Uterine fibroids affect millions of women around the world, with an estimated 20 to 70 percent of women developing the condition at some point in their lifetimes. The impact of living with fibroids crosses international and cultural barriers, but treatment options and the stigma around publicly discussing the condition varies by country.
In honour of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Health Day, we’re profiling women from around the world who are creating a better future for women with fibroids by boosting awareness and smashing taboos around discussing the subject.
If you think that you have Uterine Fibroids use our free symptom checker here.
India: Debina Bonnerjee
Bollywood actress Debina Bonnerjee has emerged as an iconic figure in Indian cinema. With a staggering 2.4 million Instagram followers, Debina has an engaged audience of fans who look to her as a source of guidance and inspiration on a number of different topics. But beyond providing tips regarding common influencer topics, such as beauty and healthy eating, Debina has leveraged her platform to share her personal experiences dealing with infertility and fibroids.
Debina has posted several YouTube videos in which she bravely detailed her struggles to conceive. After becoming pregnant, Debina revealed that she was suffering from complications, including two uterine fibroids that were growing simultaneously with her baby. Debina’s radical honesty about her difficulties in becoming pregnant, as well as the recent discovery of fibroids, helps fight back against stigma regarding discussions on gynaecological health.
Nigeria: Ini Dima-Okojie
Nigerian actress Ini Dima-Okojie was open about her December 2020 fibroid removal surgery, saying she’d struggled with the condition for several years. “I found out I had fibroids in 2017, I remember freaking out so much,” she wrote on her Instagram account.
“To the women out there dealing with fibroids. I know what a lonely road it can be… not to talk of the pain and discomfort.” She also referenced intense bloating often referred to as “fibroid belly,” sharing that she had “ignorant ‘congrats on your pregnancy’ comments to deal with. It’s okay, they don’t know any better.”
Ini added that her inbox was open to any followers that want advice or tips for dealing with fibroids. For her followers who may not be comfortable speaking with friends or family about their condition, Ini provided a lifeline of support to women with fibroids who feel isolated and embarrassed. And by publicly speaking out about fibroids, Ini is raising awareness about the condition among her 804,000 followers, many of whom may not have known about fibroids or their symptoms.
Canada: Sasha Exeter
This Canadian influencer boldly went public about her fibroid struggle, revealing that she had the condition for 20 years and only recently underwent surgery to relieve her symptoms. The mother-of-one was outspoken about the fact that she struggled during the healing process.
“The beginning of the recovery has sucked not going to lie (my bladder seems to be the last to bounce back) but I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to be on the other side of this,” she wrote on her Instagram account, which has nearly 200,000 followers.
Sasha also spoke out on social media about feeling like she had been ignored by doctors, and encouraged women to advocate for themselves and take charge of their health. “I was flooded with messages from so many of you who shared your own struggles with the same thing,” she wrote.
We commend these brave women for leveraging their platforms and large followings to encourage women to take ownership of their health, advocate for themselves in medical settings, and speak about living with fibroids without shame or fear. By speaking up about uterine fibroids, they’ve helped educate millions about the condition and made women living with fibroids understand that they’re not alone.
Learn more about how you can become a voice for the Uterine Fibroids cause here.