Beth Davies Coaching

The power of active rehab for pelvic organ prolapse

If you have been diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse or have symptoms of prolapse such as heaviness or dragging, you may have been told the following: 

To NOT exercise except for walking and swimming 

To NOT lift anything and that incudes your toddler, baby or grandkids 

To JUST do Kegels 

This is not setting you up for success! Infact movement restrictions increase fear of movement. This means women get weaker, not stronger and there is a consequence for quality of life (and later life!). 

What is active rehab for prolapse?

Active rehab for prolapse combines pelvic floor strengthening/improving function etc with movement and strengthening of the WHOLE body. It recognises that movement is awesome for EVERY body and that you don’t need to stop moving because you have pelvic organ prolapse. It also teaches about the body particularly the core and pelvic floor. Plus provides ways to do things versus a list of  “prolapse safe” or “unsafe exercises for prolapse”. It includes ALL the elements of total wellbeing; nutrition & diet, recovery and sleep as well as bowel and bladder habits. 

Reason #1 You move

Research by Crawford et al shows that there is greater muscle recruitment of the pelvic floor muscles in strengthening exercises versus just performing Kegels alone. Research from Virtuoso et al, also demonstrated that strength training + pelvic floor training improved incontinence in older women more than Kegels alone. 

The research is there, yet women are still being sent for surgery or told not to move without exploring how they might use exercise to improve symptoms. 

Here are some of the results from the Crawford et al study 

  • Squat: 30% more muscle recruitment than kegel 
  • Side-lying bent knee lift: 25%
  • Bridge: 56%
  • Cat/cow:  41%

Moving brings so many benefits in addition to what Crawford has found. It improves strength. It can help build capacity and better management of intra-abdominal pressure. It can build confidence in your body when a diagnosis may have knocked your self-confidence. 

Reason #2 Active rehab moves you forward

One of the reasons clients come to me is that they feel stuck. They feel stuck in a cycle of not moving and not feeling better or they’re on a strict schedule of Kegels but it’s not helping their symptoms. When you move, you move forward. 

Movement restrictions or being given no way of getting back to your active life does not move you forward. Instead, it adds to fear of movement and fear for the future. This in itself can create a feedback loop which holds on to symptoms.

Reason #3 It improves outcomes

Research shows that education about your body plus gradual exposure to activity or activities of daily life has a better outcome than forever movement restrictions. 

Strength improves outcomes and is protective for older age, bone health and maintaining muscle mass. Strength or resistance training is awesome because it allows you to meet your body or pelvic floor, where it’s at and then build from there. 

If you are interested in an active rehab approach for your prolapse or prolapse symptoms, check out my programme LIFTED! or book a call to chat about how I can help you here 

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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