A pelvic organ prolapse occurs when one or multiple organs in the pelvis have become dislodged from their usual position and begin to descend. This can often happen during pregnancy or childbirth, but other health factors like constipation and age can also contribute.
The three most common types of pelvic organ prolapses are cystocele (bladder), rectocele (rectum), and uterine prolapse (uterus). Symptoms like difficulty controlling urinary function, issues with bowel movements, a feeling of pressure or weight in the pelvic floor, or if you can feel organs bulging can all include the possibility of prolapse.
Sometimes, these symptoms are mild at first and may just feel like mild yet normal discomfort. If you notice any of them, it is best to schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN provider so that they can determine if you are experiencing a prolapse. The sooner that one is identified, the quicker treatment can begin.
Depending on the severity of the prolapse, your doctor could recommend a variety of options. In milder cases, the condition could be remedied with lifestyle changes or by performing specific pelvic floor exercises. For more complicated cases, hormone treatments, vaginal pessaries, or surgery could be deemed necessary.
Exercising with Pelvic Organ Prolapse
While undergoing treatment for pelvic organ prolapse, you may wonder if you are still able to exercise while recovering. In short, yes you can continue to exercise, but you may need to change your routine to avoid worsening the condition and its symptoms.
If you are receiving treatment for prolapse, the primary goal of your exercises should be to strengthen the pelvic floor. This can be done with a variety of exercises so that you can keep your routine either varied or consistent.
Before you begin a new fitness routine, here are some general tips for exercising with a pelvic organ prolapse:
Be Mindful of the Body
The position of the body plays a major role in pelvic floor exercises. Try to include a mix of positional workouts that include standing, inclining, declining, sitting, and lying down on your side so that the full pelvic region can be strengthened.
You should also remain mindful of the impact you are placing on your body while exercising. For example, running will result in more impact on the body than walking. While recovering from a pelvic organ prolapse, you should opt for minimal to zero-impact movements.
Reduce the Weights
Are you someone that enjoys lifting weights, such as squatting or leg-pressing? These activities can place additional strain on the lower body which could exacerbate the symptoms of prolapse.
Be sure to ask your doctor if you are able to start lifting weights during treatment or if you need to return for a reevaluation first. If you have not received approval from a medical professional, do not attempt to perform a weighted exercise.
Monitor Your Symptoms
After exercising, does it feel like the symptoms are lessening in severity over time? Conversely, do they feel worse?
If you are spending time exercising to build pelvic strength but there are no signs of improvement, you may need to fine-tune your workouts. Pay attention to when you feel the most pressure and consider adding new routines or removing current ones that are not proving helpful to your treatment.
Other Tips for Healthy Exercise
While you are exercising to strengthen your pelvic floor, there are some other lifestyle changes that you can make to further support your efforts. For example, you may want to wear a pessary while exercising, which is a device that is inserted into the vagina to offer additional support to pelvic organs like the uterus.
You should also avoid other sources of pressure that could affect the pelvis. Eat a high fiber diet and consume fluids steadily throughout the day to soften your bowel movements to prevent straining.
Lastly, losing weight can also benefit the recovery process for pelvic organ prolapse. Eat lean, nutrient-rich foods throughout the day to help reach your ideal number. If you are not sure whether losing weight could help with your treatment, you can ask your doctor for insight.
Additionally, your doctor could recommend seeing a physical therapist to assist you with your exercises to aid in your recovery. They can help you develop an exercise plan to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with specific workouts that will target this region of the body without unnecessary strain.
Get Treatment for Pelvic Organ Prolapse in Idaho Falls
At OB/GYN Associates of Idaho Falls, we are committed to providing the most complete, comprehensive, and caring women’s health services to residents of Idaho Falls and the surrounding communities. If you are experiencing symptoms of a pelvic organ prolapse or are looking for specialized treatment for this condition, please contact us today to request an appointment.