In 2006, Renee visited her gynecologist. With a slightly protruding belly, she wondered if she might be pregnant. “‘Either you’re pregnant or have fibroids,'” Renee Brown Small, Co-founder and CEO of The Fibroids Project recalled her gynecologist saying. Renee wasn’t pregnant but, at the time, she was also not familiar with fibroids—the source of her symptoms. Little did she know her diagnosis set the stage for the conception of an international fibroid organization that would be trusted by women everywhere.
Fibroids are common benign tumors that grow in the uterine wall and affect 20-80 percent of women. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, fibroids can be as small as an apple seed, while others can grow to the size of a grapefruit and, in rare cases, even larger. Uterine fibroids can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, and in Renee’s case—abdominal extension that resembles pregnancy.1
“I didn’t know what a fibroid even was,” Renee said. “I asked my doctor and she just continued to tell me I had to get a Lupron shot that would put me in a menopausal state to shrink the fibroids and then surgery to take them out. It went from, ‘Renee, you have fibroids,’ to all the way down the rabbit hole! It all seemed so drastic for something that wasn’t cancerous.”
Like many women diagnosed with fibroids, Renee was confused and didn’t understand why surgery was her only option. After hearing the gynecologist’s treatment plan, Renee decided to walk away from that situation in order to investigate all her options. “I started doing my own research,” Renee explained. “There was a lot of information out there but what I found was there was no central hub where women with fibroids could get information on all treatment options available. That was the catalyst for The Fibroids Project.”
Launched in 2010, The Fibroids Project has been an online community empowering women with knowledge. Here they can find the latest research, read about every fibroid treatment option available, and receive support—all with the goal of becoming fibroid-free.
With a dynamic team made up of Renee and co-founder/CIO Nnamdi G. Osuagwu; Chief Medical Experts, Ayman Al-Hendy, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACOG and Ngozi Osuagwu, MD; Editor-In-Chief, LaShieka Hunter; and Chief Health Coach, Hilary Beard—The Fibroids Project offers a 360-degree view of fibroid treatment, not only for women affected by this condition but for physicians who want to become better informed.