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Taraji P. Henson Details How Decades-Long Stomach Problems Led to Finally Addressing Her Health


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Taraji P. Henson is opening up about her battle with a stomach illness that left her vomiting uncontrollably. 

In an interview with Women’s Health magazine for their November cover published Tuesday, the actress revealed that for over two decades she would have episodes where her stomach problems caused her to vomit uncontrollably and become dehydrated. She recalled being prescribed a proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) to help treat acid reflux. The treatment would alleviate her symptoms, but the underlying health issues remained. 

In 2015, Henson was rushed to the hospital after enduring uncontrolled vomiting and weight loss. Two years later, while filming The Best of Enemies, the actress would become so ill and dehydrated that she recalled having to lie down on the floor in her hotel room. Her security and assistant would also cover her with a blanket and take her to a car via a luggage rack to avoid being seen.

The severe case led her to the hospital where she recalled the doctor telling her, “If you don’t correct what’s going on inside of you, you’re going to develop stomach ulcers, which can lead to stomach cancer.”

Henson said she was prescribed another PPI, but her symptoms did not improve. Her assistant eventually recommended a holistic doctor. The holistic doctor diagnosed her with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) which can cause pain and malnutrition. After switching to a plant-based diet, the actress explained that her health quickly improved. 

However, Henson said, “Western medicine saves lives. But it wasn’t helping in my situation.”

Henson said during the pandemic her mindset over her nutrition changed: “I was like, ‘Well, ain’t nobody going nowhere, so I might as well eat.’” She later realized she needed to continue working on her physical and mental health. She shared, “I was like, ‘This can sink me.’”

She also recalled a low point being waking up with a Cheeto stuck to her face: “That’s when I realized I had to do everything I could to feel good, or that depression thing was going to get the best of me,” she told the publication.

Henson adjusted her lifestyle and started working out: “The older you get, the harder it is to get in shape. I didn’t want to be climbing out of a hole.” She added, “When I get those endorphins going, I’m like a whole different girl.”

Henson, who is now working on her first album, also encouraged others to focus on their health:  “I want people to know that it’s never too late for anything. You can get your health together and live out your wildest dreams,” she said.

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