One in 10 girls and women in the United States and as many as 176 million women worldwide live with endometriosis, a condition in which tissue that typically lines the inside of the uterus grows on the exterior of the organ. The painful disorder usually involves the tissue expanding over the ovaries, bowel, or the lining of the pelvis.
Several medications can treat the symptoms, and surgery is an option. Now, a new study shows that yoga can control pelvic pain associated with endometriosis.
Writing in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, doctors from Brazil said they set out to understand whether integrating yoga’s body and mind techniques could help manage endometrial pain. They recruited 15 women who have endometriosis to practice yoga for eight weeks at a university hospital in southeastern Brazil. (Read the abstract.)
After completing the twice-a-week program, the women participated in a single, semi-structured interview.
All 15 reported that yoga was beneficial to controlling pelvic pain. They related that they were aware of the integration of body and psyche during yoga practice and that this helped in the management of pain.
The women “had identified a relationship between pain management and breathing techniques (pranayama) learned in yoga, and that breathing increased their ability to be introspective, which relieved pain,” the authors wrote. “The participants have developed greater self-knowledge, autonomy, and self-care and have reduced the use of pain and psychiatric medications. They created ties among themselves, suggesting that the yoga group allowed psychosocial support.”