Pelvic Floor Prolapse is Common in Women Who Have Had Children

Pelvic floor prolapse is when a pelvic organ descends into the vaginal canal.  It has a direct link to the number of pregnancies a woman has had. The prolapse is named by which organ is descending.  The most common diagnoses are cystocele (bladder prolapse) and rectocele (rectum). 

Often a prolapse is not known to the woman until it reaches a severity where she starts to notice a pressure or pain in her abdomen, groin or perineum and/or in the most severe cases when there is a sensation of something protruding from her vagina.  Urinary incontinence is another issue which is often associated with prolapse

Activities which can increase symptoms are: increased periods of time of walking, standing and jumping, weightlifting, coughing and constipation. It is very important to plan your day to decrease extended periods of time up on your feet - gravity has a big effect on prolapse.  Finally managing chronic coughing and becoming more regular are ways to decrease valsalva maneuvers' downward pressure on the pelvic floor muscles.  The pelvic floor muscles support the pelvic organs - decreased pelvic floor strength is associated with increased severity of prolapse.  It is important to contract your pelvic floor muscles with Kegel Exercises - if you are unsure of how to do this contraction, please contact a pelvic floor physical therapist specialist.

It is also known that increasing strength in the muscles that connect to the pelvis can also increase strength of the pelvic floor indirectly.  Remember that decreasing gravity effects on the pelvic floor can also be very beneficial. Thus, doing exercises with the hips higher than the chest are in order.  This could mean doing abdominal exercises with the hips up on a cushion or doing hip exercises, on your elbows and hips high. 

On Sept 29-30th, 2018, I will be doing a Pilates for Pelvic Floor Dysfunctions and other Women's Health Issues in Santa Barbara, CA .  This seminar is open to physical therapists and other medical professionals and to some Pilates and personal trainers with increased experience and exposure to medical fitness.  This course is being presented through Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Continuing Education Business please go to their website for more information

Note:  I am using the Hooked On Pilates MINIMAX to raise my hips higher than my chest for the abdominal exercise pictured.  I have created a Toned in Ten Exercises for the weak pelvic floor using the MINIMAX and can be found by going to the Hooked on Pilates YouTube channel. 

Please share these important tips with your friends - the more we talk about pelvic floor issues the better our health will be!