Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Healthline: How to Reduce Endometriosis Symptoms through Diet and Exercise

Endometriosis is a painful condition that affects between five and ten percent of women and can make the discomfort of menstruation much more extreme.

During the normal menstrual cycle, the endometrial tissue grows inside the uterus and is expelled during menstruation. Endometriosis occurs when this tissue grows outside of the uterus, sometimes attaching to other organs and causing significant pain, bleeding, and inflammation.

The symptoms of the condition tend to get worse with time if they go untreated, so treatment is vital to combat this condition. In addition to medicinal options, diet and exercise have been shown to have a beneficial effect in dealing with the symptoms of this condition.

Benefits of Exercise

In general, the benefits of exercise are somewhat mixed in terms of their success in alleviating pain that results from endometriosis. Among the side effects of this condition are extremely painful periods, pelvic soreness, fatigue, and pain because of exercise. Because of that, women who experience endometriosis are typically hesitant to pick up new exercise routines to combat the symptoms of their condition.

Still, exercise can have certain positive effects. One of the benefits comes before the condition develops. Research indicates that women who exercise vigorously are far less likely to develop endometriosis, although there is less of a pattern for women who exercise less.

For women that have already developed the condition, some level of exercise may help alleviate some of the pain. During exercise, the body releases endorphins, which are natural chemicals that relieve pain and improve mood. These feel-good chemicals work for everyone doing exercise—not just those with conditions that cause significant pain—but this endorphin production can be especially helpful in dealing with pain as significant as that caused by endometriosis.

In general, light to moderate exercise is advised for women with this condition. Exercise beyond that may be impossible, as the body experiences more pain with high levels of exertion. Exercises like walking and yoga, however, require relatively little stress on the body and can produce endorphins to provide some level of pain relief.

Dietary Suggestions

Diet appears to have a much more significant effect on symptoms, so it is important for women that experience this condition to focus on regulating their diet with the proper nutrients.

Certain fatty acids can aggravate pain that is caused by endometriosis, and others can help to relieve that pain. The bad kind of fatty acids are found in foods like meat, dairy, and palm oil, so women with endometriosis would do well to cut these foods out of their diet as much as possible. On the other hand, omega-3 acids fall in the good category, so it helps to consume plenty of food that includes these compounds. Examples of foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, olive oil, and legumes.

Cutting meat and other animal products out of your diet carries the risk of having an unbalanced diet, with too little protein and calcium intake. Having a balanced diet is vital for stabilizing your hormones, and hormones are ultimately responsible for the development of this condition. Thus, balancing your diet with the right nutrients is vital. To keep your protein levels high, replace meat products with foods like tofu, nuts, and fish, and replace the calcium that you get from animal products with leafy greens, almonds, and tofu.

There are a few foods that you will want to avoid in case of endometriosis and other conditions, like arthritis. Caffeine and refined sugar are two of them, as these ingredients tend to result in nutrient loss, allowing additional pain and inflammation to occur in the body because of endometriosis.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.
Special thanks to Valerie Johnston of HealthLine for sharing such an informative post. 

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