A strong and healthy pelvic floor is essential for maintaining proper function, support, and stability within the female body. However, Pelvic organ prolapse, whereby your pelvic organs descend, can cause discomfort and a significant impact on everyday life. Fear not, Pelvic Floor Therapy is here to provide you with everything you need to know about the exercises you should and shouldn't be doing moving forward. In this article, we will explore the exercises to avoid when managing a pelvic organ prolapse, guiding you towards a stronger pelvic floor and improved quality of life.
Understanding Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Having a good understanding of your pelvic organs and why they separate is crucial in determining which exercises to avoid. Your pelvic organs include your bladder, uterus, and rectum. Ordinarily, these organs are kept in place against gravity by the support of the pelvic floor muscles and other nearby structures. However, due to factors like childbirth, ageing, and straining from heavy lifting or constipation, these muscles can weaken and lose their supporting abilities. Consequently, one or more of the pelvic organs can slip out of place, leading to symptoms such as pain, discomfort, urinary or bowel issues, and even sexual dysfunction.
Exercises to Avoid
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If you have a pelvic organ prolapse, it’s essential to be aware of which exercises you should avoid to prevent making the condition worse. Engaging in high-impact movements, heavy lifting, and certain abdominal exercises can exacerbate your symptoms, leading to increased pain and strain on the already weakened pelvic floor. Below are some examples of exercises to be cautious of.
1. High-Impact Cardio
High-impact cardio exercises, such as running, jumping, and step aerobics, place undue stress on your pelvic floor muscles. When you perform these activities, your pelvic organs can further descend, worsening your prolapse symptoms. Opt for low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, or gentle cycling to maintain fitness while minimizing the risk of strain on your pelvic floor.
2. Heavy Weightlifting
Exercises involving heavy lifting or excessive pushing and straining can increase intra-abdominal pressure, placing strain on your weak pelvic floor muscles. Squats, deadlifts, and leg presses are some examples of exercises to avoid. Switch to lighter weights, practice proper breathing techniques, and work with a physical therapist trained in pelvic floor health to find alternatives that are safe for your condition.
3. Intense Abdominal Exercises
Avoid abdominal exercises that involve excessive strain or bearing down, such as sit-ups, crunches, and double leg raises. Weakening and stretching of the pelvic floor muscles can occur in individuals with a prolapse, and these movements can cause further damage. Incorporate pelvic floor-safe core exercises, like pelvic tilts and bridges, under the supervision of a pelvic floor therapist for a more accessible and effective alternative.
4. Certain Yoga Poses
While yoga can significantly benefit women with pelvic organ prolapse, there are specific positions to avoid. Deep squats or poses like Boat, Bow, and Plank can increase pressure on the pelvic floor, worsening the symptoms. Work with a pelvic floor specialist to modify your yoga practice and focus on poses that will safely build strength and flexibility without causing harm.
Managing your pelvic organ prolapse may feel like a daunting task, but with our comprehensive guide to exercises to avoid, your journey towards a healthier, stronger pelvic floor is smoother than ever. By staying mindful of the exercises mentioned above and partnering with a pelvic floor therapist, you can navigate your way through a safe and effective exercise routine, ultimately alleviating your symptoms. Feel free to share this article and explore more guides on Pelvic Floor Therapy to continue your education and understanding of pelvic floor health.