The short answer is YES you can go to the gym if you have a prolapse! However, I also know that if you’ve been diagnosed with a prolapse, exercising might seem like a bit of a minefield. It might require new skills, strength and a shift in mindset, but you can absolutely move and train in the ways you love.
So, here are 5 considerations for going to the gym if you have POP.
See a pelvic health physio
A pelvic health physio will be able to assess (internally and/or externally) your pelvic floor muscles and their function. They will also be able to check if you bear down during contractions or when you engage your pelvic floor. A good pelvic health physio will provide an action plan so you feel you are on your way to better understanding your prolapse and your pelvic floor. Find one who understands your love of exercise and provides optimism and support. Click here to read my blog “3 reasons to see a women health physio”
Pessaries and support garments
Pessaries are super useful and act like a sports bra for your pelvic floor! They are often made of silicone or rubber and can be inserted into the vagina to provide extra support and/or help improve symptoms of heaviness, which is a common prolapse symptom.
There are many different types and can be fitted by a specially trained physio, nurse or gynecologist. There can be some trial and error as not every type will be your perfect fit.
Find my blog on pessaries here
Support garments provide external support for your pelvic floor muscles and organs. I highly recommend EVB as they have a range of leggings, shorts, and briefs.
Identify your pressure, breathing and tension tendencies
Understanding how your core and pelvic floor work and manage pressure can give you a huge insight into prolapse development or why symptoms continue.
Learning how to better manage intra-abdominal pressure (as we can’t totally eliminate it) can help better manage your prolapse. Plus, it’ll help you to understand when and why you create too much tension and pressure.
Download my free 5 days course, “How to exercise with POP” for a more in-depth look at these
Build back up with progressive overload
Whilst you may have heard “it’s not the exercise, but how you do it”, it makes sense to build back to higher load, intensity or complex exercises.
Progressive overload is the process of gradually making a movement more challenging. This allows you to build skill, strength and confidence with particular movements or exercising in general.
Understand your ability to recover from exercise
As you’re building back up, it can be useful to allow yourself ample recovery time after a bout of exercise or training. Whilst research shows that post-exercise there is less pelvic floor support, this returns to a baseline. This is not to say, you should ignore symptoms but be open-minded that a brief influx in symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that your prolapse is worse.
Also, consider that your prolapse may look and feel different on different days, at different times, and at different times of the month. But if you are concerned, book in to see a pelvic health physio.
Want all the strategies to help you get back in the gym and loving it (even with POP), check out my online programmes here