Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that grow in the uterus and can cause spotting between periods, pelvic pain and other uncomfortable and annoying symptoms. Some people believe you can do yoga to shrink fibroids. However, other therapies may be more appropriate.
Yoga cannot help shrink uterine fibroids, but it may help you relieve stress. This can reduce the symptoms the fibroids present.
Can Yoga Reduce Uterine Fibroids?
Unfortunately, there is no clinical evidence to support the idea that yoga can shrink uterine fibroids. This widely circulated claim may be due to women starting yoga mudras for fibroids alongside other treatments and therapies that do affect the fibroids' size. Although yoga can help reduce stress whether you do hatha yoga or ashtanga yoga, it does not help shrink uterine fibroids.
This does not mean that you won't benefit from doing yoga if you have uterine fibroids. For example, yoga offers many benefits that can make you feel physically and emotionally better. According to the Mayo Clinic, yoga may not only help you find peace and balance but may also help you manage chronic conditions.
In addition, according to a study published in Biomedical Research in July 2017, researchers determined that stress reduction helped improve patients' outcomes going into various treatments for their uterine fibroids. As a result, adding yoga to your routine could help reduce your stress during uterine fibroid treatments.
There is also some evidence that yoga may help with premenstrual symptoms such as bloating, bodily pain, cramping and other symptoms. For a small study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in July 2016, 68 women participated in 12 weeks of yoga. The participants reported improvement in their symptoms. As a result, it is possible that yoga could help improve uterine fibroid symptoms, even if it does not shrink the tumors.
Additional evidence exists that supports similar claims about yoga and improving menstrual symptoms. According to a review of studies published in July 2017 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, several studies showed improvements in women's menstrual symptoms. However, they indicate that future studies will need consistency between methods, measures and quality of studies.
According to the Mayo Clinic, other alternative therapies are not yet proven to help with shrinking uterine fibroids. However, some research exists. For example, an older study published in July 2013 in the International Journal of Women's Health found that green tea extract has some effect on shrinking uterine fibroids. However, additional research is needed to fully show how effective and safe green tea or its extracts are for treating uterine fibroids.
Read more: Does Diet Affect the Menstrual Cycle?
Other Uterine Fibroid Treatments
In some cases, you may not need treatment for your uterine fibroids. According to the Mayo Clinic, if your symptoms are not severe or don't exist, you and your doctor may decide to wait and see. Uterine fibroids grow slowly or not at all. In addition, they are not cancerous and will tend to shrink after menopause.
If your symptoms are severe, if you have multiple fibroids or if your fibroids are large or expanding, you may want to discuss treatment options with your doctor. There are several different types of formal treatments your doctor may recommend, based on your individual situation.
For example, a doctor may recommend medication. According to the Mayo Clinic, the medications prescribed treat the symptoms, but they do not actually shrink the fibroids. As a result, if you prefer a more natural method for symptom control, you may want to consider yoga.
In other cases, a doctor may recommend additional treatments. There are three categories of treatments, including noninvasive, minimally invasive and traditional surgeries, such as a hysterectomy. The size and number of uterine fibroids can affect which treatment a doctor may recommend. In addition, your overall health and age can be determining factors as well.
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Is This an Emergency?
- Mayo Clinic: "Yoga: Fight Stress and Find Serenity"
- Biomedical Research: "The Correlation of Stress Response, Psychological State and Prognosis in the Different Treatments of Uterine Fibroids"
- International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: "Effect of Yoga Exercise on Premenstrual Symptoms Among Female Employees in Taiwan"
- International Journal of Women’s Health: "Treatment of Symptomatic Uterine Fibroids With Green Tea Extract: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Clinical Study"
- Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: "The Effect of Yoga on Menstrual Disorders: A Systematic Review"
- Mayo Clinic: "Uterine Fibroids"