Tamika Haywood on living with fibroids | Unheard

Tamika Haywood opens up about her fibroids journey, 'I was immediately told a hysterectomy is necessary in this situation’

July is Fibroids Awareness Month and in the latest episode of theGrio’s series “Unheard,”
producer, dj and artist, Tamika Haywood, is opening up about her journey with fibroids.

Tamika Haywood speaks on fibroids for theGrio's "Unheard."
Tamika Haywood speaks on fibroids for theGrio’s “Unheard.”
(Photo: Joseph Stancavich)

Haywood learned she had fibroids when she was pregnant with her daughter 15 years ago.

Uterine fibroids, also known as myomas or leiomyomas, are non-cancerous tumors of the uterus and [are] extremely common in women, especially women of the African diaspora, explains Dr. Ellison, associate director of gynecology at Maimonides Medical Center.

Dr.Thomasena Ellison
Associate Director of Gynecology at Maimonides Medical Center.
(Photo: Joseph Stancavich)

“The great majority of women who have fibroids (and seven out of ten women will have fibroids), one of the symptoms is no symptom at all,” explains Ellison. 

“But women who tend to have symptoms, 25% of those women will have symptoms of abnormal uterine bleeding, heavy menstrual cycles, cycles that are too long, cycles that are irregular, cycles that are unpredictable, ” Ellison continues. “They come whenever they want. So that’s one of the main symptoms.”

Navigating the medical system was stressful for Haywood, who was automatically told she had to get a hysterectomy–removal of the uterus.

“My first visit with a doctor, letting them know I have fibroids, we didn’t do any testing yet,” recalls Haywood. 

“We didn’t take a sonogram, ultrasound yet to see where they [were] placed,” she continues. “She immediately told me, you have to get a hysterectomy without even looking at my stomach, without even looking to see what my medical history is. I was immediately told a hysterectomy is necessary in this situation.”

Haywood did not get a hysterectomy. She seeked another opinion and was referred to Ellison who performed a myomectomy— a surgical procedure  to remove fibroids.

She had 80 tumors removed from her body.

“My doctor let me know that that was the most she ever removed from someone at one time as well as she knew how important it was for me to have removal and not have removal of my uterus,” says Haywood.

“As a Black woman, she understands the struggles that we go through in order to find doctors that are willing to take the time and care that she did.”

Check out the full video above to learn more about Haywood’s story.

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!