If you're at risk, you can help reduce your odds of getting
endometriosis by following this self-help advice.
Get regular exercise. Harvard researchers have found that
regular aerobic exercise, started early in life, may lower women's risk of developing
endometriosis. According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical
Association, strenuous exercise lowers the level of estrogen in the body, and this may
help suppress the symptoms of endometriosis. The more aerobic exercise a woman engages in
and the earlier she starts, the lower her risk of developing the disease in the first
place, according to a study of endometriosis led by Daniel W. Cramer of Brigham
Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. This study found that women who exercised
more than seven hours a week had one-fifth the average risk of developing endometriosis.
Unfortunately, this beneficial effect was limited to those who began exercising before the
age of twenty-six. If you started exercising later in life, or if you exercise only in
moderation, you may not get the same high level of protection.
Stay hard and lean. Leanness (a higher muscle to body fat
ratio) means reduced blood levels of estrogen, which may reduce your risk of developing
endometriosis. Exercise, along with a low-fat diet, builds muscle and bums fat.
Avoid using an IUD. The use of intrauterine devices (IUDs) is
definitely related to heavier-than-normal menstrual flow, which is a risk factor for
endometriosis. Some researchers think IUD use may be associated with an increased risk for
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