How do you know if you have a prolapse? Some urogynocologists go as far as to say that every woman will experience some degree of prolapse in their lives. A prolapse? What exactly is it, what causes it, what can I do to prevent it or resolve it? I wanted to use this blog to talk about all of these questions surrounding prolapse because so many of us have or will experience the symptoms.

Let’s take it one question at a time. What does a prolapse feel like? For some it may feel like a soft, round bulge within your vaginal canal. This may be your bladder or bowel that have dropped out of its normal position and is pushing on the anterior or posterior vaginal wall respectively. For others, they may feel a firm structure within their vaginal canal or pressing out of their vaginal opening. This firm tissue is their cervix and is caused from their uterus dropping out of its normal position.

The most common sensation that women describe when they are experiencing a prolapse is a heaviness or, sometimes, an achinesss in their pelvis. Many women describe a feeling like “the bottom might fall out,” as if their pelvic organs are lacking support. The diagnosis becomes more difficult when the symptoms are mild. You may only feel pressure or heaviness with certain activities and not others. With a mild prolapse, the bulge that many feel may be higher up within their vaginal canal rather than at the opening, and is therefore not as easy to discover.

Another question is whether prolapse is associated with incontinence? The answer is that the symptoms of prolapse may or may not be associated with incontinence. They both have common causes which could be one or several of the following: decreased estrogen levels, the constant pull of gravity, decreased pelvic floor muscle strength, and tissue damage from pregnancy and/or childbirth. Because of the common causes, the symptoms of incontinence and prolapse are often seen together, but not always.

Many ask me if they can exercise with a prolapse or if they will make things worse. My answer is simple – you must exercise with a prolapse or your symptoms will most likely get worse. Now, the type of exercise may produce different results. For example, heavy lifting or any exercise that makes you increase your intra-abdominal pressure through a valsalva maneauver may increase your prolapse. For this reason, I don’t recommend crunches or sit-ups because quite often they are performed in a manner that increases your intra-abdominal pressure. I recommend setting a solid base strength with 4-6 weeks of focused exercise for your pelvic basket from the Hab It dvd before returning to cardiovascular activity.  It is important to know that you can return to the activities you love!  Your pelvic floor will respond by getting stronger as you slowly introduce more activity, giving your body and opportunity to adapt.

The next logical question is what can you do for prolapse symptoms? As a physical therapist, I always recommend exercise as a first line of defense. I don’t believe that there is any down side to exercise. The exercises on our Hab-It: Pelvic Floor DVD are designed to directly strengthen your pelvic floor and supporting musculature of the pelvis and abdomen. Whether your exercise guidance comes from our DVD or from a women’s health physical therapist in your area, the benefits are many. You will learn more about your muscles and muscle actions increasing your body awareness, you will learn about optimal posture, and you will be given exercises with a direct purpose. The key is being consistent with your exercise and making a life-long commitment. This commitment will be to a stronger pelvic floor, better posture, and a more toned midsection. What is the down-side to that?

I want to conclude this entry by directing you to an excellent discussion forum at www.prolapsehealth.com where all options for resolution of prolapse symptoms are discussed. They also provide a link to www.moondragon.com for more direct information about prolapse. I encourage you to explore all of these sites as well as my other entries here at www.hab-it.com to gather as much information as you can. The more you know, the more control you have!

Published by Tasha

9 Comments

  1. Hi! I suffered a 2/3rd degree uterine prolapse with the recent birth of my 3rd baby. My O.B. basically told me my cervix would never be in the “right place” again suggested surgery as an “easy fix”. This was pretty disapointing considering I am only 28, active, healthy, and don’t have any other risk factors for prolapse. Is it possible to heal myself with the proper exersizes? Will it hoist my uterus back to a normal position?

    Reply
  2. Cassidy, we have to wait through the first 6 months to a year to see how your body will naturally heal itself. There will be some improvement of your prolapse during this time and we don’t know how much. The exercises on the Hab It DVD will be only a piece of the puzzle to assist the reduction of your uterine prolapse. It will give you a great base to work from, teaching you about optimal posture and restarting your pelvic floor and your supporting muscles that often shut down after the trauma of birth.

    The ligamentous support of your uterus has been stretched, but you are still in a window where healing is taking place. So by giving as much muscular support to your organs as possible during this time, you allow optimal healing.

    I want to refer you to another site, called prolapsehealth.com. it is an awesome forum for women to discuss what they are doing for and what they have done for there prolapse symptoms. There is a young mom, named Kristina, with a uterine prolapse and I encourage you to read through several of her entries. She has used the Hab It DVD with success, created her own pessary device to allow her to return to workouts, and explored a lot of other natural alternatives. The “easy fix” of surgery, is not always so easy, so exploring every other option and learning everything you can about your body over the next year is highly recommended.

    I also want to caution you to be aware of some prolapse sites giving mis-information. In my profesional opinion the “whole woman” site gives awful postural and exercise information for prolapse and I have discussed with several women the negative effect and negative emotion that this website has set for them. I can only advise that you be cautious as you work to discover more about what will work for your body.

    Tasha

    Reply
  3. Hi Tasha,
    I have been trawling through your blog and the last paragraph made me smile. Seeking additional information to what I might get from my PT, I ordered the Whole Woman book. When I saw the exercises and the posture described it bothered me a lot – it seemed all wrong.
    I looked for over a month, but I did not find an alternative point of view – your website’s – until googling “Whole Woman Posture back pain”. But I was relieved to find it! I’ve since ordered the DVD.
    Cheers, Kim

    Reply
  4. Kim,
    So glad you found us! Keep us updated on your progress as you work your way through the dvd and further read through my blogs. I am happy to answer any questions as you move forward.

    -Tasha

    Reply
  5. My doctor would not give me a prescription for physical therapy because he said it would not help my cystocele. I do not know what stage it is because I only learned I had it a week ago and he did not explain. I have been researching online and called a physical therapist myself who said I need a referral from my doctor. I was under the impression that PT would at least help the condition not get worse. Is that true. I am not going to have surgery until I have tried other options. I am going to discuss this with him this morning. So is PT a viable option. I don’t see how it could possibly hurt.

    Reply
  6. Wendy,
    You are absolutely right in seeking out a women’s health physical therapist. We have a link on the resources page to help you find a women’s health physical therapist in your area. There is no side effect to appropriate exercise and postural instruction. There will only be positive that will come out of you learning more about your body and the muscles that can help support your pelvic basket. Continue to read through this blog as you navigate your way to a PT referral!

    -Tasha

    Reply
  7. Thanks so much for responding. I have been perusing this site quite a lot this week. I did look at the resources, but did not see any physical therapists on that page in my area specializing in pelvic floor problems. I did find several on my own and did talk to one the day before I went to the doctor. Since my gyno would not give me a referral because he thought it was a waste of my time and money, I called my GP, and they sent in a prescription to the medical center I had contacted. I will call and make an appointment. Also, I checked out many of the links and read an article about a study by NAFC about women’s frustrations in seeking diagnosis and intervention. It was right on the money.

    Reply
  8. Wendy, way to be determined. Sounds like you are on the right track to taking back control of your body. Can’t wait for you to get started with therapy and our Hab It exercises. Be sure to update us on your progress!

    -Tasha

    Reply
  9. Hi can i order your DVD from India. How Many days it take for for courier
    And which DVD you would suggest form postpartum prolapse

    Thanks

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.