Studies indicate to reduce your risk of uterine fibroid — sit less and move more.
Sitting for many hours a day is commonplace in today’s society. As an example, one study found that adults on average spend about 7 hours of their waking time sitting.1 While this may not be surprising, considering the number of desk jobs out there and the amount of television we consume, all that sitting may be negatively impacting our health and contributing to some of the most common chronic diseases.
Even exercising more can’t counteract all the negative effects of a lot of sitting. Many studies reveal that people who exercise are still more likely to suffer from chronic health issues if they sit a lot.2
But don’t despair. One paper published by the European Heart Journal found that simply sitting less can reduce one’s risk for heart disease and that might mean that sitting less can reduce the onset of other conditions as well — such as having large fibroids in the uterus.
Sitting less may reduce the growth of large fibroids in the uterus.
A study that took place in Beijing, China, discovered a link between physical activity and a reduction in the incidence of large fibroids in the uterus. This study used a self-reported questionnaire and health screenings to examine the activity levels of 73 women who had uterine fibroids and 210 women who did not.
The study found that premenopausal women who reported a moderate level of activity during work (such as standing) had fibroids less often than women who did not. Their risk was even lower than that of women who engaged in moderate exercise.
How does sitting less reduce the risk of large fibroids in the uterus?
The link between sitting less and having a smaller risk of fibroids may lie in the hormones that are thought to contribute to the growth of these benign tumors. The authors of the China study noted that there are other studies that found that sitting less reduced the risk of breast cancer, another hormone-driven disease, as well.4
It is possible that physical activity can reduce the number of sex hormones circulating in a woman’s body. In addition, physical activity can contribute to a lower weight5,6 – good news, because obesity is linked to higher levels of sex hormones. In fact, longitudinal studies7 link excessive sitting with higher BMI (Body Mass Index). Sitting less can help correct this problem.
Move – any way you can – to reduce fibroid risk
All of this research does not mean that women need to adopt a rigorous exercise routine. What it means is that any movement can contribute to an overall reduced risk of developing large fibroids in the uterus. Whether this movement is from housework, shopping, or just climbing stairs, an activity can make a significant difference in improving your health. Here are a few more ideas for sitting less: 6, 9, 10
- Play with your children more often.
- Walk while on the phone.
- Stand up from your desk every half hour.
- Get off public transportation early.
- Get a standing desk
Even small changes can improve your health over the long term.
Fibroid treatment can help
Of course, sometimes fibroids require treatment.
The doctors at VIVA EVE are fibroid experts, and provide high-quality, personalized care for each and every patient we see. We will partner with you to determine the best way to treat your problematic fibroids or adenomyosis symptoms.
Sources for information referenced in this post
- Wijndaele, K., Orrow, G., Ekelund, U., Sharp, S. J., Brage, S., Griffin, S. J., & Simmons, R. K. (2014). Increasing objectively measured sedentary time increases clustered cardiometabolic risk: a 6 year analysis of the ProActive study. Diabetologia, 57(2): 305-312. doi:10.1007/s00125-013-3102-y
- Biswas, A., Oh, P. I., Faulkner, G. E., Bajaj, R. R. Silver, M. A., Mitchell, M. S., & Alter, D. A. (2015). Sedentary time and its association with risk for disease incidence, mortality, and hospitalization in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 162(2): 123-132. doi:10.7326/M14-1651
- Healy, G. N., Matthews, C. E., Dunstan, D. W., Winkler, E. A., & Owen, N. (2011). Sedentary time and cardio-metabolic biomarkers in US adults: NHANES 2003-06. European Heart Journal, 32(5): 590-597. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehq451
- He, Y., Zeng, Q., Dong, S., Qin, L., Li, G., & Wang, P. (2013). Associations between uterine fibroids and lifestyles including diet, physical activity, and stress: a case-control study in China. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 22(1): 109-117. doi:10.6133/apjcn.2013.22.1.07
- Khan, A. T., Shehmar, M., & Gupta, J. K. (2014). Uterine fibroids: current perspectives. International Journal of Women’s Health, 6: 95-114. doi:10.2147/IJWH.S51083
- Kushi, L. H., Doyle, C., McCullough, M., Rock, C. L., Denmark-Wahnefried, W., Bandera, E. V., Gapstur, S., Patel, A. V., Andrew, K., Gansler, T., & The American Cancer Society 2010 Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. (2012). American cancer society guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 62(1):30-67. doi:10.3322/caac.20140
- Uijtdewilligen, L., Twisk, J. W. R., Singh, A. S., Chinapaw, M. J. M., van Mechelen, W., & Brown, W. J. (2014). Biological, socio-demographic, work and lifestyle determinants of sitting in young adult women: a prospective cohort study. The International Journal of Behavior Nutrition and Physical Activity, 11: 7.doi:10.1186/1479-5868-11-7
- US Dept of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health. (2015). Retrieved April 14, 2015, from Uterine Fibroids Fact Sheet.
- Heart Foundation. (2011). Retrieved June 9, 2015, from Sitting less for adults.
- Kravitz, L. (2011). American College of Sports Medicine.Retrieved June 9, 2015, from Reducing Sedentary Behaviors: Sitting Less and Moving More.