As I approach the second half of my forties, I realize that in order to stay fit and to continue to do the exercises, workouts, and other physical activities I like to do, I need to be proactive about strengthening my pelvic floor muscles. I have talked about this before at 9 Kid Fitness, and I will continue to look for up-to-date information about the pelvic floor because I know just how crucial it is for women to be well informed. The following is an interesting article from 9 Kid Fitness follower, Elizabeth Carrollton, who talks about some of the preventative measures women can take before having to do more invasive procedures such as surgery, etc. Elizabeth also writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) often can be prevented with proper exercises. In fact, many of the exercises d to prevent the condition can also be used to treat mild to moderate cases of POP. Surgical intervention has become a common treatment for moderate to severe symptoms of POP. This is unfortunate because surgery is an invasive procedure that has inherent risks. In fact, one of the most common types of surgery used to treat pelvic organ prolapse uses a high-risk medical device called transvaginal mesh, which has been linked to severe health complications in as many as 10 percent of surgeries.
Transvaginal mesh has been known to cause organ perforation, mesh erosion, pain during sexual intercourse and several other complications. By preventing the onset of POP, women can help to prevent the risks associated with more complicated surgical intervention options and avoid filing a vaginal mesh lawsuit, like so many women have already had to do.
Exercises to Avoid Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when pelvic muscles and tissues become weakened. This happens as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, traumatic pelvic injury, or in response to other associated risk factors, such as obesity, smoking or menopause. If these tissues and muscles become too weakened, they can allow pelvic organs to move toward the pelvic floor, and onto or into the vagina. The exercises used to prevent POP, or to reverse its symptoms, work to build and maintain strength in the upper vagina and pelvic floor.
It is important to note that in addition to exercises, women at risk for developing POP should also focus on their lifestyle. A well-balanced diet, regular exercise, weight management and quitting a smoking habit can help nourish tissues and keep them from undue strain.
- Kegel Exercises. Kegel exercises are the most famous pelvic floor exercise. However, if they are not done properly, they are not effective. Women should consult with their doctor or physical therapist to ensure they are doing the exercises correctly. Most OB-GYNs can use biofeedback machines to verify if muscles are being stimulated correctly as a woman is doing Kegels. They should be done on a daily basis for maximum effect.
- Core Exercises. Yoga and Pilates are known for building strength in core muscles. This is important because a woman’s core muscles can help provide extra support to the pelvic area. Yoga and/or Pilates can be used effectively a few times a week.
- Pelvic Physical Therapy. There are physical therapists who specialize in pelvic health. Women with a history of a traumatic vaginal birth, pelvic injury, or who have a family history of POP should consider visiting a pelvic physical therapist for more personalized treatment. Physical therapists can offer customized exercises and positions that can further maintain the tone and strength of pelvic muscles. **A note from 9 Kid Fitness – If you live in the Charlotte, N.C. area, Barbara Green is a physical therapist trained to do bio-feedback and other therapies and is a wonderful resource. If anyone knows of others in this area or other areas of the country, let us know at 9 Kid Fitness so that we can share them with other women seeking this kind of physical therapy.
- Pelvic Massage. Certain massage techniques, such as Shiatsu, Maya and Myofascial Release Therapy, have been used effectively to realign pelvic organs and increase circulation. When used with other exercises, women have shown faster postpartum healing and a return of pelvic muscle strength and tone.
It is never too late for women to focus on pelvic floor exercises in an effort to prevent the onset of pelvic organ prolapse, avoid transvaginal mesh surgery, and or to reverse its symptoms.