Let’s face it, if you suffer from problematic fibroids, the last thing you might want to do is exercise. Because larger fibroids are a source of discomfort, it’s understandable why you wouldn’t want to do anything that triggers pain. Yet, surprisingly, fibroids and exercise have a unique relationship, particularly in cardiovascular activities like walking, jogging or swimming.
While no scientific studies suggest definitive proof between exercise and the reduction of fibroid growth, research has shown that exercise has a part to play in preventing conditions like breast cancer – another form of hormonally-mediated tumor. From this, researchers believe there could be a link between remaining active and the prevention of hormone-related problems such as fibroids.
How can exercise help?
Essentially, when you exercise regularly, you look and feel better. But there’s more to it than simply keeping the calories at bay. Exercise brings a wide range of benefits to a woman’s body that includes:
- Significant endorphin boosts – Endorphins are the body’s feel-good brain chemicals known to suppress pain.
- Driving fat hormones like insulin and cortisol down - keeping fat hormones at bay helps maintain a positive balance. Fibroids are fuelled by hormonal imbalances, and Regular exercise helps to maintain equilibrium.
- Increasing HDL – While fibroids are not the direct result of heart disease, women with fibroids tend to have lower levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein or good cholesterol). Low HDL is a proven risk factor for developing heart disease. Regular exercise is thought to boost good cholesterol in the body.
Can exercise shrink an existing fibroid?
In a word, no! Unfortunately, exercise and diet alone will not shrink fibroids, but they can help to eliminate further growth and discomfort. Studies show that a higher body mass Index (BMI), particularly abdominal visceral fat, is connected to fibroid development. Naturally, regular exercise, in combination with a balanced diet, can help to reduce BMI, which may, in turn, prevent further fibroid growth.
As you can see, fibroids and exercise may be unlikely bedfellows, but they work.
So what is the best exercise for uterine fibroids?
Essentially, the best exercise for uterine fibroids is gentle, sustained activities that don’t place too much pressure on your stomach, so activities like crunches, sit-ups and lifting heavy weights should all be avoided. The reason for this is simple. When we carry out exercises like sit-ups, blood flow is increased to the abdomen. This, in turn, may escalate the blood flow to the fibroid. The result may be an increase in fibroid growth.
Instead, focus on gentle cardiovascular exercises like sustained walking or moderate jogging, swimming or cycling. Yoga, too, can be a good source of cardiovascular activity, but you’ll want to avoid bending and stretching the stomach too much.
As a top tip, you need to be attentive to your pulse. Training intensity should gradually increase but not more than 30% of your starting pulse.
Fibroids and exercise in a nutshell
There is evidence to suggest a link between the correct type of exercise and the prevention of further discomfort and fibroid growth. Naturally, this must be accompanied by a well-balanced diet and a healthy weight. However, cardiovascular activities can also prevent hormonal imbalance – a significant factor in fibroid development.
As stated, exercise and diet alone cannot shrink or eradicate fibroids. So if you currently live with uterine fibroids and want to do something about it, there are minimally invasive alternatives to a complete hysterectomy or a myomectomy. Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is one such treatment.
What is UFE?
In essence, uterine fibroid embolization is a simple out-patient procedure that cuts off the blood supply to the fibroid causing it to die. The advantage of embolization therapy is that it causes low body trauma and results in quick recovery time. Unlike other surgical treatments like a myomectomy, embolization has zero chance of fibroid regrowth once carried out.
In reality, while exercise can prevent or slow the growth of fibroids, you will need to seek treatment to address the underlying causes of fibroid growth. That doesn’t mean that remaining fit and healthy doesn’t play its part, but getting your body back to normal will take treatment and time.
If you are considering uterine fibroid treatment, talk to the Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy (MINT) about our ground-breaking embolization therapy. It’s a sure-fire way to get your life back on track without undergoing traditional surgery.
Are you ready to experience a new life without fibroids?
Call 314-255 2204 or schedule an appointment online. In addition to our 4 convenient locations, we have now opened a new clinic in Chicago, IL.