A Gift for Yourself this Holiday Season

With the holiday season in full swing, it is easy to get swept up in the excitement of gift exchanges and holiday meals, leaving little time for yourself. However, it remains just as important to gift yourself the attention and introspection needed to tailor your self-care and nourishment to ensure you feel your best, even if your uterine fibroids (UF) are making that a challenge. As a reminder, symptoms of uterine fibroids can include severe menstrual bleeding, anemia, fatigue, and pain. These symptoms can have negative effects on workplace productivity and overall quality of life – when it comes to both your physical and emotional wellbeing.

If you are looking for ways to create comfort and coziness for yourself or a fellow fibroid fighter this holiday season, see below for some ideas that may enhance self-care, helping you feel refreshed for the new year.


Visit the (At-Home) Spa:

  • Warm compresses and heating pads
    • Some doctors recommend women experiencing cramping and achiness from their uterine fibroids try heated packs for relief. For continued relief, women can “lie down and put a hot pack or hot water bottle on the lower belly to ease the pain.”2
  • Try a bath
    • One way to alleviate sore muscles is by soaking in warm water. It is said that slightly hot water can help relax muscles and loosen stiff joints.3 If you want to give yourself more of a soothing spa-like experience, you can try adding 1-2 cups of Epsom salts, per the suggested amount on the package, to a very warm—not hot, but comfortable to the touch—bath.3 Epsom salts, while not proven, are often used as at-home treatments for pain, swelling, insomnia, and soreness, among other ailments.3
    • Use a bath bomb for an added experience
      • Bath bombs are single-use, dissolvable fragrant extracts and oils that can be added to your tub while running a bath. Some create suds, others have colors, and contain essential oils like lavender and orange that can aid in relaxation as well as anxiety and stress relief.4
  • Aromatherapy & Candles
      • If you are not a fan of baths, you can still reap many of the relaxation benefits through the use of candles and aromatherapy. Products like essential oil diffusers disperse one’s preferred essential oils into a space, encouraging relief of anxiety and stress, while also sometimes even boosting immunity and other fringe medical benefits.


Take a trip to the (At-Home) Gym:

    • Exercise to help with cramping
      • Many experts believe that sports and cardio can be beneficial for women with uterine fibroids, as it can sometimes drive relief from their associated symptoms.5 Be warned, fibroids can interfere with one’s ability to exercise, as the location of the fibroids within one’s uterus can make movement more challenging. Some doctors recommend light jogging or walking exercises to help you maintain a healthy weight, yoga or Pilates to strengthen your muscles, and light weight training.5
      • Exercise bands
        • At-home gym items, like exercise bands and light dumbbells, can be helpful when trying to get a workout in at home. Exercise is also shown to help alleviate symptoms associated with fibroids, like lower abdominal pain and cramping during periods.6
    • Stretching to reduce tension
      • Yoga mat
        • Light stretching and yoga can also offer some relief to symptoms, while also encouraging physical and emotional health.7 Try adding a yoga mat to your routine, which can offer added stability during an at-home yoga flow.
      • Lacrosse balls
        • For deeper massaging relief, try using a lacrosse ball in extra sore areas. Experts say, “lacrosse balls can be used as a powerful massage device that can help relieve pain and improve function in sore muscles.”8

Ultimately, it has been proven for some time that exercise, whether it be jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, gardening, or dancing, reduces anxiety and depression.8 Further, “exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.”9 Be careful not to push yourself too much though, as some experts recommend against intense physical activities that are strenuous to the body. 5 If you’re not sure about trying a new type of exercise, be sure to discuss it first with your doctor.


Still Need Stronger Relief?

If you find that your symptoms from uterine fibroids are constant without relief, over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications are available that may help. Ibuprofen dosed according to the label instructions may offer temporary relief, while prescriptions like hormonal therapy in the form of birth control, may be recommended by your doctor in the treatment of UF.2 If you find these OTC options and at-home remedies aren’t quite cutting it in terms of helping alleviate your fibroid symptoms, it may be time to talk to your doctor about minimally invasive surgical options for fibroid treatment or removal. There are now innovative laparoscopic options, such as the Acessa® procedure, available where you can go home the same day from the procedure and get back to work – without fibroids – in about 5 days.10

Though stress and anxiety can be heightened during the holidays, self-care is important all year long. If you find that your symptoms are persisting, and that relief is hard to come by, it is important that you speak with your doctor about what treatment options are available to you. If you need help finding a local doctor to speak with about your unique needs, visit: https://bit.ly/3EHCD6g



Works cited:

  1. Hartmann KE, Fonnesbeck C, Surawicz T, et al.(2017) Management of Uterine Fibroids [Internet]. Comparative Effectiveness Review, 195. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537742/
  2. Johnson, T.C. (2020, November 10). What Are the Treatments for Uterine Fibroids? https://www.webmd.com/women/uterine-fibroids/understanding-uterine-fibroids-treatment
  3. DerSarkissian, C. (2021, July 26). Why Take an Epsom Salts Bath? https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/epsom-salt-bath
  4. Cronkleton, E. (2019, August 9). How to Use Essential Oils. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-use-essential-oils
  5. Pridgett, T. (2020, October 28). It’s OK to Exercise With Uterine Fibroids, But You Might Want to Skip the HIIT Workouts. Popsugar. https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/is-it-ok-to-exercise-with-uterine-fibroids-47908776
  6. Boldt, A. (2019, July 30). Can Exercise Help Flatten Your Stomach When You Have Fibroids? https://www.livestrong.com/article/422558-will-exercising-help-to-flatten-your-stomach-with-fibroids/
  7. Fletcher, J. (2020, March 9). Which Yoga Exercises Helps To Shrink Uterine Fibroids? https://www.livestrong.com/article/385464-which-yoga-exercise-helps-to-shrink-uterine-fibroids/
  8. Freutel, N. (2016, December 19). How to Perform a Lacrosse Ball Massage on Sore Muscles. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/lacrosse-ball-massage
  9. Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. D. (2006). Exercise for mental health. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry8(2), 106. https://doi.org/10.4088/pcc.v08n0208a
  10. Chudnoff SG, Berman JM, Levine DJ, Harris M, Guido RS, Banks E. Outpatient procedure for the treatment and relief of symptomatic uterine myomas. Obstet Gynecol. 2013;121(5):1075-1082.