Endometriosis and exercise
Today is Endometriosis Awareness Day!
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a medical condition that affects up to 10% of women of reproductive age. It is a chronic condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus in other areas of the body, such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other organs. This tissue is still affected by the hormones that control the menstrual cycle, so it thickens, breaks down, and bleeds during the menstrual cycle. The resulting inflammation, scarring, and pressure can cause painful periods and pelvic pain.
Endometriosis can have a huge impact on a woman's life. The pain associated with the condition often makes working and participating in social activities difficult. And the toll it takes can also cause depression and anxiety. Many women also struggle with infertility due to the scarring and blockage of the fallopian tubes. Endometriosis can be treated with surgery, hormones, and pain medications, but the condition is often hard to diagnose, and there is no cure. Living with endometriosis can be challenging, but many women can manage their symptoms and lead a full, productive life.
Endometriosis can be difficult to manage, but exercise can be an extremely helpful tool to mitigate symptoms.
Exercise relieves pain and inflammation
Exercise can help reduce pain and improve mobility associated with endometriosis! Exercise improves circulation throughout your body, meaning oxygen flows better, bringing more blood flow around affected areas and aiding natural healing. This increased blood flow helps decrease pain, improve the healing response of any inflammation or scarring in the uterine region, and improve general bladder/bowel health-related symptoms due to weakened muscles caused by prolonged suffering from this condition.
Exercise also helps increase the stability and strength of the pelvic floor muscles. Having stronger pelvic floor muscles increases support for ligaments around organs like the uterus, which keeps them better positioned, thus reducing chances of nerve sensitization and helping reduce tenderness experienced during menstruation.
Exercise helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Exercising improves mental and emotional well-being and lowers cortisol (the body's main stress hormone). Decreasing stress also decreases inflammation! Stress reduction is great for everyone, but this can be particularly beneficial for women with endometriosis, as stress can worsen the symptoms of endometriosis.
Increases Energy Levels
Exercise can also help increase energy levels. This can be helpful for women with endometriosis who often experience fatigue and depression due to their condition. Exercise increases energy levels in several ways. First, it boosts endorphin production, the body's natural feel-good hormone that uplifts and rewards well-being throughout your day.
Improves Hormonal Balance
Exercise can help improve hormonal balance by regulating the release of cortisol, adrenaline, and endorphins. This can also help reduce the symptoms of endometriosis!
Regular exercise can help improve the overall quality of life for women with endometriosis by helping to manage pain, reduce inflammation, improve mobility, reduce stress, increase energy levels, and improve hormonal balance. If you have endometriosis and have been on the fence about whether you should exercise, I hope that you find this information helpful, and if you did or know someone whom this may help please share this article with them!
As always, please consult your doctor before engaging in any exercise. And a reminder that not all exercises are great for everyone. Especially when you are dealing with chronic health issues. Google, YouTube and Instagram are great sources of motivation and inspiration, but sometimes trying to do things on your own can do more harm than good. If you would like some professional help and guidance navigating the complicated world of fitness I would love to help you! Reach out to me here and lets get started!