A diagnosis of prolapse sounds terrifying at first, but don't fear -- it is manageable. Prolapse is a condition in which the uterus or other abdominal organs are no longer able to be contained and protrude out of the vagina.
This condition can happen at any stage of life, but is more common after child birth and as women age. While this is not a medical emergency, it can be quite uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are several abdominal exercises that can help deal with your prolapse.
This is one of the most basic abdominal exercises used to strengthen a woman's pelvic floor muscles. These muscles help support many of the internal organs in the abdomen.
HOW DO DO THEM: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Gently contract the muscles of your pelvic floor as if trying to hold in urine or gas. Hold this contraction for 5 to 10 seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 times and do two to three sets.
If you are struggling to find your pelvic floor muscles, practice activating them by inserting a clean finger into your vagina and trying to contract the muscles around it.
2. Pelvic Floor/Abdominal Co-Contractions
This exercise strengthens the muscles of the pelvic floor as well as the transversus abdominis. Each of these muscles help decrease the sensation of prolapse.
HOW TO DO THEM: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet resting on the ground. Draw in the lower portion of your abdomen below your navel. Do not allow your pelvis or spine to move as you do so.
Simultaneously, contract your pelvic floor muscles by performing a Kegel. Hold these contractions for 5 to 10 sections and then relax. Perform two to three sets of 10 repetitions.
Avoid strenuous contractions when doing this exercise. Instead, use a moderate level hold to better replicate the day to day function of these muscles.
3. Diaphragmatic Breathing With Pelvic Floor Contraction
Recruiting the diaphragm while you breathe is a great way to decrease the pressure in the abdomen and to reduce the discomfort associated with prolapse.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back with your legs straight and your hands resting on your stomach. Take a deep breath in. As you do so, your belly should rise as more air is inhaled. Keep your chest and shoulders relatively still throughout.
Gently draw in your pelvic floor muscles by performing a Kegel. Exhale and allow your belly to sink back down as the air leaves. Repeat this cycle for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
Once this exercise becomes easy, it can be progressed by doing it on a stability ball or while standing.
4. Stability Ball March
Using a stability ball is a great way to engage the core muscles while making it easier to draw in the pelvic floor.
HOW TO DO IT: Sit on a stability ball and extend your arms out in front of you. Contract the pelvic floor muscles by doing a Kegel.
Slowly march one leg off the ground and then set it back down before doing the same thing with the other leg. Do this 10 times on each leg without allowing the ball to move or your spine to round. Complete two to three sets of the exercise.
Avoid holding your breath. This increases the pressure in the abdomen and promotes the sensation of prolapsing.
Prolapse is typically worse as the day progresses, so it is best to strengthen these muscles in the morning. While these exercises can not cure prolapse, daily performance can decrease the discomfort associated with it. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any concerns prior to starting a new routine.