How to move: with endometriosis | life and style


Mover 830,000, or around one in nine Australian women suffer from endometriosis, a condition that can cause debilitating pain during the menstrual cycle as well as during ovulation, intercourse, urination, and bowel movements. Other symptoms include inflammation, bloating, heavy bleeding, and fatigue, and it can affect fertility.

Pain and discomfort can cause women to restrict exercise, but it can create other chronic health problems, says Curtin University board-certified exercise physiologist Dr. Angela Spence. Physical activity can also have a myriad of benefits.

“Regular exercise is associated with a reduced risk of developing endometriosis,” she explains, and may also directly help reduce inflammation associated with the disease. Other potential benefits include pain management, improved mental health, and lessening of side effects from commonly prescribed medications.

Spence notes that more research is needed to provide conclusive support for the role of exercise in the management of endometriosis. But considering the benefits, experts have several general recommendations — with some caveats.

“Women should be encouraged to be active and maintain routine activity,” Spence says, “but this should progress gradually as tolerance improves, ideally under the guidance of an exercise specialist.”

Moving: the Jacobsen method

A progressive muscle relaxation technique called the Jacobsen method has been found to improve quality of life and reduce anxiety and depression in women with endometriosis, reports Emma Wise, pelvic health physiotherapist.

“It involves contracting and relaxing the major muscles of the body, one at a time, as a form of mental and physical relaxation,” she explains. “It can be done easily at home in 30-40 minutes.”

Begin by relaxing and contracting the right hand, forearm, upper arm, then the left side, in that order. Move to face, neck, chest, shoulders and upper back, then belly, right thigh, calf and foot, followed by left thigh, calf and foot.

A specific focus on training the pelvic floor muscles can improve the range and relaxation of these muscles and help relieve pain associated with endometriosis, Wise says, adding that a specialist physical therapist can help with this. “It’s common for people with pelvic pain, including endometriosis, to have decreased pelvic floor muscle tone,” she explains. “It may further contribute to pelvic pain and other symptoms such as bladder and bowel problems. [and] pain with sex.

To strengthen the pelvic floor and glutes, board-certified exercise physiologist Brittany Cogger recommends clam or straight leg raises, upright sitting, and glute bridge with resistance band.

The class: pilates or yoga

Pilates or yoga classes can help loosen muscles that are tight against pain, writing Coger. Indeed, Wise notes that women with endometriosis who participated in a study exploration of Hatha-style yoga has resulted in improved quality of life and pain relief. This involved relaxation-focused movements, breathing and posture exercises performed twice a week for eight weeks.

Activity: stretching

According to Cogger, exercises based on the principles of Pilates and yoga can help loosen tight muscles, along with stretches such as the seated glute stretch, seated hip flexor stretch, and knee stretch. lateral bending of the wall. She explains that lengthening and strengthening the pelvic floor, abdominal wall, and hip flexor muscles are important to relax them before embarking on the exercise.

In this regard, Spence recommends walking or any other type of low-impact aerobic exercise you enjoy, such as swimming or cycling.

The difficult pass: high impact exercises

Vigorous activity can aggravate symptoms and lead to pushes for some women and exacerbate cramps and fatigue, advises Wise. Specifically, it might be prudent to avoid high-impact exercises such as running and burpees, according to Cogger, as well as sit-ups and crunches.

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