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Take Charge: Fight Fibroids

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By Petula Renee Lloyd

I would like to introduce a timely and much-needed book. It's a subject that most Black women have discussed with their families and girlfriends. Black men even know about it. It's called fibroids.

Although I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up Monique R. Brown's book, "It's A Sistah Thing: A Guide to Understanding and Dealing with Fibroids for Black Women," I knew I didn't want to read another boring health book about another medical problem that affects African-American women more than any other group.

But I pushed those thoughts aside and delved into a subject that needs to be better understood by all.

"It's A Sistah Thing" is anything but a "boring health book." Brown begins by relaying her experiences with fibroids opening her heart to share one of the most devastating experiences of her life.

"At first, my fibroids were nothing more than a menace," Brown writes in her introduction. "I'd be hanging out with my friends and start to experience a leaky-faucet sensation.

Upon checking things out, I'd find that I was in the red literally." Brown's experiences included a "menstrual cycle that never seemed to end" and, initially, a gynecologist who seemed unconcerned with her symptoms.

At one point she would only leave the house if she was wearing "three sanitary napkins, one tampon and a pair of Depends (adult diapers)," all of which only lasted her about 45 minutes.

It wasn't until Brown took a proactive approach to her health that things changed. For readers who are experiencing fibroids, this book will hopefully empower them to aggressively seek medical solutions.

For others who are simply looking for information, "It's A Sistah Thing" may assist them in taking preventative measures or in sharing the information with a sistah-friend.

Aside from the testimonials of Brown and various women, included is factual and informative information attributed to medical professionals and written in a conversational and easy-to-follow manner.

There's also space for note-taking and personal review.

Brown's book discusses everything from establishing clear communication with the physician and choosing the right treatment to evaluating nontraditional alternatives and how fibroids affect fertility.

There's so much useful information that the reader may believe they're able to make a self-diagnosis, but assumptions still shouldn't be made.

There are often conditions that may mimic fibroids, which is discussed in the chapter "Copycat Syndromes: Other conditions resembling fibroids."

Even with the information presented, Brown insists that it's best to allow a doctor to make the diagnosis.

"It's A Sistah Thing" provides the necessary information and encouragement, from a sistah who knows what she's talking about, to empower everyone to take action against a disease that is plaguing our women.

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