Exercising with endometriosis may have a positive impact on pain. While working out is the last thing that you’ll want to do if you’re dealing with common endo symptoms such as painful pelvic cramping, heavy bleeding, and low back pain. Learning to implement some form of regular exercise can be a beneficial tool in your pain management program.
Benefits of Exercising with Endometriosis
The majority of endo-related pain is caused by ongoing low-grade inflammation within the body. This inflammatory response is due to endometrial implants, scar tissue and adhesions irritating the areas in which they are on or adhering to. Exercising with endometriosis can be beneficial since it helps decrease inflammation, balances hormones, strengthens pelvic floor muscles, and provides natural pain relief.
Regular physical activity has anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies show how a 20-minute moderate-intensity exercise session can decrease inflammatory cytokines by 5%.
Exercising with endometriosis can also lower estrogen levels. It is thought that estrogen dominance is linked to the growth and proliferation of endometrial implants. Making time to exercise on a regular basis can help decrease estrogen levels. Thereby, lowering inflammation while decreasing pain and symptoms.
Strengthens Pelvic Floor
The development of scar tissue and adhesions can bind together tissues and organs within the pelvis. Consequently, inflammation and pain are experienced leading to pelvic floor dysfunction. Yet, working with a pelvic floor specialist can help strengthen muscles. Specifically, the muscles surrounding the bladder, vagina, and bowels. This can aid in pain reduction while improving movement.
Natural Pain Relief
In addition to following a pain management plan as outlined by your doctor exercise can help decrease pain naturally. Exercise has the ability to aid in the release of endorphins which work to improve mood and help anesthetize the pain. Typically, a moderate-intensity workout performed for 20-30 minutes works to help release those endorphins.
Endometriosis Friendly Workouts
The type and intensity of the exercise that you choose to do are going to be based upon your current state of health. This includes pain level and potential limitations that may contraindicate specific types of exercise. Such as preparing for surgery or recovery from surgery. Hence, why you should have a discussion with your doctor discussing what role exercise will play in your treatment and management of endo. If your doctor indicates gentle exercise is ok you may consider starting with low-intensity workouts. Performing gentle workouts such as walking, cycling, yoga, pilates or barre for 20 to 30 minutes is a great place to start.
After your body progresses and you advance into your recovery you can begin looking into increasing the intensity of your workouts. Begin by transitioning into moderate-intensity workouts such as jogging, circuit training, or weight training. But as always make sure that your body can tolerate more intense workouts. These types of workouts may not be suitable for those that have chronic pain, are recovering from surgery, or dealing with fatigue. Additionally, you will not want to participate in a strenuous activity if you’re dealing with a flare-up. Know your body and respect its limits.
Special Considerations to Remember
Of course, exercise is one way to help manage the pain and symptoms associated with endometriosis. It’s a complex disease without a cure and doesn’t provide easy solutions when it comes to treating it. There’s a lot of trial and error as well as understanding what works for one may not work for the other. This is why nothing can replace working with a qualified doctor that can discuss all possible options regarding treatment. Furthermore, these options will vary from person to person depending on the severity of the disease and symptoms experienced.
Typically, your doctor will discuss medication, surgery and lifestyle modifications as a means to manage your disease. Results will vary from person to person as endo manifests itself in each person differently. But, what’s most important is learning how to manage your condition in a way that works best for you. And, helps you get your life back.
I Want to Know
Is exercise something you do to help manage your endometriosis?
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Hi, my name is Kathleen but you can call me Kat. I’m a health and wellness professional turned freelance writer and content creator. You can find me on YouTube and Instagram. If you take the opportunity to visit me on my other platforms don’t hesitate to leave a message, I would love to hear from you!
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- Everyday Health | 4 Ways Exercise Can Help Endometriosis written by Julie Stewart, medically reviewed by Rosalyn Carson-Dewitt, MD last updated February 5, 2019
- Endometriosis Foundation of America | Need Some Gym-spiration: Exercise Can Help You Endo written by Joanie Cox Henry posted on February 19, 2018
- Endometriosis News | Endometriosis and Exercise
- Medical News Today | Just 20 Minutes of Exercise Enough to Reduce Inflammation Study Finds written y Ana Sandoiu on January 16, 2017