Uterine Fibroids: 4 Exercises to Try

Uterine Fibroids: 4 Exercises to Try

It can be tough to find the right exercise if you live with uterine fibroids. But by listening to your body, you can find an activity that allows you to meet your fitness goals.

Developing a strong relationship with your doctor can help you get the benefits of exercise as you manage symptoms of uterine fibroids.

Uterine fibroids often cause heavy menstrual bleeding and bleeding between periods. Some people have anemia because of this blood loss, which often causes fatigue and weakness.

Pelvic pain, pressure in the abdominal area, and lower back pain from fibroids can make exercise difficult. But aside from the overall health benefits, exercise might actually reduce fibroid risk, thereby helping to improve symptoms.

the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, along with 2 days a week of muscle-strengthening activities. However, these recommendations are for everyone and not specific to people with heavy menstrual bleeding or fibroids.

The CDC also recommends starting slow and choosing an activity that’s right for your fitness level. When you’re first starting out, as little as 5 minutes a day can help establish a routine.

Many menstruating people — whether they have heavy bleeding or not — experience changes in energy levels during their menstrual cycles. You can listen to your body about the type and intensity of exercise and switch things up to adapt to your comfort level.

There are several exercises you can use to stay active, even if you have heavy bleeding or other uterine fibroid symptoms. You can adjust any of these to find the right intensity and frequency to fit how you’re feeling on a given day.

The following exercises may help ease the symptoms caused by uterine fibroids. Many of these symptoms are also the same symptoms people experience during their menstrual cycles, with or without fibroids.

Yoga

Holding yoga postures can help increase balance and flexibility. This practice can also help reduce back pain, perhaps in part because it relieves muscle tension.

Yoga is also a way to relax, and relaxation techniques can help you manage uterine fibroid-related pain.

stretching

Stretching offers many of the same benefits as yoga, including flexibility and the potential for relaxation. It can also decrease muscle stiffness, making it easier to engage in other kinds of physical activity.

You might consider static stretching, where you hold a certain position for up to 45 seconds, or dynamic stretching, where you move your joints through entire ranges of motion.

jogging or running

Both jogging and running can increase heart health and promote a moderate weight. It’s a good idea to find proper shoes and warm-up before jogging to prevent injury.

One of the best things about jogging is that it’s easy to modify, depending on your energy levels and experience of pain or bleeding. You can also get your heart rate up with a brisk walk and can increase the pace when you feel comfortable doing so.

weight lifting

Lifting light weights can increase muscle tone and strength.

according to a 2021 study, it can also contribute to a reduction in abdominal fat. That study found aerobic training combined with resistance training was more effective than aerobic training or resistance training alone.

Resistance bands or light weights may be enough to provide benefit.

Some exercises can be tough on your body if you’re experiencing heavy bleeding. Reconsider these workouts during those times, or talk with your doctor about what might work for you.

Crunches or situps

Traditional abdominal exercises might cause pain and pressure if you have fibroids or experience heavy bleeding. You may want to try an alternative core strengthening exercise, such as a plank.

HIIT workouts

High intensity interval training (HIIT) involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by recovery periods. Although the workout can offer benefits to some people, it can be too intense for people who are just getting back into fitness.

If you’re feeling low on energy due to heavy menstrual bleeding or uterine fibroid-related discomfort, a HIIT workout may result in overexertion. But if you’re feeling OK, you can do a HIIT workout. The most important thing is to listen to your body.

It is often beneficial to listen to your body as you exercise. If you experience pain or discomfort, consider stopping, reducing intensity, or changing the type of activity.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has these additional recommendations:

  • Choose activities that match your fitness level.
  • Exercise in a safe place with safe equipment.
  • Use special equipment as recommended.
  • Avoid excessive activity.

To ease your body through periods of exercise, you might want to take over-the-counter pain relievers. Your doctor can offer advice specific to you.

Although many people find ibuprofen is effective for heavy bleeding, this can actually make bleeding worse for others.

Talk with your doctor about any changes you experience during a new exercise routine. They can help you manage your symptoms.

Exercise can be an important part of uterine fibroid prevention and management.

Modifiable activities that contribute to cardiovascular health and muscle strength are some of the best for people with fibroids.

You can manage many symptoms at home with over-the-counter medications and get medical advice for handling any changes you experience after exercise.

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