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Inversions and Menstruation

While practicing inversions when you have your period probably won't cause endometriosis as previously thought, it's still not a good idea for reasons having to do with vascular congestion.

By Yoko Yoshikawa

According to Mary Pullig Schatz, M.D., it is not true that inverting during menses causes endometriosis. The classic theory was that endometriosis is caused from "retrograde menstruation," in which bits of menstrual endometrium go up the fallopian tubes, lodge in the pelvic cavity, and grow, says Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom (Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1998). Schatz states that this theory is outdated, and that "it is now known that endometriosis arises from the presence of cells in the pelvic lining that are capable of developing into endometrial-type cells." Schatz does advise against inverting while menstruating, however, because it may lead to vascular congestion: The uterine veins, which are thin, can stretch and partially collapse, while uterine arteries continue to pump more menstrual blood into the uterus. If inversions cause you to bleed more than usual during your period, you may become weak and emotionally vulnerable.
For details, read "A Woman's Balance: Inversions and Menstruation," by Mary Pullig Schatz, M.D., at http://www.iyengar.ch/Deutsch/text_menstruation.htm.

Search our Poses section for asanas that are therapeutic during menstruation.

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Reader Comments

subduedjoy

I recently started taking an aerial yoga class in which we are upside down for a substantial portion of the class. The last time I went to class, I went to the bathroom only to find out that my menstrual period had began. Not wanting to leave, because I never would have known that my menstrual period had begun if I hadn't gone to the bathroom, I stayed and took the class anyway. Then it hit me, the heaviest period that I have ever had in my life, and I'm 51.

Jenny

Hi Estelle, could you provide some references of your reading related to this please?

Estelle

I'm afraid I must disagree with this. Retrograde menstruation has NOT been disproved as a cause for endometriosis according to all the reading I've done. It is still believed to be one of the several possible causes. Thus I would caution women to avoid inversion positions while they are menstruating. I have endometriosis and I'm afraid that inversions, swimming (doing tumbleturns, i.e. inversions in the water), using the menstrual cup (mooncup/keepr) and having sex during menstruation may have contributed to its development. At any rate, now I avoid these possible causes.

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