When your pelvic floor muscles and ligaments are damaged or weakened by childbirth, you may experience genital prolapse, which is when your rectum, bladder or uterus slip down and press against or protrude out of your vagina. Other causes for prolapse are a lack of circulating estrogen after menopause, loss of muscle tone as you age and, less commonly, a tumor in your pelvic cavity. Abdominal exercises can help you gain back muscle tone and strength to assist with your prolapse. You should consult your gynecologist before engaging in any type of treatment for your prolapse until you know the cause of your specific condition.
Exercises to Avoid
When you are exercising your abdominal muscles as a prolapsed woman, you want to avoid abdominal crunches and situps at all costs, as these exercises can increase the downward pressure of your pelvic muscles and aggravate your prolapsed condition. All other intense core exercises should also be avoided, such as lifting a ball between your legs as you are lying flat on your back, bicycle leg workout, hanging knee raise and planks. Only gentle and supported core exercises will benefit your prolapse. When in doubt, consult your physical therapist before doing any exercise that may affect your pelvic floor muscles and tendons.
Hands to Shoulder Height
Gentle core exercises while sitting on a yoga ball or a chair are ideal when you are a prolapsed woman. Sitting provides support for your pelvic floor muscles so you are able to safely work your abdominal muscles. A simple exercise to begin with is to sit on your yoga ball or chair, keeping your feet close together. Gently raise your arms to shoulder height until they are fully extended and your palms are open. Bring them back down, bending your elbows, and keep your abdominal muscles drawn in throughout this motion. Repeat in a rhythmic manner until you have done 15 to 20 reps.
A variation of the seated exercise is to raise your toes up toward the ceiling so your legs are resting on your heels and bring your arms all the way up above your head and down again gently. You can alternate arms for an extra challenge.
After you have exercised your abdominal muscles with simple arm raises, you can try to do a rotation exercise that consists of sitting on a yoga ball or chair with your feet close together and reaching with your right arm out in front of you in a diagonal way to the left. Then repeat the same motion for the left arm. Try 10 reps for each arm to begin with and increase the amount of reps as your abdominal muscles get stronger.