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Any women with pelvic organ prolapse, or who have had surgery for it?

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  • Any women with pelvic organ prolapse, or who have had surgery for it?

    Hi, long time user and supporter of MDA here, new to the forum though.

    I would so love some advice or any insight, suggestions, links or contacts anyone can provide that can help me understand what a primal life after prolapse surgery can be.

    I'm 38 with 3 kids and have had a symptomatic rectocele (posterior vaginal wall prolapse) for the last 18 months and I have a currently small uterine prolapse and a bladder prolapse. After much consulation, physio, seeing a good few doctors, to-ing and fro-ing I have been offered a surgery date for 2 weeks time for repair of front and back vaginal wall prolapses.

    The exercise restrictions mentioned for life include things like no chin-ups, deadlifts, plyometrics, rowing, skipping, heavy squatting, full depth squatting, no lifting over 10lbs-15kg (that's the range I've seen), no jumping movements.

    I want to not have these prolapses, but the implications of repair literally terrify me- and there can be complications form the surgeries themselves, include a high failure rate.

    I love being strong, when I discovered the prolapses I stopped increasing weights and pulled back to a level that I felt I could control the intraabdominal pressure, now it seems I won't ever be able to do even that if I have surgery. I have totally bought into and highly value my strength as part of my long-term health and as part of something I just love doing. Does anyone have a view on how little weight one can get away with lifting in order to gain at least some of the long--term benefits of strength training?

    If anyone has any advice or experience I'd so appreciate it. Has anyone had pelvic surgery and found a way to exercise and protect their repairs? Has anyone trained women post repair? Any help would be appreciated.

  • #2
    i'm sorry, i don't have much experience with this, but i've read that the French healthcare system pays very close attention to issues of this sort. after each childbirth, the doctor works with a new mom to go through specific exercises (beyond kegels) and tests for strength before signing the woman off as "healed." i don't have any more specific information but maybe that will give you a little research direction.

    did you see any relief from a PT?
    Last edited by Saoirse; 05-07-2012, 11:16 AM.
    my primal journal:


    • #3
      About 10 years ago I had a 2nd degree prolapsed uterus, and I thought I was headed for a hysterectomy; every time I had sex I would bleed for a couple of days, and it always felt like my insides were falling out. (Because they were.) My family doctor didn't offer any option besides a hysterectomy. Fortunately I ignored him and did some hunting around on the internet till I found this:
      Kegelmaster - Kegelmaster Original Official Website
      This thing cured me within TWO WEEKS. It seems pretty weird when you go to the website, because the primary reasons women use it are for incontinence and enhanced sexual performance. Let's face it, the thing looks like a sex toy. Prolapsed organs were way down on the list, they barely even mentioned it. But considering it cost less than a hundred bucks, I figured what did I have to lose? I am 10 years later with all my lady-parts still intact and no more prolapse. I only used it for about a year, and I've had no need to use it since, even with all the heavy lifting and jump-roping and other vigorous things I do.


      • #4
        Thank you Dragonmamma for posting about that. I am in the same situation as Cleom, and was wondering how to cope as my life revolves around lots of lifting (coal scuttles for my cooker, fires, etc - wood, children, dogs) and there's no way I could manage with the restrictions involved. I think that this may well be worth a go.


        • #5
          It's kind of weird to be posting about it on a public forum, but what the heck...this is important!


          • #6
            I highly recommend Katy Bowman's blog, Aligned and Well for this. I think she has a download that is very affordable but with a few searches you'll probably be able to find out what you're looking for. She really helped me with my squat and barefoot walking as well.

            Katy Says | Chronic Pain is Not natural


            • #7
              Thank you all for your replies. Saoirse I think the French system is great in terms of the support and rehab it provides and the focus it puts on pelvic floor health, wish we had that here.
              My muscular control is actually great, I have strong contraction of the voluntary muscles but have fascial defects that the organs are prolapsing through. Actually I think all the squatting has helped my muscle strength down there, it was Katy Bowman's piece on squatting that has given me comfort in the past re thinking I'm helping my PF, even though the recommendations you read advise against it.
              Again thanks all, it is so hard to know what to do.


              • #8
                Voluntary muscular control (like using the kegel exercise to prevent incontinence) is only part of it. Initially, I was so prolapsed that my cervix was just barely inside me; you could poke it from the outside with a fingertip. This device actually lifted my entire pelvic floor to it's original position. Your decision, of course, but I strongly urge you to postpone the operation for a few months and give this thing a try; you could be saving yourself from a lifetime of permanent lifestyle restrictions. I assume your doctor will pooh-pooh the idea; mine sure did.


                • #9
                  I would recommend at least trying what Dragonmama has mentioned -- as it looks like it would work well. I work with a physio and we have created a protocol for this, and that looks like a good tool for the arsenal.

                  Likewise, I would recommend Mayan abdominal massage if you can find it. Do a google search -- it's great work. And you can be taught to do it on yourself, which is even more excellent.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cleom View Post

                    The exercise restrictions mentioned for life include things like no chin-ups, deadlifts, plyometrics, rowing, skipping, heavy squatting, full depth squatting, no lifting over 10lbs-15kg (that's the range I've seen), no jumping movements.
                    Are you sure these restriction are for life? I thought that was only for the recovery period. I am having pelvic floor reconstruction in June. My doctor said I should only have to take it easy for about two weeks, and that the act of standing from a sitting position puts as much as 40lbs of pressure on the abdomen. I would ask your doctor again and clarify how long the restriction take place.

                    I would be scared as well if I had all those restrictions placed on my for life, but my doctor made is seem like I would be back to "normal" in a few months.


                    • #11
                      Thank you all for the replies and suggestions, I've taken them on board.

                      Cha the restrictions I've had mentioned by surgeons include an upper limit of 15kg weight, no high impact activities etc, it is a very conservative approach I guess. There are documents like this around (pg 5) , advocating pelvic floor-safe exercises that can be quite upsetting if you take them at face value in terms of how much they prohibit.

                      For people who have strong bodies going into this I am thinking the most conservative advice doesn't necessarily apply, I just would love to hear from people who have trained 3-6 months post this surgery, or trained other people.
                      It's not easy accepting changes to the body, or thinking about potential prescribed limitations but I am trying to tease my way through them and work out how I am going to approach my physical activities once I'm well through the healing period.
                      Best of luck with the surgery Cha, I'd be cautious after 2 weeks to still be taking it very easy, to be ambulatory with walking, swimming etc around 6 weeks, and to be more confident at 12 weeks that scar tissue had formed properly to provide strength to the area.


                      • #12
                        Hi Cleom, I just had a cystocele and rectocele repair a week ago. My surgeon did not suggest any lifetime restrictions on lifting - if all goes well, I'm cleared for normal activities in 4-6 weeks, with the exception of "straddle activities" like cycling or horseback riding, which should wait a bit longer. But like you, I've read a lot of dissenting information online, and am wondering how best to prevent a recurrence while still staying fit. I'm in my early 30s, the surgery was done as an outpatient procedure and the pain has been manageable (although I've mainly just been lying around in bed).


                        • #13
                          Hi Kuma, congratulations on being on the other side of the surgery! I plan to get more active from 6 weeks on, increasing walking/swimming etc, but to absolutely avoid resistance exercises until after 12 weeks, no matter how good I'm feeling I know that scar tissue is much stronger at 12 weeks than 6. All the very best in your recovery, I hope it all goes brilliantly for you


                          • #14
                            Thanks very much! Best of luck on your surgery and recovery. And thank you to dragonmamma and zoebird for the suggestions. I kegeled my little heart out before surgery but haven't tried the Kegelmaster; I may give it a go once I'm recovered. I've never heard of Mayan abdominal massage - looks very interesting!


                            • #15
                              I have ordered the Kegelmaster, and will definitely give it a go. I'd really rather avoid surgery if I can, as the restrictions mentioned were, I was told by my consultant, for life (in fact, I shouldn't really be lifting at the moment, but it's kind of impossible to cope without). I'm also of the opinion that trying for a non-surgical treatment is definitely the way forward, having managed to avoid knee replacement surgery through physio and cold thermogenesis, so I'm hoping that the combination of the Kegelmaster and cold thermogenesis might at least alleviate, if not cure, this problem.