LIVING WITH INCONTINENCE
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What is a prolapse?
The word prolapse simply describes the dropping or shifting of an internal organ from its correct position. If the prolapse is of the pelvic organs (bladder, urethra, bowel, rectum, uterus, vagina), it can affect the function and control of your bowel and bladder. In diagnosing a prolapse, the organ that has shifted is used to describe it, for example, a bladder prolapse. It’s also possible to have had multiple organs move, as the shift of one can pull or push others out of place. You can read more in this TENA article Types of Prolapse
Exercise and prolapses
Some types of exercise can improve and prevent the condition, but others add further stress on the organs, causing a prolapse or making an existing one worse. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the effects of particular exercises and why they may be a help - or a hindrance.
The link between the pelvic floor muscles and prolapses
The pelvic floor supports the pelvic organs. It's a sling of muscles that sit in the base of the pelvic bowl, attached to the pubic bone at the front, and the coccyx at the back If this muscle becomes weak or damaged, the support it provides the organs can be compromised, allowing one or more of them to droop, which in turn, can pull other organs out of place.
What are the causes of a prolapse?
Like all muscles, without sufficient exercise, the pelvic floor will weaken over time. This means that age is a risk factor, but there are other reasons why the pelvic floor can lose condition. These include:
Exercises that can cause, or worsen, a prolapse
It makes sense that if downward straining weakens the pelvic floor, exercises that place additional strain can contribute to the muscle’s further deterioration. Without strength, the pelvic floor can’t be braced against the force and so becomes even more stretched. The pressure can also push organs out of place and if they’ve already started to shift, it can move them even further.
Exercises that have this effect include:
Exercises to prevent a prolapse developing, and even improve a mild prolapse
Strengthening your pelvic floor muscle will eventually allow you to do strenuous exercise, but in the meantime, take it easy as doing too much too soon, could cause further damage.
When to seek professional advice?
If you suspect a prolapse, you must see your doctor. While a very mild prolapse may improved with exercise, anything more progressed requires medical attention. Prolapses do not self-correct.
A full assessment by a healthcare professional will determine which organs are displaced, how far they’ve shifted, the impact they’re having on other organs and the best treatment for the specific condition. This could include a tailored exercise regime, an insert or surgery.
Some people’s pelvic floor muscles have become so weak clenching becomes virtually impossible. Don’t be discouraged by this, as regardless of the current state, it can always be improved. If you’re struggling to find your pelvic floor or haven’t noticed an improvement after two to four weeks of exercises, ask your doctor for a referral to a continence physiotherapist. They’ll assist you with identifying the muscles, the correct exercise techniques and develop an individualised program.
In addition to causing a prolapse, a weak pelvic floor can reduce your ability to ‘hold on’ when you have the urge to urinate, pass wind or have a bowel movement. If you are experiencing any involuntary leakage, you may feel more comfortable with the security of an absorbent, disposable product while you’re getting your pelvic floor back into shape.
The TENA range includes super small TENA Liners, an extensive range of TENA Pads, as well as TENA Pants that looks and feel just like regular underwear. All are designed to quickly absorb the thin, fast flow of a weak bladder to keep you dry and odour-free.
Check out the TENA Product Finder Tool, and Free Samples find the product that best suits your needs.
Asaleo Care makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.