Uterine fibroids can make your life difficult, causing symptoms like pain, heavy periods and pelvic cramps. Around one in five women develop uterine fibroids, a type of noncancerous tumor, during their childbearing years, says Medline Plus. There's not much clinical evidence to support the idea that yoga, a type of mind-body exercise, can shrink your fibroids. But in his book, "Integrative Medicine," Dr. David Rakel says that body awareness exercises may help reduce fibroid growth and symptoms. Consult your doctor before beginning a yoga practice.
Video of the Day
Do the Twist
There's no evidence that twisting yoga postures will shrink your fibroids, but they may help alleviate discomfort as they help open the abdominal area and massage the lower spine, two areas that are common problems for women with uterine fibroids. In an article for Yoga Journal, certified Iyengar yoga instructor Jaki Nett suggests trying Bharadvajasana, or Bharadvaja's Twist, and Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana, or Revolved Head-to-Knee Pos, to help open your abdomen.
When fibroids become large and extremely uncomfortable, you may need to modify your yoga practice as necessary. Nett advises practitioners to include supported postures, such as Supta Virasana, or the Reclining Hero Pose, Supta Baddha Konasana, or the Reclining Bound Angle Pose, and Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, or the Supported Bridge Pose. Use supports, such as pillows, blankets or blocks under your buttocks and lower back during your yoga practice to help facilitate postures and reduce feelings of discomfort.
Use Your Imagination
Fibroids are a condition commonly associated with the second chakra, an energy center associated with power, physical safety and sexuality. Eastern medical practitioners believe that the second chakra is located in your lower abdomen. Combining certain yoga postures with visualization exercises that focus on the second chakra may provide benefits to uterine fibroids. According to Dr. Jeff Migdow in an article for the Kripalu Center, some women have even been able to avoid surgery for fibroids by combining yoga postures and visualization. He suggests practicing poses like the Five-Pointed Star or Frog while visualizing healing energy flowing into your abdomen and shrinking your fibroids.
Yoga breathing exercises, or pranayama, may produce similar benefits for uterine fibroids as visualization exercises. According to pharmacist and complementary medicine expert Sherry Torkos in her book, "The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine," stress management techniques, like breathing, help reduce the hormonal changes that can can worsen fibroid symptoms. While there are numerous forms of pranayama, breathing exercises that focus on slow, deep breathing may help you control excess stress. Reducing stress also helps reduce circulating estrogen -- the main hormone on which fibroids thrive -- and supports proper liver function, which helps detoxify estrogen.