While uterine fibroids — which are abnormal growths that can develop in a woman's uterus — aren't something that I've personally had to deal with, because I am a doula, I've had several clients who've struggled with them when it comes to trying to conceive and/or when it comes to safely carrying their baby to term; that's why, I've done quite a bit of research on them over the years. Interestingly enough, reportedly 80 percent of women will develop them over some point in their lifetime and a quarter of us, between the ages of 18-30 will get them in comparison to six percent of white women.
As far as what causes these particular kinds of fibroids, they've been linked to the roller coaster ride of hormones, pregnancy (due to pretty much the same thing), obesity and DNA. As far as Black women go, it needs to also go on record that more and more studies are linking uterine fibroids to the use of hair relaxers as well. So, if when it comes to your period, you are experiencing heavy cramping (or increased cramping), a lot of clots or that your period is lasting longer than it typically does or, beyond that, you're having pain during intercourse, swelling in your abdominal area or that you've been having to pee more usual, make an appointment to see your doctor, just so they can be sure that fibroids aren't the cause.
No matter what the outcome of your visit, please be intentional about your diet because, believe it or not, there are foods that can help to prevent and heal fibroids and there are foods that can trigger the growth of them at every turn. Let's look at five of each.
Five Foods to Eat to Help Heal Fibroids
If you've ever said to yourself, "What the heck are legumes?", beans, peas, lentils, soybeans and peanuts are all considered to be a part of the legume family. If the next question is "What makes them different from beans?", the technical answer is they are the leaves, stems and pods of a plant while beans are just the seeds. With that out of the way, legumes are good for you because they are loaded with antioxidants; the kind that help to fight off cell damage and reduce signs of aging (inside and out).
Legumes also have a reputation for reducing the risk of heart disease and cholesterol. When it comes to helping to prevent or heal fibroids, what makes them really effective is legumes are high in fiber which makes it easier for your system to get rid of the kinds of toxins that could either help to create a uterine fibroid or "feed it" so that it gets bigger or lasts longer.
If you like to cook with fresh garlic, good for you, sis. Garlic has potent medicinal properties in it. Garlic can help to reduce your blood pressure. Garlic has a reputation for increasing athletic performance. Garlic even adds to longevity. Fibroids hate garlic because the antioxidants and sulfur in it fights off the kinds of free radicals that can lead to the development of uterine fibroids over time. Not only that but sulfur is a powerful healer and has been known to help heal scars caused by fibroids too.
Something that I sometimes take in supplement form are flaxseeds. Flaxseeds are good for you because they're a good source of fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Not only that, flaxseeds can help to lower your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, plus they're great at helping you to feel fuller which can curb your appetite, so that you end up losing weight.
What makes them great for uterine fibroid health? I read a study that said some of the properties in them caused hens with uterine fibroids to end up with 40 percent less of them over time, just by adding 10 percent of flaxseeds to their diet. To me, that's a good enough reason to at least give flaxseeds a shot.
4. Non-Gluten Grains
When you get a chance, feel free to check out the article, "8 Reasons Whole Grains Are Good For You. 4 Reasons To Eat Them In Moderation." that I wrote for the site not too long ago. Since it covers a good amount of ground about why whole grains are good for you, what I'll just say, specifically, as it relates to uterine fibroid prevention and healing, is whole grains that don't have any gluten in them (which is a protein in wheat that doesn't really have much nutritional value although it's not all bad either; mindbodygreen did a good article on its benefits that you can check out here).
Some of those foods include brown rice, buckwheat and millet. All of these are beneficial because the antioxidants, protein and fiber in them can help to protect against uterine fibroid growth while improving the health of your uterus overall.
5. Organic Produce
Since fresh fruits and veggies are loaded with nutrients, including fiber which helps to keep us regular, it makes complete and total sense why they would be the kind of food that helps to prevent and also heal uterine fibroids. The key is to make sure that you go with the kind that are organic. Why? Well, that means they don't have any of the fertilizers and pesticides that are oftentimes used in order to make produce last longer.
I already know — organic produce at local grocery stores is like paying rent. This is just one more reason to support your local farmers market. Stuff is cheaper and typically so much fresher. Plus, you're supporting your local farmers when you decide to go that route.
Five Foods to Avoid in Order to Prevent Fibroid Growth
1. Refined Sugar
Remember how I said in the intro that obesity is connected to uterine fibroid growth? It's no secret that perhaps the leading cause of so many people being overweight in this country is refined sugar, so that's enough of a reason to cut back a bit. However, another reason why refined sugar isn't really a good look is because it can throw your hormone levels off. Imbalanced hormones can lead to inflammation and fibroid growth. When it comes to (refined) sugar, less is certainly best (check out "Ever Wonder If You've Got A Low-Key Sugar Addiction?").
The two hormones that can trigger the growth of uterine fibroids are estrogen and progesterone. That said, the reason why the consumption of soy can be a real problem when it comes to uterine fibroids is because it contains phytoestrogens which is a compound that mimics estrogen. So, if soy is totally your thing but you want to do all that you can to keep uterine fibroids at bay, you might want to consider eating a lot less of it.
Something that can put a lot of stress onto your liver is caffeine and when your liver isn't working at its best, that can play a role in your hormones not being as balanced as they would need to be in order to keep you from experiencing uterine fibroids. No one is saying you have to ditch your java altogether, but if you're drinking more than 2-3 cups a day, definitely cut back. (Speaking of your liver, do some research on milk thistle when you get a chance. It's an herb that helps to detoxify your liver. Whenever I take it, I can actually see a real difference.)
4. Fatty Processed Meat
Red meat is high in iron and Vitamin B12; since these are two nutrients that we, as Black women, are oftentimes low in, that's a good reason to not feel bad about having an occasional steak or burger. At the same time, it's always a good idea to remember that moderation is key when it comes to meat consumption and, if you want to avoid getting fibroids, you should definitely tiptoe around processed meats (meats that were made via the process of curing, salting, smoking, drying or canning).
Some examples of processed meats include cured bacon, hotdogs, ham, sausage and salami. The reason why these are problematic for uterine fibroids is because they have a lot of additives that can also throw your hormones off. Some even have more estrogen put into them and you definitely want to avoid that as much as you can.
5. “White Stuff”
White bread. White pasta. White rice. You get it. Something that all of these things have in common is they are refined carbs which means they've got very little nutritional value to them. This is a not-so-good thing overall but what makes them suck when it comes to uterine fibroids is they can throw your estrogen levels off and cause your fibroids to grow in size. In short, in this instance, "white ain't right", so definitely avoid it as much as possible. Your body, including your uterus, will be oh so grateful. Indeed.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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I didn’t think much could get better about the blissful high that comes with oral. That was until I came across the Kivin Method.
As someone who was never a huge fan of oral sex and could largely take it or leave it, I must admit that I have started to come around in recent years. With my head thrown back, hands gripping sheets and hair, and toes curling from the intense sensations of the work my partner is putting in at my center, I now give myself over to the pleasurable act wholly and unapologetically.
When I came across a way to maximize the pleasure I receive from cunnilingus (already), I had no choice but to tap in. Who knew the key to taking oral sex to new heights was giving it a sideways twist? For those of you who might also be interested in ways to spice up the way you do oral, experience faster and stronger orgasms, or simply want to indulge in something new with your partner, the Kivin Method could definitely be the oral sex technique for you, too.
Keep reading to learn about the method that is sure to have you writhing in ecstasy in no time at all.
What Is The Kivin Method?
For the uninitiated, the Kivin Method is an oral sex technique that focuses on stimulating the clitoris from a different angle. Dubbed “sideways oral” by some, this method involves the action of giving head from a side-to-side movement as opposed to the up-and-down motion that people typically perform when giving head. (If you need a visual, this illustration is helpful.)
The difference in approach as you’re receiving head can be a game-changer in how you receive pleasure. Not only does the giving partner have access to the clitoris, but they can also access more easily the vulva and the labia, which are objectively a bigger focus in this version of cunnilingus. More access means wider coverage, and that, plus the new sensation of oral from a different angle, can heighten the way you experience oral sex that much more.
Where more pleasure flows, intense orgasms are sure to follow.
How To Do The Kivin Method
If you want to know how to do the Kivin Method, it’s actually pretty straightforward. The receiver lays on their back while the giver positions themselves perpendicular to the receiver. Their head will be facing the vulva, but instead of vertical, their face will be horizontal to the vulva.
From there, the giver can get to business, ensuring that they keep their head perpendicular to the receiver’s vulva while working on their craft. Because this technique can be more intense for some receivers, start slowly by stroking the vulva and clitoris sideways with the tongue, and allow sensations and communication from the receiver to be a guide of what you need more or less of with the Kivin Method.
Ultimately, the Kivin Method allows experimentation and unlocking what pressure, rhythm, and tricks work best for the giver and the receiver. Try implementing a finger or two, or adding a sex toy to the mix to intensify the act even further.
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