Will My Body Be The Same With A Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
This past week, several of the women I work with have come with concerns of their pelvic organ prolapse and the confusing symptoms popping in an out. No pun intended.
All of these women have successfully completed pelvic floor physiotherapy or currently in rehab in addition to working with me. So it’s completely understandable these sudden onset symptoms are leaving them feeling a little on the anxious side.
And the million dollar questions they all asked, will my body ever be the same as it was before pregnancy?
My answer, it depends.
For some, pelvic floor physiotherapy and rehab will do the trick in helping you become symptom-free.
For others, they may experience symptoms in times of stress, lack of sleep, or ovulation, even with help from a pelvic PT.
Exercise along with pelvic floor physiotherapy is helpful in retraining your pelvic floor. In order to heal your pelvic floor, it needs to be progressively loaded like any other muscle. However, your pelvic floor needs balance between strength and endurance. This means it needs to be able to contract and relax for it to support your prolapse.
There are hormonal factors as well. As I mentioned, you may feel symptoms during:
- periods of stress
- lack of sleep
During hormonal shifts, your pelvic floor may adapt to the fluctuations. In times of stress and lack of sleep, your body, in general, tends to hold tension differently. In ovulation, your pelvic floor muscles relax to prepare for conception. And when you’re breastfeeding, your hormones are ensuring you have adequate supply of milk, leaving your your joints and other tissues feeling a little looser goosey. These hormones are similar to your pregnancy hormones.
Your body is pretty fantastic if you ask me. If it can make these adaptations to meet it’s demands, I’d say you’re doing something right. So use your symptoms as feedback.
In case you’re not sure what a prolapse is, here’s a brief explanation. It’s where 1 or more of your pelvic organs bulge through your vagina. This is a common occurrence, with 1-3 women being diagnosed after giving birth vaginally.
Some women say they feel like something is falling out of their vagina and other symptoms include, stress urinary incontinence (unintentional peeing while laughing, sneezing, coughing and exercise), and lower back discomforts. To read more specifics about pelvic organ prolapse, click here)
Prolapse is treatable and has a high success rate when being treated by a pelvic PT.
If you find you’re symptomatic from time to time, it can be alarming. But there isn’t a need to jump into panic mode. It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.
Here are some suggestions to help with your symptoms:
Self-care. Try to get some extra sleep, eat as well as you can and try to do activities you find relaxing. Baths and meditating seem to be a favourite way to de-stress.
Breathe. Lay in your bed or on the floor like you’re doing to do a glute bridge. Take a giant inhale in, expanding through your rib cage. As you exhale, think about opening your pelvic floor instead of contracting it. Repeat for 1-5 minutes.
Scale back on exercise, primarily movements causing symptoms. You can do this by decreasing your weight, modifying or swapping movements giving you symptoms. Give this a few days, and try your normal routine again. This may take a few attempts depending on your situation, so don’t worry. Just try again. To read about how to train with a pelvic organ prolapse, click here)
Fascial tissue release. If the muscles surrounding your hips are tight, you may find foam rolling helpful.
I understand the confusion that comes with being diagnosed with a prolapse. Wondering if your body is ever going to be “normal” again can leave you feeling defeated. I was in this place a few years back.
I’ve come to not love the “common but not normal” thing pelvic PTs and fit pros say. For some women, symptoms may just be the norm for their bodies and statements like this leave women feeling broken and discouraged.
You haven’t failed your body. Your body isn’t failing you. You’re not doing anything wrong.
Your prolapse can be managed. And yes, it’s even possible to get back into the high impact training you love.
So get out there and enjoy yourself.
Strength And Lady Parts is my 4-month online group coaching program for women who’ve recently given birth and wanting to get back into high-impact training. If you have given birth within the last year or want a fitness program that supports your pelvic health, put your name on the list by clicking here. Doors for enrolment are opening February 1st with only 15 spots available.
Ciao for now,
Ready to maximize your postpartum lifting performance? Get my favourite barbell training strategies in my free Barbell Training For Pregnancy and Postpartum Strategy Guide. You will learn to minimize pelvic floor dysfunctions, and improve lifting power in both pregnancy and postpartum.