Uterine fibroids are a type of noncancerous tumor that grows in the uterine wall. These tumors range in size from small and seed-like to those that are as large as a grapefruit. Uterine fibroids can cause a number of symptoms, including heavy bleeding, lower back pain, pain with intercourse or an enlarged lower abdomen. A number of factors, including your weight, can increase your risk for developing uterine fibroids, and exercise can be beneficial.
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You cannot change some risk factors for uterine fibroids. For example, women ages 30 to 40 through menopause are more likely to experience uterine fibroids. African-American women and those with a family history of fibroids also are at an increased risk. However, there are two elements of uterine fibroid risk that you can change: your diet and your weight. Women who eat more red meat and ham have an increased fibroids risk, according to WomensHealth.gov. Overweight women are as much as three times more likely to experience fibroids. This is because fibroids are a result of extra estrogen in the body. Women with excess fat, especially abdominal fat, are more likely to overproduce estrogen. Therefore, exercise to reduce fat can help to reduce the risk of fibroids. However, losing weight can help to reduce estrogen production, it does not always guarantee existing fibroids will reduce in size.
Yoga poses to open the stomach area are associated with helping to relieve the pain of uterine fibroids and help you find more comfortable positions with fibroids. One example is Bharadvaja’s Twist. To perform, sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Shift your weight to your right buttocks and then fold your legs in toward your left buttocks. Inhale to sit up straighter, then twist your torso to your right side, placing your right arm behind your left, opening and stretching the stomach. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, then release the stretch.
Supported Bridge Pose
The Supported Bridge Pose is another exercise that can relieve uterine fibroid pain. To perform, lie on the floor with your arms extended and your palms facing upward. Lift your buttocks and torso up to lift your legs and torso off the ground. Leave your shoulders on the ground with your eyes toward the ceiling. If needed, you can place a rolled-up towel between your knees to make the position more comfortable. Hold in place for 10 to 15 seconds, then release the stretch and lower the buttocks toward the ground. Repeat two to three times.
Cardiovascular exercise burns calories and can help you to lose weight. However, jarring, high-impact exercises can cause pain to existing fibroids, making it difficult for you to exercise. Instead, choose low-impact cardiovascular exercises like water aerobics or swimming. Walking, using an elliptical machine or cycling also burn calories and fat, helping to reduce unhealthy estrogen production. Exercise at least three to five times per day for at least 30 minutes to create a calorie deficit that helps you lose weight.