Things to avoid when you have pelvic organ prolapse

Uterine prolapse can land you into difficult social situations more often than not. You must have made a not-to-do list for yourself when in public. It might include activities and scenarios where you are more likely to leak urine. Having prepared this list will help you stay away from many uncomfortable social situations. But what about your exercise routine?

Do you exercise at all or the prolapse has forced you out of the gym already? To overcome the situations that further weaken your pelvic floor muscles and worsen the prolapse, we have listed some activities and practices that you must avoid. Staying away from these will help you ease things for your pelvic musculature.

#1 Drinking excessive amounts of water at the gym

You might have people around you who ask you to drink gallons of water when exercising at the gym. They say it’s good to keep yourself hydrated when you’re sweating profusely. But contrary to this belief, many healthcare experts ask people to abstain from over-drinking. It can lead to other complications that weren’t seen immediately.

An excess amount of water in your body can pressurise your heart. It now has to pump more blood. Also, the pressure on your bladder increases manifolds due to the added water. Instead of benefiting you, the exercises that you perform with a full bladder will harm your pelvic organs and muscles likewise.

Hence, drinking water when you are thirsty is the right thing to do. There is a difference between hydrating yourself and straining your organs. Try and drink only as much water as necessary and take pee breaks between exercises. This helps ensure your bladder is empty and does not pressurise its surroundings.

#2 Doing aerobic exercises when your pelvic musculature is weakA woman with pelvic organ prolapse sitting holding her stomach.

Aerobic exercises are an efficient way to burn the extra fats and keep you in shape. Some of the steps come under high-impact cardiovascular exercises that increase your stamina and boost your oxygen intake. But, performing them when your pelvic musculature is weak is a bad idea.

Pelvic floor muscles are present in the hammock shaped area at the end of your pelvic region. They work as a safety net for all the organs present above them. It is the task of pelvic floor muscle to keep pelvic organs in place. Aerobic exercises put extreme pressure on your pelvic floor muscles. If they are already weak, you risk weakening them further.

Therefore, it is better to first work on exercises that strengthen the pelvic musculature, such as Kegel’s exercise, before going for high-impact cardiovascular exercises.

#3 Doing resistance or core strengthening exercises that strain you down

Again, resistance and core strengthening exercises are good when the health of your pelvic musculature is not at stake. Along with their benefits, there is also an imminent risk to your pelvic floor muscles. Just like high-impact exercises, these exercises also put a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor. If your muscles are already weak, the odds are they will further weaken.

To avoid harming your muscles, convey your concerns to the physiotherapist. They will understand the trouble and help you start with easier exercises first and then gradually moving towards these difficult exercises. Avoid starting any exercise routine on your own without consulting your doctor or physiotherapist first.

#4 Not paying attention to your diet

The strength or weakness of your muscles is directly related to the food and drinks you intake. Hence, paying attention to what you eat and when you eat can make things better for you. Try including foods that promote muscle health such as proteins. Avoid alcohol as it weakens your muscles and bones and everything else.

Also, if you suffer from chronic or temporary constipation, you must focus on getting your bowel motions back to normal ASAP. Constipation strains and weakens the pelvic floor muscles. If it’s chronic, you may start with natural or synthetic laxatives at first. Then move on to fibre-rich foods. They help reduce constipation.

#5 Not relaxing your pelvic floor musclesA woman in bed holding her stomach with pelvic organ prolapse.

There is a thing called too much activity. You are dedicated to losing some weight and work hard for that. It is showing you some immediate results and you may be motivated to push it further. But, at the same time, it is also important to spend time relaxing.

Your pelvic floor muscles need time to heal after a busy day. Make sure you rest enough every day and not overdo any exercises. Getting the ideal amount of sleep, that is 7-9 hours, is quite necessary for harbouring healthy muscles.

#6 Wearing a core trainer

Many people prefer wearing core trainer at the gym. They are promoted as the catalysts to shaping and toning your body. But according to experts, these refurbished Victorian-era corsets can damage your diaphragm instead of helping you have a leaner core.

If you are pregnant or recovering from childbirth, wearing maternity compression clothes is the best option for you. It helps support your lower back, abdomen, and pelvic floor when you exercise. Unlike core trainers, maternity compression leggings are designed to provide you with the required support using anatomically designed panels.

These compression garments can be worn as leggings or shorts and help ease the stress on your pelvic floor muscles. You can also ask your doctor or physiotherapist about the right option for you.

The takeaway:

The root cause of pelvic organ prolapse is the weakening of pelvic floor muscles. If you pay attention to your pelvic muscle strength and avoid practices that harm those muscles, pelvic organ prolapse can be solved. These small steps can lead to major improvements in the symptoms that you experience. When in doubt, consult your doctor or physiotherapist to know what precautions you must take.

Sinead O'Donovan
Sinead O'Donovan
Sinead helps women in their health and well-being journey. Sinead works with SRC Health to provide continuous support and relief of pain during pregnancy and faster C-section recovery in 4th trimester. Her mission is to support women through all stages of life.
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