Running with a painful ovarian cyst is similar to being stabbed in the belly repeatedly then running away with the culprit hot on your tail. (Think Arya from Game of Thrones being stabbed then having to run before she’s healed.) You try so hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other in search of safety and comfort but are in so much pain you just want to give up and let the person finish you off. When you do stop you realize the pain is still present, if not more pronounced.
It’s important to point out that some women have ovarian cysts and they cause no pain. Others, like me, can count on at least two days of pain, extreme pain, per month. (In this case, go see a doctor as it could be another underlying problem.)
Why start running if the pain is so extreme? Because, most times, there is no pain and afterwards you feel refreshed, happy, your endorphins are pumping. Yeah that and let’s be honest – because you need to fit in those damn skinny jeans this weekend for date night.
Listen, ovarian cysts don’t have to stop your running routine so you should have no problem fitting into your skinny jeans. However, it’s important to determine the cause of the extreme pain associated with ovarian cysts.
- Functional ovarian cysts are caused by normal menstrual cycle hormones. They generally cause no pain or don’t last very long.
- Dermoid cysts can be more painful. “They can grow on one or both ovaries and usually contain hair, nails, teeth, eyes and sebaceous glands.” Yep, pretty gross.
- Cystadenomas ovarian cysts can also become painful. These babies can cause weight gain too, which is never fun.
- Endometriomas ovarian cysts caused by endometriosis are probably the most well known of the painful cysts. These cysts and everything else that happens during endometriosis can cause extreme pain.
In most cases, you can run safely, albeit in pain. In fact, according to LIVESTRONG.com a study published in the April 2016 “American Family Physician” said there is no harm in exercising when trying to manage ovarian cysts and according “to a small study published in the June 2008 issue of “Journal of Exercise Science and Physiotherapy:” physical activity reduced cyst size in women with Polycystic Syndrome.”
If you’re like me, you might have to take a couple days off from running each month because the pain comes on strong from the bouncing. Track your menstrual cycle and pain and plan your training accordingly.
Of course, if it becomes weeks at a time that you have to take off, like it did for me, you might want to seek relief.
When I emailed my doctor, she basically said we can do surgery or we can manage the pain with painkillers. We had already tried brith control pills and they didn’t work. It’s not that she’s a bad doctor, but the fact is, treatment isn’t exact and can vary case by case. Plus, let’s be honest, medicine is still male dominated and while penile dysfunction is at the top of medical and pharma’s list of things to cure, women’s reproductive organs don’t seem as important. I mean come on guys, do you not care that those organs carry on your last name? (Okay ladies, not in all cases, but help me prove my point here.)
There are other options I’ve been told. Yoga and homeopathic remedies. I’m looking to give them a try now. Suggestions? Post in comments!
In the meantime, I’m gearing up to stop whining and start training again. In fact, I’m even getting ready to sign up for the Equinox Half in Fort Collins. So cheers and let the training begin!