Tia Mowry opened up about endometriosis and racial disparities in health.
On Monday, the 42-year-old actress "got vulnerable for a minute" for Endometriosis Awareness Month. Mowry, who was diagnosed in her mid-20s with endometriosis, or endo, a disease that causes the tissue, similar to one that usually grows inside the uterus, to grow outside of the uterus, admitted, "After learning about my diagnosis of endometriosis, I was scared. Scared that I would never be able to have kids."
Mowry, who married husband Cory Hardrict in 2008, shared several pictures from her most recent pregnancy with daughter Cairo, now 2. "The word, infertility, just continued to ring in my ear; I was so focused on that. But, I quickly learned that having endo doesn't necessarily mean your dream of becoming a mother will not come true," she continued in the caption. "Clearly, after some dietary changes, and focusing on my health & wellness, I was able to make becoming a mother a reality for me. Not just once, but twice. So here's to all my endo sisters — continue to hope and continue to heal!"
Most importantly, Mowry called attention to racial disparities in health care, writing, "Did you know that Black women are LESS likely to have their endometriosis diagnosed and MORE likely to be ignored by doctors when we discuss our pain?"
Fans praised Mowry for her transparency and praised her for speaking up for Black women.
"I suffer as well and often speaking with my doctor is like talking to a blank wall," one commenter said.
"Thank you for sharing. I also have Endometriosis, and one day I hope to have children. Your story gives me hope," a fan admitted.
"Yes!! I finally had a doctor acknowledge my pain and diagnose me with my endometriosis at 47! Being pre-menopausal it’s gotten worse and finally my doctor pinpointed my years of complaints and feeling crazy," another person explained.
"You are a light. I love how you are so positive and consistently teach Black women self-care is not selfish. That's a message we as Black women need to hear more often," a fan praised.
According to the U.S. Department of Human Health and Services' Office of Women's Health, 11 percent of girls and women between the ages of 15-44 living in the U.S. have endo. And a 2016 study found that in general, physicians were 47 percent more likely to underestimate the pain of Black patients compared to 33.5 percent in white patients, which was associated with racial bias caused by false beliefs about biological differences and has often caused inaccuracies in treatment recommendations.
Mowry has been outspoken about her struggles with endo along with the ways she has dealt with the disease.
"Once I changed my diet, I started to see change in my body," she said in a 2018 interview with Women's Health. "Not only did my symptoms literally disappear with endometriosis, but other ailments like migraines and eczema."
She also admitted that though changing what she ate helped considerably, what helped her the most was her husband's support.
"I don’t think I could have gotten through this process without the support of my husband,” she says. “I think it’s really important that someone is there encouraging you, rooting you on, saying you’re not alone, helping you feel stronger and more powerful.”
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