Beth Davies Coaching

Can you correct a prolapse with pelvic floor exercises?

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a common condition, particularly in women, where pelvic organs like the bladder, uterus, or rectum descend into the vaginal canal. As awareness of this issue grows, questions arise about the role of exercise in addressing or preventing pelvic organ prolapse. In this blog post, we’ll explore whether specific exercises can correct POP, backed by research findings.

Understanding pelvic organ prolapse

Before delving into the exercise aspect, it’s crucial to understand that pelvic organ prolapse is a complex condition influenced by various factors, including childbirth, aging, and hormonal changes. The severity of POP can range from mild to severe, and symptoms may include a feeling of pressure, discomfort, or even tissue protrusion.

Exercise is often promoted for its numerous health benefits, including improved muscular strength and endurance. In the context of pelvic organ prolapse, certain exercises are believed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, potentially offering support to the affected organs. However, the efficacy of exercise in correcting or preventing POP is a topic of ongoing research.

Research about pelvic floor exercises and prolapse

Several studies have explored the positive impact of targeted pelvic floor exercises on pelvic organ prolapse. For example, a study by Hagen et al. published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology suggested that pelvic floor muscle training may reduce the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse, particularly in milder cases. These exercises aim to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, potentially providing additional support to the pelvic organs.

The POPPY (Pelvic Organ Prolapse Physiotherapy) Study, a notable contribution to the field, investigated the effectiveness of pelvic floor muscle training in women with symptomatic POP. Contrary to some expectations, the study found that while pelvic floor muscle training improved women’s ability to contract these muscles, it did not significantly impact the overall severity or stage of pelvic organ prolapse.

While some research supports the idea that specific exercises may have a positive impact on pelvic organ prolapse, it’s essential to acknowledge conflicting perspectives. A study led by Dumoulin et al. and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that pelvic floor muscle training did not significantly improve prolapse symptoms in women compared to a control group.

Beyond pelvic floor exercises

It’s crucial to recognise that pelvic organ prolapse is a multifaceted condition influenced by factors beyond muscle strength alone. Pregnancy, childbirth, genetics, and hormonal changes contribute to the development and progression of POP. Therefore, solely relying on pelvic floor exercises may not be a comprehensive solution.

The relationship between exercise and pelvic organ prolapse is nuanced. While some studies suggest that targeted pelvic floor exercises may have a positive impact, others provide conflicting evidence. Recognising the complexity of pelvic organ prolapse and adopting an individualised approach to management, incorporating professional advice and a holistic view of health, is paramount.

In conclusion, while exercise, particularly pelvic floor exercises, may play a role in managing pelvic organ prolapse, it should be considered as part of a comprehensive approach that includes medical guidance, lifestyle modifications, and an understanding of individual factors influencing the condition.

How I help my clients improve their prolapse symptoms

LIFTED! Is an online coaching programme containing 8 weeks of pre-recorded, strength-based workouts so you can get back to movement AND think less about your prolapse. Plus the benefit of an optimistic and positive community so you feel less alone on your rehab journey. 

This 8-week rehab programme provides the foundations of exercising safely with prolapse. It gently builds from bodyweight core and pelvic floor exercises, to more functional movements such as squats, deadlifts, plank variations, ab exercises and more. 

Click here to find out more about my rehab programme for pelvic organ prolapse

Beth Davies is a highly experienced personal trainer and coach specialising in female pelvic health, pelvic organ prolapse and exercise. Her programmes educate, empower and support women back to training or their active life, eliminating symptoms and building strength and confidence. She has been featured in publications such as Stylist, Marie Claire UK, Woman & Home, and Metro 

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