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Decreased Endometriosis Risk Associated With Strenuous Exercise

Decreased Endometriosis Risk Associated With Strenuous Exercise

Since the hormone estrogen is involved in thickening the lining of the uterus during the menstrual cycle, trying to lower levels of estrogen in the body can help a woman to keep the endometriosis risk at bay.

How to Maintain Lower Estrogen Levels in your Body?

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Two case-control studies conducted in the United States have reported a decreased endometriosis risk associated with strenuous exercise for at least 3 hours a week.

Women who reported frequent, high-intensity activity during the 2 years prior to the reference date had a 76% reduced endometrioma risk (odds ratio = 0.24, 95% confidence interval: 0.08, 0.71) compared with women who engaged in no high-intensity activity. A non-significant 53% reduction in risk was observed for women who reported such activity at ages 12–21 years (odds ratio = 0.47, 95% confidence interval: 0.18, 2.23). Activities of lower intensity, frequency, and duration were not associated with a woman’s risk of endometrioma. (ref: In one of the studies, an inverse association of endometriosis was observed with exercise (OR, 0.6; 95% CI, 0.3-1.5), but the effect was limited to women who exercised > or = 4 hours per week (OR, 0.4; 95% CI, 0.2-1.2).

Identifying Strenuous Exercise

To account varying levels of energy expenditure, a metabolic equivalent (MET) is assigned to each activity. A MET is the ratio of the metabolic rate for a specific activity to a standard resting metabolic rate of 1.0 kcal per kilogram of body weight per hour; one MET is defined as the rate during quiet sitting. Therefore, a 3.0-MET activity would require three times the metabolic energy expenditure of sitting quietly. Intensity codes (in METs) are available in the updated version of the Compendium of Physical Activities.

The energy cost of an activity can be determined by dividing the relative oxygen cost of the activity (ml O2/kg/min) x by 3.5.

High-intensity activities as those with intensity codes of ≥6.0 METs, such as running, bicycling, and tennis. Activities of moderate intensity (4.0–5.9 METs) consisted of those such as gardening, dancing, and softball; low/light activities (<4.0 METs) included golf, bowling, and walking for pleasure.

A significant 70 percent risk of endometrioma (cyst of ovary) can be reduced by regular high-intensity physical activity (≥three times/week, ≥30 minutes/episode).


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