Do Our Bodies Have a Chance to Remodel?

I believe they do. Our bodies are constantly remodeling throughout our lives for better or for worse. Here are some examples – we have all seen the world class athlete turn into an inactive, sedentary ex-athlete. Their body remodeled by turning their lean muscle tissue into adipose tissue. How about a more positive story of the 40 year old life-long smoker who stops smoking and sees many of the changes in his lungs and body reversed now that he has stopped smoking and began exercising.

Our habits, our posture, our strength, and our activity level all affect how our bodies remodel over time. If we passively stand by and watch changes take place, we are sure to see aging take place at an accelerated rate. But if we set our minds on the goal of remaining active, working a regular strengthening program, holding neutral spine posture, and engaging our pelvic basket, we give our bodies an opportunity to achieve better health. We can make the positive changes to our posture, activity level, strength, and nutrition at any point in our lives and see the benefits. One of these benefits may be reversing or controlling the symptoms of prolapse and/or urine leakage.

There is connective tissue surrounding our pelvic organs that works along with ligaments and tendons to hold our organs in place. The connective tissue throughout our bodies is a living tissue that is constantly either going through a process of regeneration or degradation. This connective tissue is the support structure of our bones, our muscles, and our organs. It is important to understand that with healthy activity, good nutrition, and optimal posture, we can harness this regeneration of tissue and remodel our body in a positive way. This is an important message for any woman experiencing prolapse or incontinence. By consistently holding a more supportive posture for your pelvic organs and engaging the correct muscles to help cradle your organs, you give your body an opportunity to lay down new connective tissue that can help to hold your pelvic organs in an elevated position.

Remodeling our bodies takes consistency and a commitment to positive lifestyle changes. The benefit over the years will be more than providing better support for our pelvic organs. Many will note relief from chronic pain, many will note improved energy and endurance, and so many of us will prevent future dysfunction, all with a consistent focus on posture, nutrition, strength, and increased activity.

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17 Responses

03.04.11

This information is so encouraging! I often get the message that once you get diagnosed with prolapse there is no answer but surgical intervention. Thank you for sharing that our bodies can learn and change- even our pelvic girdle!

03.04.11

Unfortunately the message of surgery being the only option is widespread. Even if it ends up being your choice in the end, it should never be the first option. The exercises and posture on the Hab It dvd will only be of benefit to your overall health and should be followed with or without surgery – and I can say that with confidence!

It is “word of mouth” that has been our best tool in letting women know of their options. So thank you for finding my blog and the Hab It dvd. Let us and all women know of your thoughts and your response as you work your way through the next 4-6 weeks.

-Tasha

03.04.11

Is this true for rectocele, too? (Can we improve our conditions or at least prevent worsening) with exercise? Will your dvd help with both cystocele _and_ rectocele?

03.04.11

Can connective tissue really remodel? I thought that once stretched, it is weakened and stretched for good. I know that the musculature can support it and make the symptoms better, but I’ve also been told that surgery is eventually be inevitable…if not now than with age and as hormones change the tissue for the worse…I hope that isn’t true!

03.04.11

Emily,
The exercises and posture (it is key that you recognize both being important) will help your rectocele. Will your rectocele completely resolve, never to be noticed again…very doubtful. It is true that your body is forever changed and whether that be because of the trauma of pregnancy and/or childbirth that has caused fascial defects or because of the thinning of connective tissue that gradually occurs with age. Whatever the cause of your prolapse, we can turn to the structures that can offer support. That would be the secondary support of your pelvic floor muscles and your pelvic basket muscles and your posture.

Now, onto the remodeling of our connective tissue – it does occur throughout our lifetime. Although it is true to say that a torn ligament will not magically heal itself, the fascia surrounding our organs, our muscles, and our non-torn tendons and ligaments will continue to remodel over time. It is up to us whether that remodeling is positive or negative. We exercise this control through strengthening exercises, posture, and nutrition. So, the thought that surgery is the only option is wrong. We have the opportunity to improve those factors that we do have control over and often this results in a significant improvement in our symptoms.

-Tasha

03.04.11

I am a young (or maybe 37 isn’t so young anymore!) grand-multipara, currently 2 weeks postpartum. All of my deliveries were vaginal, three of them were natural home birth. I have vaginal prolapse and a cystocele. These have occurred after all of my deliveries and have tended to resolve to a certain extent after the postpartum period. I am very active. My oldest child is 7 I have a two story house, and we eat on the floor, if that tells you anything about the amount of lunging and squatting I do!

I just bought your CD and am very excited about receiving it.

This is my question: what do you consider the ideal postpartum routine to prevent prolapse after childbirth? I read a lot about traditional “laying in” periods–which personally, living in the Middle East myself, I think are “idealized” by Westerners. Some modern health care providers actually say that activity and exercise are healthy postpartum. Aside from the obvious (no lifting, no rectus abdominus work) what say you about activity in general and your DVD workout in particular during the 40 day postpartum period?

Thank you!

03.04.11

I 100% believe that the earlier you begin to re-activate your transversus abdominus, your multifidi, and your pelvic floor muscles following the trauma of vaginal or ceserean delivery, the better. Establishing the coordination of these three muscle groups is so important to your recovery.

Beginning these exercises on your stomach or back is important as you fire them in a position where you are not working against gravity. Then, as your body feels ready, progressing to a sitting and standing positions is the natural progression.

Although, I don’t support the “laying in” approach, but rather a gradual progression of difficulty of exercise, I do support avoiding heavy impact activity during this period of recovery. When your body feels ready and you are confident in activating the muscle groups I mentioned above, then beginning a regular walking program, swimming program, biking program, etc, is recommended.

-Tasha

03.04.11

I commented on this once already, but I’m going to take this to mean that even though it’s probably _best_ if we have been consistant about exercising since discovering our prolapses…if we haven’t, we still have a chance to make things better (i.e. alleviate symptoms)? My youngest is 2 1/2, and I discovered my prolapses shortly after her birth, but I have been off and on discouraged, so have not been consistant. I feel like they are signficant, yet I do not suffer from incontinance, just discomfort. I’d like to feel I can start with a clean slate and just let my body remodel. I’m in decent shape otherwise (good health, good weight)…just prolaps-y! Your thoughts?

03.04.11

Emily, you are right on point. There is no deadline for rehabbing your pelvic floor and all the support structures. The connective tissue in our bodies is constantly remodeling, so up until our last day, we have the opportunity to make positive or negative changes to our bodies.

That being said, there is that early period following injury or trauma (i.e. birth) that our pelvis is regenerating and laying down new tissue at a faster rate because our bodies are responding to stress. Knowing this, you would expect to see more rapid results during the early window after delivering. Beyond this point, change is still happening, but the changes will take place more slowly and will require a more lengthy, consistent, approach to optimal posture, habit re-training, and strengthening.

So take comfort in knowing you can make a difference now and in years to come.

Tasha

03.04.11

Hi Tasha,
I am going back to work next week after maternity leave. I’ve been pretty good about using your video for guidance for my exercises to this point, but imagine that I won’t have the time to do it before or after a work day if I also want to do any walking/jogging. I manage to do several sets of pelvic floor lifts and quick flicks and occasionally some of the ones lying on my belly while putting my youngest to bed and try to do at least a couple 20 second planks while playing on the floor with her. Are there others that I should really focus on getting in regularly? Are you able to now incorporate the exercises into your daily activity or do you still have a separate pelvic floor strengthening exercise session each day?
Thanks! -emily

03.04.11

Emily,
You can definitely find your favorites and stick with them. This makes you more compliant with a maintenance program. I would really like to see you break your year up into 3-4 phases. For example phase I could be your strengthening phase, where you focus on complete core strength as your primary goal and cardio is secondary. Phase II will be base building where you begin to build your conditioning and set a goal of 6 core stability/pelvic floor exercises per day. Phase III would be higher intensity exercise, really challenging your cardio and setting a goal of 3 core/pelvic floor stability exercises per day. Then you cycle back to Phase I which is lighter cardio, but more focus on strengthening.

I am so excited to provide an advanced core stablity/pelvic floor program for all of you to progress to. It is the program that I do daily, following similar scheduling throughout the year that I just outlined above. Stay tuned to our website and this workout will be available just as soon as we update everything.

As with all of us. Time is in short supply, so 6 exercises/day should take you 20 min. and 3 ex. per day would be just 10 minu. Once you get used to them, you can definitely fit them into your normal daily routine. And then on those days where you do have the time, doing them as a group of 6 in a row is great!

Hope this answers your question. It is very exciting to me when you begin to return to your prior activity level and look to establish a healthy routine.

-Tasha

03.04.11

Any news on your advanced core stablity/pelvic floor program??

03.04.11

I know I have been chirping about my Advanced 7 Day Stabilization Program for a while now and it is just a couple of weeks away. Our web designer is getting it up and running so that we have not only the written exercise program but also the videos on YouTube that you can view on your phone or Ipad at the gym. I will be so excited to provide this to everyone who is looking for a more intense workout that will further strengthen your entire pelvic basket! Can’t wait…thanks for your interest!

Tasha

03.04.11

Hi, Tasha:

I was hoping you would respond to my second comment in the Own Your Body section. However…I’ve been doing the DVD exercises for three weeks, doing one or two sets of exercises five days per week. They feel great, as I stated in my other post. I am really hoping that I can influence some re-shaping of the fascia through exercise and posture, even though I’m post-menopausal by several years.

For whatever reason, it seems that my prolapses feel worse 3 weeks into the program. I just feel irritated “down below.” Full disclosure: I had a gynecological exam a few days ago, but it was very gentle. A week before that, I had an endometrial biopsy (all is well, and my uterus is very small). That was painful, but I think the uterus and cervix have recovered from the trauma.

I can pull things up with a strong 2-step contraction, but they don’t seem to stay pulled up. I just posted a question on the prolapse health forum as well. Please reassure me that nothing I’m doing here should exacerbate symptoms of a cystocele or uterine prolapse. Thanks.

Falling Up

03.04.11

Falling up,
Stay consistent! Results from the Hab It program will happen with a consistent awareness of your posture and consistent exercise. I recommend 4- 6 weeks of consistent exercise with the Hab It dvd, and you have introduced a bit of stress/inflammatory response with the biopsy.
Sounds like you have found and activated the correct muscles since you can feel your prolapse pull up with the 2 step kegel. Just stay the course, keep reading my blog for those little reminders, and focus on your neutral spine posture. You will get there!

-Tasha

03.04.11

Thank you, Tasha! I really like your positive, optimistic approach to this. It is such a frustrating condition, and I need all the positive emphasis I can find. I am working to practice the neutral spine posture when standing and sitting. I am also taking some supplementary Vitamin D and I walk outdoors several days per week. Here’s hoping everything is really

Falling Up!

03.04.11

Falling up,
I appreciate your focus on the little things. Check out my blog titled, “Work extension while you walk”. You should always be thinking about extension. One other thing that many women have found to help is topical estrace cream. There is good information on this within the prolapsehealth forums.

-Tasha

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