My story is this which I hope will help others, as I feel I could and should have been given more information regarding exercises for pelvic floor muscles. I have since suffered another prolapse after my hysterectomy, this time a rectocele prolapse at the beginning of April 2017, I suppose because I have overdone things, but had I been given more information, perhaps this could have been prevented.
I first suffered a prolapsed uterus in September 2016 and had a LAVH on 19th December 2016. I have had 3 children by natural birth, have always been very sporty, running 10ks – marathons, a triathlete, have had a few physical jobs involving heavy lifting. I have been through the menopause, come off HRT after 10 years and was 65 years old at the time of my prolapse, brought on I suppose by age, heavy gardening jobs, trying to get back into running so I could take part in Park runs, and a long walk across Spain carrying an 8kg backpack.
My operation was very successful. I was amazed at how quickly I recovered from my operation and only had to take painkillers for a week and was able to drive after a week. My consultant told me I did not need a follow up appointment, to see my GP if I had any concerns. I am a very active person and the advice given to me was ‘to just get on with life’.
My recovery was very good and for 6 weeks I took things very gradually, walking every day from the day after discharge from hospital, building from 5 mins to around 20 minutes during that 6 week period. I wanted to return to the Pilates classes I had joined before Christmas, but waited another 2 weeks just to be sure. I also rejoined a gym as I wanted to return to strength training as this is very important to me as I have osteoporosis of the spine. Returning to exercise, cycling and walking was going very well (I don’t run anymore), until the beginning of April 2017 when I noticed a small lump in my vagina. My doctor has confirmed a prolapse and has referred me to a pelvic floor physiotherapist and my first appointment was on 21st May.
She has given me a leaflet with some exercises for pelvic floor muscles. This leaflet is quite useful but aimed more for women suffering from incontinence. Why wasn’t I given this information when I left hospital and made more aware that my pelvic floor muscles need to be strengthened. Now it seems obvious, it is why I had a prolapse in the first place but I have been in complete ignorance regarding pelvic floor muscles. I thought that working on my core muscles everything would be fine. I had no idea I could overload or overbrace the pelvic floor muscles.
During the weeks I have been waiting for my appointment with the physio, I came across a very informative website. I googled ‘can I exercise with a prolapse’ and came up with a site ’12 exercises you should never do’ and ‘5 safe exercises’. It is from a book called Inside Out written by Michell Kenway, an Australian physiotherapist who specialises in women’s health. The book can either be bought online, or you can purchase a copy to download. I wish I had found this after my op. It has given me so much information about exercise after a prolapse and how to strength train safely. The link to Michelle’s website is www.pelvicexercises.com.au She also has videos on YouTube explaining how to find your pelvic floor muscles and how to exercise correctly.
I feel that it would be so useful if a leaflet could be produced and given to women considering a hysterectomy, or after their operation, and to women after they have given birth to inform them of importance of strengthening pelvic floor muscles.
I have contacted Michelle to thank her for her book and how informative and helpful it has been to me and she is more than happy for me to give you the link to her website and hopefully a lot more women can be helped.
(Image: Henry Gray () Anatomy of the Human Body via Wikipedia)