Endometriosis is a condition that affects many women worldwide. It is estimated that 1 in 10 women of childbearing age have endometriosis. This chronic condition can cause pain, infertility, and other problems.
There is no cure for endometriosis, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms. One treatment option is exercising. Exercise has many benefits for overall health and can also help ease the symptoms of endometriosis.
However, exercising with endometriosis can be difficult due to the pain associated with the condition. In this article, we will discuss some tips for exercising with endometriosis and offer some advice on the best ways to approach exercising with this condition.
But before we move on to the benefits of exercising with endometriosis, let us explain in detail what endometriosis is and how it impacts your body.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus, known as the endometrium, grows outside the uterus. This can cause pain, inflammation, and scarring. Endometriosis most commonly affects the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, and tissues around the pelvis. However, it can also affect other parts of the body.
The main symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain. This pain can be mild to severe and is often worse during menstruation. Other symptoms include pain during sex, urinary problems, constipation, and fatigue.
There is no cure for endometriosis, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms. These treatments include medication, hormones, surgery, and exercise.
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Benefits of Exercising With Endometriosis
Just like exercise has many benefits for overall health, including improving cardiovascular health, reducing stress, and improving sleep quality, it can also help ease the symptoms of endometriosis. Research has shown that exercising can help improve the quality of life for women with endometriosis.
In addition, exercising can help reduce the risk of developing other chronic conditions, such as obesity, type II diabetes, and heart disease. This is especially important for women with endometriosis, who are at an increased risk for these conditions. The primary benefits of exercising for patients with endometriosis include the following:
Exercise can help relieve pain associated with endometriosis by releasing endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that have pain-relieving and mood-boosting effects. They can also reduce stress, which can worsen the symptoms of endometriosis.
Some research has shown that exercising can help reduce pain associated with endometriosis. One study found that women who exercised three times per week for eight weeks had less pain and fewer days of missed work due to endometriosis than women who did not exercise.
Improve Sleep Quality
Exercise can also help improve sleep quality. This is important because poor sleep can worsen the symptoms of endometriosis. In one study, women who exercised three times per week for eight weeks had better sleep quality than women who did not exercise.
Boost Energy Levels
Exercise can help boost energy levels for patients with endometriosis. Fatigue is a common symptom of endometriosis. Research suggests that women who exercised with endometriosis had more energy than women who did not exercise.
Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscles
Weak pelvic floor muscles can contribute to pain during sex, a common symptom of endometriosis. However, exercise can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises, in particular, are effective in strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.
Endometriosis can cause emotional distress, which can worsen the condition's symptoms. Nevertheless, exercising can help enhance the mood of women with endometriosis. According to research, exercising improved mental health for women who had endometriosis.
However, if you have endometriosis and are interested in starting an exercise routine, keep a few things in mind. First, it is essential to talk to your doctor about your symptoms and any concerns you have before starting an exercise routine. They can help you determine what type of exercise is best for you and how often you should exercise.
It is also essential to start slowly and gradually increase your workouts' intensity and duration as you become more comfortable. You must listen to your body, stop exercising if you experience pain or symptoms, and take frequent breaks to avoid exertion. Also, it is crucial to warm up before exercising. This will help muscles and prepare the body for exercise.
A few exercises are particularly beneficial for women with endometriosis. These exercises include pelvic floor strengthening exercises, such as Kegel exercises, and low-impact cardio exercises, such as walking or swimming.
Types of Physical Activities to Try With Endometriosis
Many types of exercises can be beneficial for women with endometriosis. These exercises include:
- Pelvic Floor Strengthening Exercises, such as Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises can be particularly beneficial for women with endometriosis. These exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, leading to less pain during sex and improved bowel and bladder control.
- Low-Impact Cardio Exercises, such as walking or swimming, are also highly recommended for endometriosis patients. These exercises help improve symptoms by relieving pain and improving sleep quality and energy levels.
- Yoga can also be helpful for women with endometriosis. It can help improve their condition by relieving stress, pain, and anxiety.
- The Happy Baby Floor Exercise is a good option for women with endometriosis. The Happy Baby Pose (also called Ananda Balasana) is a stretch often included in Yoga and Pilates workouts. It improves mind and body fitness by working on flexibility, breathing, and strength. It helps improve one's mental well-being, enhance range of motion, balance, and strengthen and tone muscles.
- The Pelvic Tilt exercise is another good option for women with endometriosis. Pelvic tilts help reduce back pain by loosening stiffness, stretching muscles, and strengthening your core and lower body.
These are just a few examples of exercises that can be beneficial for women with endometriosis. Exercising regularly can help improve your symptoms and quality of life.
Tips to Stay Active With Endometriosis
Endometriosis can make staying active and following a proper fitness schedule difficult. However, here are some tips to help you stay active with endometriosis:
- Walk for the last 5 to 10 minutes by the end of an hour to stay active throughout the day.
- Take a 10-minute physical activity break three times a day instead of 30 minutes to avoid exertion. For example, you may go for a walk first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, and after supper.
- Make your life more enjoyable by doing things you like. Play a sport, go for a walk, explore your surroundings, work in your garden, or go swimming.
- Develop an at-home workout routine. You may also buy at-home workout-friendly accessories like resistance bands or yoga mats to stay motivated.
- Develop a proper workout schedule to keep yourself accountable and on track.
- Do not forget to warm up before starting an aerobic activity.
- Focus on workouts that can help you strengthen your muscles.
1. What type of exercise is best for endometriosis?
Specific exercises - like Yoga and Pilates - that focus on strengthening the core and pelvic floor muscles are ideal for endometriosis. These exercises can help improve bladder control, circulation, and digestion, all of which can be affected by the condition. You must perform pelvic floor muscle exercises daily, but you should always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
2. Should you exercise with endometriosis?
There are a few reasons why you might want to exercise with endometriosis. First, exercising can reduce some of the symptoms associated with endometriosis, such as pain and cramping. Additionally, exercise can improve your energy levels and mood, which can be affected by endometriosis. Lastly, staying active can help you maintain a healthy weight, which is vital for managing endometriosis.
If you have endometriosis, you must speak with your doctor before starting or changing an exercise routine. They can help you determine what types and activity levels suit you.
3. Can you lift weights with endometriosis?
Heavy lifting can worsen endometriosis by putting more pressure on the pelvic floor. However, lighter weights and higher reps may help strengthen the area's muscles and help control symptoms.
Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you're experiencing pain or other symptoms. They may be able to recommend a specific workout program that is safe for you. And always listen to your body and stop if anything feels too uncomfortable.
4. Is skipping good for endometriosis?
It depends. Some women find that skipping helps ease their symptoms, while others find it worsens their symptoms.
It's important to remember that every woman's body is different, and what works for one woman may not work for another. If you're considering skipping as a way to treat your endometriosis, be sure to speak with your doctor first to get their advice. They can help you figure out if skipping is the right treatment for you and give tips on how to do it safely and effectively.
Exercise is important for managing endometriosis, but it can be challenging to stay active when you’re in pain. Talk to your doctor about what type of exercise is best for you and how often you should exercise. Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you become more comfortable. And listen to your body throughout your workout to ensure you’re not overdoing it. With these tips, you can find ways to stay active that work for you and manage the symptoms of endometriosis.
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- Bonocher, Camila M., et al. “Endometriosis and Physical Exercises: A Systematic Review.” Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology : RB&E, vol. 12, Jan. 2014, p. 4. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1186/1477-7827-12-4.
- Ensari, Ipek, et al. “Associations between Physical Exercise Patterns and Pain Symptoms in Individuals with Endometriosis: A Cross-Sectional MHealth-Based Investigation.” BMJ Open, vol. 12, no. 7, July 2022, p. e059280. bmjopen.bmj.com, https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-059280.
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- Tennfjord, Merete Kolberg, et al. “Effect of Physical Activity and Exercise on Endometriosis-Associated Symptoms: A Systematic Review.” BMC Women’s Health, vol. 21, no. 1, Oct. 2021, p. 355. BioMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-021-01500-4.
- Youseflu, Samaneh, et al. “Effects of Endometriosis on Sleep Quality of Women: Does Life Style Factor Make a Difference?” BMC Women’s Health, vol. 20, no. 1, Aug. 2020, p. 168. BioMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-020-01036-z.