently Underwent A Myomectomy To Get Rid Of Fibroids And Increase Her Chances Of Getting Pregnant. I Did The Same Thing.

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