Ten days ago I got my period. Not such a big deal (and you may wonder the reason for the ‘overshare’) except, that I’d just had it a few weeks prior. Along with excessive bleeding came pain so intense that I could no little more than teach my classes and roll on the floor hoping someone would kill me. The cramping was even too much for this masochist so I went to my Gyn. I have endometrosis and a history of fibroids, so pain isn’t unusual. But dealing with an extra period- um- I don’t think so. I don’t think so. Not happening. No way.
Turns out my fibroids were to blame.
What are fibroids anyway?
Here’s the skinny according to womenshealth.gov :
Fibroids are muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus (womb). Another medical term for fibroids is “leiomyoma” (leye-oh-meye-OH-muh) or just “myoma”. Fibroids are almost always benign (not cancerous). Fibroids can grow as a single tumor, or there can be many of them in the uterus. They can be as small as an apple seed or as big as a grapefruit. In unusual cases they can become very large.
There are factors that can increase a woman’s risk of developing fibroids.
Age. Fibroids become more common as women age, especially during the 30s and 40s through menopause. After menopause, fibroids usually shrink.
Family history. Having a family member with fibroids increases your risk. If a woman’s mother had fibroids, her risk of having them is about three times higher than average.
Ethnic origin. African-American women are more likely to develop fibroids than white women.
Obesity. Women who are overweight are at higher risk for fibroids. For very heavy women, the risk is two to three times greater than average.
Eating habits. Eating a lot of red meat (e.g., beef) and ham is linked with a higher risk of fibroids. Eating plenty of green vegetables seems to protect women from developing fibroids.
I must admit I’m not so sure about the green veggie thing. My diet is 70% plant-based. I don’t eat meat. I’m not overweight. However, there is a family history of fibroids.
My doctor was great and after an exam I was sent off to get an ultrasound to get the bottom of the problem.
Fibroids themselves are usually benign and don’t cause problems unless they push on something or get embedded in a way that may cause pain.
There’s tons of talk about how to ‘cure’ your fibroids, but I give serious side-eye to anyone who says that they can ‘cure’ anything. There’s no cure for the common cold but eat a can of kidney beans, hop on one leg while drinking turmeric milk and I’m cured of fibroids. Yeah, sure.
However- yoga helped some. A few restorative versions of the following poses helped get me through the rough patches:
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) – resting with a block under my sacrum was such a relief for my sacrum.
Vaparita Karani (Legs against the wall)- this pose is said to be an attitude adjuster (of which I was greatly in need), relieves mild back pain and helps with tired legs and cramped feet.
Once the tests come back, I’ll know more. But in the meantime- it’s yoga, yoga and more yoga. With some Motrin when absolutely necessary.
Are there yoga poses that you use to help alleviate physical pain?
There’s a nifty fact sheet about fibroids here. Check it out.