More than one-third of women in the United States experience some sort of pelvic prolapse in their lifetime, reports the Cleveland Clinic. This condition may involve organs such as the vagina, cervix, bladder, intestines, rectum and uterus.
Prolapse occurs when the support muscles and tissues that hold the organ(s) in place fail due to being stretched or torn. They then sag from their normal positioning, causing pain, fullness in the pelvic area, urine leakage, bladder infections, slipped organs and sexual problems.
Many traditional exercises aren't available to women with a prolapsed uterus, but Pilates, with it's attention to the core and pelvic floor stability, is an option. Use these exercises to strengthen and tighten without putting undo stress on the region.
Do avoid intense abdominal exercises or any moves that cause pain. It's a good idea to consult your physician to make sure you're healthy enough for exercise and to get an idea of what exercise is absolute off-limits for your particular condition.
Kegel exercises aren't Pilates, per se, but the concept of tightening the pelvic floor is employed throughout a Pilates session. A Kegel is essentially a muscular contraction of the perineum.
To do a Kegel: Concentrate on the muscles of the vaginal area, particularly those active in urination. Squeeze them for two to three counts, then relax. Repeat 10 to 15 times each time you do the exercise and do them two to three times per day, during a focused Pilates session, as well as at another convenient time. Work your way up to 10-count holds.
Read More: Exercises for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Lift and Extend
Hold a Kegel and press your spine toward the floor as you do this simple Pilates exercise. It forces you to keep your core strong as you move your limbs.
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet planted hip-distance apart. Lift your right leg up so your knee is over your hip and shin parallel to the floor; keep the left leg planted and your hands glued to the floor alongside your hips. Maintain the lift in the right leg as you extend the leg straight out at a 45-degree angle. Bend the knee back over your hip and place the foot back down. Repeat five times on the right and five on the left.
Heel slides are a super way to train your core and pelvis to stay strong as your legs move. When the muscles of your pelvic floor are strong, you're better able to keep your organs from sagging and control the flow of urine. It also improves hip mobility.
Lie on your back, knees bent and feet planted hip-distance apart. Pull your belly into toward your spine and lift your pelvic floor in a Kegel. Press your right heel into the floor as you push it forward on the mat until your leg is straight. Drag it back to the starting position. Repeat five to 10 times with each leg.
Read More: Can I Exercise with a Prolapsed Uterus?