Strength training with weights is more than just a way for men to build muscle and strength, as women also benefit from the workouts through reduced fat and a lowered risk for osteoporosis. Heavy lifting can be dangerous and in some cases leads to uterine prolapse -- sometimes called vaginal prolapse. The condition causes pain during sexual intercourse, as well as urination difficulties, according to the Cleveland Clinic. To prevent or avoid excaberating uterine prolapse, recognize some proven methods for lifting weights safely, and obtain your doctor’s permission before planning any exercise routine.
Weightlifting and Prolapse
Women who lift weights as part of a balanced exercise program have a better chance to stay slim, since exercise that adds muscle also rewards your body with less fat and an enhanced ability to burn calories. MayoClinic.com reports frequent heavy lifting sometimes leads to a weakening of the muscles located in your pelvic floor. Weak pelvic muscles offer insufficient support for your uterus, which causes the uterus to slip down into the vagina. Symptoms of vaginal prolapse include a heavy or tugging feeling in your pelvis, urine leakage, back pain or the feeling of an object slipping from your vagina. Severe cases of vaginal prolapse lead to ulcers and bladder prolapse.
Most women with mild cases of vaginal prolapse find relief through Kegel exercises aimed at providing increased strength to the pelvic floor muscles, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Perform a Kegel routine by tightening the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine. Keep the muscles tight for several seconds, relax and then attempt nine additional repetitions. Consider performing Kegel excercise up to four times daily, either sitting or standing.
Correct lifting technique is essential to prevent vaginal prolapse or to avoid additional weakening of your pelvic muscles if you already have the condition. MayoClinic.com suggests lifting a weight only heavy enough to allow 12 slow repetitions. Aim to lift with firm footing and a straight back, and always bend at your hips and knees. Avoid the urge to twist as you lift or to jerk a weight upward, and keep your stomach muscles as tight as possible.
Women who wish to avoid the risk of uterine prolapse but still gain the benefits of strength training typically benefit from alternative muscle-building methods. Most sporting good stores sell affordable resistance tubing. The elastic tubing builds strength and reduces fat through stretching repetitions. You’ll also tone your body by performing exercises like pushups, leg squats, abdominal crunches, situps and pullups. Alert your doctor if vaginal prolapse causes extreme discomfort or prevents you from perform your daily activities.
- Cleveland Clinic: Uterine Prolapse
- MayoClinic.com; Aerobic Exercise: Top 10 Reasons to Get Physical; February 2011
- MayoClinic.com; Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier; June 2010
- National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Urinary Incontinence in Women; October 2007