There have been reports that regular and sometimes rigorous exercises seem to help to prevent women from developing fibroids or even helping to shrink fibroids where they already exists. Some women want to know if this is indeed the case.
What are fibroids?
Uterine fibroids, also known as leiomyomas or simply fibroids, are non-cancerous growths that develop in the wall of the uterus. They are composed of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue and can range in size from small, pea-sized growths to large, bulky masses that distort the shape of the uterus.
Fibroids are very common, with up to 80% of women developing them by age 50, although not all women will experience symptoms. Some common symptoms of fibroids include heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain or pressure, frequent urination, and constipation.
The exact cause of fibroids is not fully understood, but they are thought to be related to hormonal imbalances, and other unknown factors including diet and toxins. Treatment for fibroids may vary depending on the size, location, and symptoms of the fibroids. Many women exploring alternative ways of treating fibroids, beside surgery, look at options including exercise.
Does regular exercise help to shrink fibroids?
There is some evidence to suggest that regular exercise may help to reduce the size of uterine fibroids, although more research is needed to confirm this effect.
One study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that women who engaged in vigorous physical activity had a lower risk of developing uterine fibroids than women who were less active. Another study published in the Journal of Women’s Health found that women who exercised for more than four hours per week had a lower risk of developing fibroids than women who exercised less than one hour per week.
While these studies suggest a possible link between exercise and fibroid shrinkage, it is important to note that exercise alone may not be enough to eliminate fibroids entirely. One may consider conventional as well as alternative approaches to shrink and eliminate fibroids.
1. Wise LA, Palmer JR, Harlow BL, et al. Physical activity and the risk of uterine leiomyomata. Am J Epidemiol. 2004;159(2):113-123. doi:10.1093/aje/kwh017
2. Wise LA, Radin RG, Palmer JR, et al. Intensity and timing of physical activity in relation to incident uterine leiomyomata in premenopausal women. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011;20(5):725-732. doi:10.1089/jwh.2010.2379
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