“Can I be physically active with uterine fibroids? Are there any fibroid exercises recommended for women with myomas?” These questions are asked by many women suffering from fibroid symptoms, including abdominal pain, heavy bleeding, and chronic fatigue.
Uterine fibroids are a fairly common female gynecological condition. Fibroids (or leiomyomas) are benign tumors in the muscular layer of the uterus. This can cause a lot of discomforts, and often interferes with a normal, active lifestyle.
Patients often wonder if exercise is acceptable with uterine fibroids. The answer is yes. Regular fibroid exercises can help relieve pain or even slow down tumors’ growth. However, fibroids can limit or completely interfere with exercise.
The first way fibroids interfere is when they cause significant iron deficiency anemia. This is secondary to the heavy menstrual bleeding that many patients suffer from. The anemia will leave women weak and chronically fatigued. This will limit or completely impede any exercise; often leading to weight gain.
In addition, fibroids are firm tumors. When they are located in the front of the uterus, the patient may be able to feel them and they are hard to touch. If the fibroids are large enough, certain exercises (e.g. sit-ups/abdominal crunches, medicine ball exercises) may not be able to be performed due to pain and sensitivity created when the anterior abdominal wall is pressed on.
Finally, not every type of physical activity may be suitable for women with uterine fibroids. It will largely depend on everyone’s individual fitness level, symptoms, fibroid location in the uterus, and more. Below are some exercises that can help women with uterine fibroids.
“Why Do I Need to Exercise with Fibroids?”
It is important to try not to give up physical activity when suffering from uterine fibroids. Fibroid exercises can actually help with managing the symptoms and if the fibroids are treated, they can help with the healing process. Exercise helps you keep from accumulating body fat which is a reservoir for estrogen. This added estrogen stimulates fibroid growth. Exercise also improves your mood thanks to releasing of endorphins.
Weight gain combined with inactivity and stress is common risk factors for the development of uterine fibroids. Physical activity helps balance the body out: regulates weight, metabolism, hormonal levels, reduces stress, and often improves fibroid symptoms.
Exercises and Fibroid Pain Relief
Make sure to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise routine. There are different locations and sizes of uterine fibroids.
Here are the most popular fibroid exercises:
- Daily morning exercises (turns, bends, flexion-extension of the arms, legs, etc.) performed at a slow pace.
- Water aerobics and swimming.
- Easy jogging, walking, training on a stationary bike or treadmill at a slow pace.
- Breathing exercises. They can help lose weight, reduce stress.
- Pilates. One of the best types of physical activity that strengthens muscles without over-stressing the body.
- Yoga. There are many types of yoga, and everyone can find an option that is best suited for one’s individual needs.
- Cardio exercises can be a good choice as they help lose extra weight and strengthen your immune system.
- Physical therapy when necessary due to other health conditions (light exercises performed under the supervision of a trained medical professional).
What Exercises May Not Be Recommended?
With uterine fibroids some intense physical activities may not be recommended:
- CrossFit and other training programs that can be strenuous on your body (unless recommended by your doctor).
- Exercise with weights (depending on your doctor’s recommendations).
- Professional sports training. Athletes with uterine fibroids should consult a doctor.
It is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle with uterine fibroids, and physical activity is one of the vital components of a balanced, healthy life. However, a healthy and active lifestyle alone cannot cure uterine fibroids and free you from significant fibroid symptoms permanently. To defeat fibroids and the associated unpleasant symptoms, consider the nonsurgical treatment option, uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).
To learn more about UFE and uterine fibroids contact Atlanta Fibroid Center at 770-953-2600 or make an appointment online at ATLii.com.