Exercising with bladder and uterine prolapse does not need to be a mystery, nor should these conditions keep you from being healthy and fit. Choosing exercises that are safe to perform with all types of Pelvic Organ Prolapse has been made easy thanks to Michelle Kenway – Physiotherapist internationally renowned author and exercise instructor for women whose massively popular YouTube Channel has millions of views and informs women about all things pelvic floor.
This blog on her website originally published here covers how to exercise with confidence and protect your prolapse. It shows you how exercises can worsen pelvic organ prolapse and how to choose safe exercises.
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These Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist guidelines teach you how to exercise with confidence and protect your prolapse.
Read on now to learn about:
Prolapse and exercise is by Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway to help women with prolapse stay active and exercise safely. Michelle is the author of Inside Out the internationally acclaimed guide to pelvic floor safe exercise for women.
A pelvic prolapse can occur with any of the pelvic organs including the bladder, urethra (urine tube) uterus and rectum. A prolapse occurs when the pelvic floor supports weaken and stretch allowing the pelvic organs to bulge into the walls of the vagina (vaginal prolapse) or from the rectum (rectal prolapse). The pelvic floor supports include the pelvic floor muscles and the strong pelvic floor tissues that hold the pelvic organs in place.
A prolapse usually occurs in women (and men) who have weakened pelvic floor support. The pelvic floor is commonly weakened and prolapse caused by:
Some forms of exercise can weaken the pelvic floor and worsen a prolapse.
If you have a prolapse you are likely to have weakness in your pelvic floor muscles and supportive tissues. This makes your pelvic floor more prone to injury since it is less resistant to pressure and strain. Exercise places downward pressure on the pelvic floor (shown right) If the pressure is too great for the pelvic floor to withstand, the pelvic floor muscles becomes stretched, weak and floppy and less able to support your already prolapsed organs. This is how prolapse can become mere severe with inappropriate exercise that is not matched to the existing strength of the pelvic floor.
Prolapse and weak pelvic floor supports ⇒ inappropriate exercise causes pelvic floor strain ⇒ progressive stretch and damage to pelvic floor tissues ⇒ progressive weakness of pelvic floor ⇒ decreased prolapse support ⇒ prolapse worsens in severity
The key questions to ask when choosing exercise with a prolapse are:
High impact fitness exercise involves exercises with both feet off the ground at the same time. The impact of landing forcefully increases the downward pressure on the pelvic floor and prolapse. The pressure of body weight is transferred to the pelvic floor and lower body. This is why prolapse symptoms often feel worse inappropriate fitness exercises such as running and jumping. When repeated over extended duration, high impact exercise can progressively stretch and strain the pelvic floor supports.
Fitness and weight loss/management exercise can be readily modified to protect the pelvic floor and remain highly effective. Low impact exercise is the key to reducing impact on the pelvic floor. Low impact exercise is exercise with at least one foot in contact with the ground at all times.
Safe strength training with a prolapse is very feasible, however traditional strength training programs are designed for men and often fail to apply pelvic floor safe strength training principles
Pelvic floor and prolapse worsening is more likely with:
Women seeking pelvic floor safe strength exercises can access a complete physical workout in Inside Out Strength DVD workout for women with prolapse, designed and presented by Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway.
Scientific research shows that traditional intense core abdominal exercises increase the downward pressure on the pelvic floor and cause descent of the pelvic floor in women with pelvic floor dysfunction. The risk of injury seems to be increased with these exercises in women with previous vaginal delivery.
Some unsafe core exercises with a prolapse include:
Some general exercise classes include exercises that may increase the risk of prolapse worsening with increased pelvic floor pressure. General exercise classes are designed for mainstream, not for women with pelvic floor prolapse. This means that exercises general exercise classes may be unsuitable for prolapse and require modification. The temptation in general exercise classes is often to perform intense and unsuitable exercises with the potential to worsen a prolapse.
If unsure about any exercise either leave it out or speak with your instructor for alternative exercises. Be mindful of the difficulty of catering to a large number of individuals with wide ranging abilities and expectations with pelvic floor safe exercises in group exercise.
If you or someone you know is struggling with perinatal anxiety and depression please seek assistance by visiting PANDA– Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia or calling the National Helpline 1300 726 306.