Lifestyle changes that lower fibroid risk

Monday April 05 2021
health02pix
By Joan Salmon

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous swellings that grow within the uterine walls. When one has fibroids, often, surgery is recommended to help reduce symptoms, especially if having children is a consideration.

However, prevention is better than cure as some women can have these recur even after surgery. With some lifestyle changes, a woman can lower the risk of getting fibroids.

A healthy gut
Dr Paul Kasenene, a nutritionist, says most of our hormones are regulated by good bacteria in our digestive system. “If one has constant gas, bloating, constipation or abdominal discomfort, this can lead to hormonal imbalance that causes irregular and painful periods as well as increased risk for fibroid growth.  

Exercise regularly
Working out is essential in fibroid prevention. “It helps in shedding off excess weight which always improves hormone balance. Exercising also helps rid you of toxins through sweating which leaves the body cleaner,” he shares. “Try to get three hours a week of exercise with a target of 30 to 60 minutes per session,” says Innocent Kwame, a nutritionist.

Get enough sleep
Apart from helping you feel fresh and and increasing your productivity, getting ample sleep is important in balancing your hormones. “Poor sleeping habits can lead to increased risk of obesity and its related problems such as hormonal imbalance, as well as other ailments such as Type 2 diabetes,” Aisha Ssentamu, a wellness expert, shares.

Drink a lot of water
Ssentamu says drinking water not only keeps you hydrated but also keeps your glandular functioning at its best. “When the glandular functionality is disturbed, there will be hormonal imbalance. Drinking water helps to flush toxins out of the body while keeping cells functioning optimally,” Ssentamu says.

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Avoid stress
Life has several twists and turns, some of which leave us burdened. However, Dr Kasenene says, stress not only affects a woman’s menstrual cycle but also their hormones and more so oestrogen levels. “Deep breathing, forgiveness and gratitude will keep you calm and stress free, helping you ward off a number of diseases, fibroids inclusive,” he says.

Have children early
According to utswmed.org, by 35 years, 40-60 per cent of women have developed fibroids. While small growths may not be harmful, bigger fibroids may need to be removed surgically and this can leave scars on the uterine walls.

“This makes getting pregnant difficult yet age already plays a role in reduced fertility levels. Therefore, where possible, if you can have children earlier, you will likely reduce your risk of fibroids,” Dr Kasenene shares.

Healthy weight
Being overweight significantly increases the risk for fibroids. “If a woman has fibroids, one of the first things is to ensure that you try and maintain a healthy weight and normal blood sugar levels,” Dr Kasenene says.

That said, these lifestyle changes cannot rid you of fibroids. If you have symptoms such as heavy or prolonged periods, bleeding between periods, pelvic pain and pressure and painful sex, among others, it is advisable that you see a doctor for medical help as soon as possible.

jsalmon@ug.nationmedia.com

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