Yoga & Endometriosis
affects as many as 6% of the general population. Endometriosis is a female
health disorder that occurs when cells from the lining of the womb (uterus) grow
in other areas of the
This can lead to pain, irregular
and problems getting pregnant. While some women with endometriosis remain
asymptomatic, others experience dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, non-cyclical pelvic
pain, and subfertility. Now,
new research indicates that patients with endometriosis are also more likely
to develop inflammatory bowel disease.
Every month, a woman's ovaries produce
hormones that tell the cells lining the uterus (womb) to swell and get
thicker. The body removes these extra cells from the womb lining (endometrium)
when you get your period.
If these cells (called endometrial cells) implant and grow outside the uterus,
endometriosis results. The growths are called endometrial tissue implants. Women
with endometriosis typically have tissue implants on the ovaries, bowel, rectum,
bladder, and on the lining of the pelvic area. They can occur in other areas of
the body, too.
Unlike the endometrial cells found in the uterus, the tissue implants outside
the uterus stay in place when you get your period. They sometimes bleed a little
bit. They grow again when you get your next period. This ongoing process leads
pain and other symptoms of endometriosis.
Although endometriosis is typically diagnosed between ages 25 - 35, the
condition probably begins about the time that regular menstruation begins.
Pain is the main symptom of endometriosis. A woman suffering with
endometriosis may have:
- Painful periods
- Pain in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation
- Cramps for a week or two before menstruation and during
menstruation; cramps may be steady and range from dull to severe)
- Pain during or following sexual intercourse
- Pain with bowel movements
- Pelvic or low
back pain that may occur at any time during the menstrual cycle
Note: There may be no symptoms. Some women with a large number of
tissue implants in their pelvis have no pain at all, while some women
with milder disease have severe pain.
How can Yoga Help?
therapy has been found to alleviate symptoms associated with endometriosis and
is often a beneficial option for those seeking to complement or reduce the use
of endometriosis medication.
Yoga can help alleviate common endometriosis symptoms, namely, pain. Women
with endometriosis can experience such pain-related symptoms as painful periods,
pelvic pain and pain during intercourse. It can also help to alleviate
fertility problems that are a result of endometriosis.
Yoga, when and if practiced religiously can minimize pain by helping the
pain centre located in the brain to stabilize the gate-controlling mechanism
that is found in the spinal cord, as well as the secretion of painkillers that
are naturally released by the body.
Breathing exercises are used in yoga to help minimize pain since deep
exhalation promotes relaxation, while reducing tension. Increased awareness of
breathing also helps alleviate pain associated with endometriosis while
promoting calm and overall mental and physical health. In addition, reduced
stress levels have been linked to improved fertility.
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
tall on your sitting bones.
- Place a thick rolled blanket (or a bolster) behind you, with the short
end against your buttocks/sacrum. Place a block or pillow at the top of the
blanket if the blanket is not long enough to support your head when you lay
- Bend your knees and place your feet together and on the floor. Place a
rolled blanket beside each of your
positioned to support your
- Inhale deeply, lengthen the spine. Exhale and recline (using your arms
to support you). Rest the spine on the rolled blanket (bolster) that is
behind you. Let your head relax on the block or pillow.
- Tilt the pelvis toward the heels to create length in the lower spine. Be
sure the soles of the feet are still together. Bring arms out to the sides,
palms up. Let the shoulders and the chest soften and open. Rest and relax.
Breathe deeply. Stay for as long as is comfortable.
- To exit the posture, use your hands to help bring your knees together,
then inhale and lift up through the center, coming back to a seated
Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)
- Begin in hero pose -
- Bring the hands down to either side of your hips. Begin to walk the
hands back toward your butt as you lean your torso back.
- Come down onto your forearms. If you are sitting on a tall support, like
a block, this is as far as you should go. If you are sitting on a folded
blanket, make sure you have blankets of the same height in place to support
your spine as you come down.
- If you feel comfortable on the forearms, you can try continuing down
until your back rests on the floor.
- If you feel pain in the knees or low back, come out since these are not
the areas that this pose is intended to stretch.
- Make sure that the knees stay close together.
- Stay five breaths.
- To come out, raise yourself onto your forearms first. Then press into
the hands to bring yourself all the way up.
Beginners: The seated version of virasana is intense enough for many
beginners. Stay here or proceed with caution to avoid injury to the knees or
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
This Yoga Pose improves spinal
flexibility and strengthens the muscles in the
back. In addition, it is effective in relieving menstrual irregularities and
prone on the floor. Stretch your legs back, tops of the feet on the floor.
Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Hug the elbows back
into your body.
Press the tops of the feet and thighs and the pubis firmly into the
On an inhalation, begin to straighten the arms to lift the chest off the
floor, going only to the height at which you can maintain a connection
through your pubis to your legs. Press the tailbone toward the pubis and
lift the pubis toward the navel. Narrow the hip points. Firm but don't
harden the buttocks.
Firm the shoulder blades against the back, puffing the side ribs
forward. Lift through the top of the sternum but avoid pushing the front
ribs forward, which only hardens the lower back. Distribute the backbend
evenly throughout the entire spine.
Hold the pose anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. Release
back to the floor with an exhalation.
Viloma is also called the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. In this
Breathing Technique, you inhale through one nostril, retain the breath, and
exhale through the other nostril.
Inhale through the left nostril, closing the right with the thumb, to
the count of four.
Hold the breath, closing both nostrils, to the count of sixteen.
Exhale through the right nostril, closing the left with the ring and
little fingers, to the count of eight.
Inhale through the right nostril, keeping the left nostril closed with
the ring and little fingers, to the count of four.
Hold the breath, closing both nostrils, to the count of sixteen.
Exhale through the left nostril, keeping the right closed with the
thumb, to the count of eight.
It would be better to counterbalance a vigorous practice with
that soften, relax, and open the pelvis. Consider getting screened for
endometriosis if your mother or sister has been diagnosed with endometriosis, or
if you are unable to become pregnant after trying for 1 year.
- Pub Med Health
Dated 17 February 2012