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I think I have a prolapse and would like more detailed info on symptoms and exercise

By November 28, 2009 - 12:08pm
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Hi all, I am a 65 year old women, had a hysterectomy in my 20's...hernia operation about the same time (20's). I have had a number of bladder infections with blood. In order to void I have to lean forward. (I've been telling doc. about that part for years) About two months ago I started to hurt in my vagina/pelvic area. It was after an especially terrible time with constipation. I think something happened inside. I have never heard of prolapse and when I was looking for answers this problem came up. I feel in my heart that I have a prolapse but not sure which kind....I think it may be both bladder and bowel. I've been waiting until my 65th birthday (when I will have medicare to help with $$) to get an evaluation. What I was surprised at was the lack of bloggers/forums that are current (many post were 2005 or ???) The information is all the same as far as what doctors are posting but it isn't enough information. Are there other sites that can help fill in the types of symptoms you experience..type of pain, severity & more. It would be nice to talk to women my age that have had hysterectomies and are experiencing some of the types of symptoms I’m having. I need to know if I can walk and how many pounds I can lift..things like that. So many questions!!! Thanks in advance for your help.

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I'm wondering what your opinion is regarding the above comment, and suggestion?

January 19, 2010 - 3:34pm
EmpowHER Guest

STWW is going to do you more harm than good. Your SI joints are going to become inflamed as the ligaments stretch. Read what Richard DonTigny and other leading PT's have to say about posture, a floppy belly and maintaining a too prominent lordotic curve. Stay far away from the cult-like WW and its maverick leader. Her 'improvement' has only been as a result of pushing her prolapsed uterus digitally back into position and has nothing whatsoever to do with posture. Also, her shying away from using HRT is a hoax as her foray into using organic raw butter as HRT has no more or less value than purchasing a bio-identical HRT from the nearest pharmacy. Join the many women who have decided to leave before physical damage was permanent. There are other less biased forums to join.

Bless you.

December 29, 2009 - 11:41am
(reply to Anonymous)

Can you tell us more about what you are suggesting is a good alternative? I am confused what you refer to "less biased forum", but have primarily called one choice "a cult", but did not really explain what the positive alternative is...something about posture, floppy belly and lordotic curve?

Have you had personal experience with this? Either way, it would be wonderful to provide more information, so that all of the women can make an educated and informed decision that best fits their needs.

thank you! I look forward to hearing from you soon!

January 19, 2010 - 3:36pm

Thanks Moonspinner, I have read about the posture and it would be worth trying. I have fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions so I often have trouble finding a comfortable position....now this prolapse has just added to my problems....It is hard for me to believe that now I have to live with more pain. Frankly I have always had a good attitude and never been depressed....this prolapse is pushing even my limits. I would like to find a way to make it better but realistically it seems like it will be an uphill battle. This site has been the only place I've found anyone to talk to. Thanks for listening. Is walking going to make things worse? Yesterday I walked at least 1 1/2 miles (some uphill) and now I am very uncomfortable. Walking is the easyest choice for keeping fit. I have been looking for information on what I can do to keep strong. Not exercising will make my FM much worse so it seems like a catch 22. How do I find out what I can do? Is the ball ok to use? See what I mean :)

November 30, 2009 - 12:26pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to baci)

Hi Carol -
Another member asked a question a while back about exercising with a prolapse and I think you'll find that answer helpful for your situation.


Take good care,

November 30, 2009 - 5:49pm
(reply to Pat Elliott)

Pat, I clicked on the link you suggested and it didn't go to the comments for the question regarding excercise.

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my question.

December 1, 2009 - 9:51am
HERWriter Guide (reply to baci)

Hi Carol - Hmmm. I just tested it, and it worked for me, so I don't know what went wrong. So, I'm just going to paste the info below to make it easier. Thanks for letting me know that you couldn't get to it. Best, Pat

ASK: Can jumping around during aerobics make a prolapsed bladder worse?

The short answer is yes, it may be possible, from what I have read and from what friends who suffer from this have told me. Vigorous exercising like aerobics can actually increase a prolapsed bladder's tendency to dip downwards and that's the last thing someone suffering from this would want.

What this kind of exercise can also do is increase the symptoms and irritate the bladder and vaginal area even more.

A prolapsed bladder is essentially when the pelvic muscles that support the bladder and vagina are weakened, usually due to menopause, aging and/or childbirth. The weakened bladder therefore "sinks" down toward and into the vaginal area, causing discomfort, urine leakage and sometimes painful sex. Vigorous exercises like aerobics may exacerbate the pain and discomfort and can definitely cause a person to accidentally urinate. Some women prefer to change to a different form of exercise until the condition has been fixed, like Kegal exercises if the issue is mild, surgery for a seriously prolapsed bladder or the insertion of a pessary via the vagina (that can be removed)- this keeps the bladder in place fairly well. It all depends on the seriousness of the prolapse.

The best thing a woman can do is as many Kegal exercises as possible. The good thing about Kegals is that you can do them driving, having dinner or while chatting over a cup of coffee. No-one knows anything! Kegal exercises are the exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that are often affected by aging and childbearing. For step by step instruction on how to do Kegal exercises, click here: http://sexuality.about.com/od/anatomyresponse/ht/kegelswomen.htm

Also something for this woman to consider is Yoga, which is believed to be an excellent way to help strengthen pelvic muscles and additionally is a low impact way to exercise the entire body. Pilates is another good exercise. Posture is everything, when dealing with a prolapsed bladder.

I would chose one of these options, rather than aerobics, until the problem has been fixed - which hopefully it will be.

I hope this helps.

December 1, 2009 - 5:11pm

Hi Carol,

You are certainly right that hysterectomy is a major cause of prolapse. The uterus is the hub of the wheel of pelvic organ support and its removal causes great instability to the pelvic interior. Ask your doctor about the failure rates of subsequent surgeries for post-hysterectomy prolapse - I think you might find they are fraught with significant risk.

You may find that changing your posture to hold your bladder and intestines forward and away from your pelvic outlet is enough to affect your symptoms and avoid further surgery. Prolapse is extremely common and women the world over are learning to live well with these conditions by returning to natural female posture. The problems become more complicated after hysterectomy, but it might still be worth your while to see what others are saying about natural pelvic organ support at Whole Woman. :) Moonspinner.

November 29, 2009 - 7:45pm
HERWriter Guide

Hi Baci

Thanks for you post and welcome! I think you have come to the right place for information on prolapses (also known as cystoceles) . We also have had many women with this condition talk about their own experiences and with questions of their own.

I will put some information here and then link you to our page where you can also examine some diagrams and see some other information and links :

A cystocele occurs when part of the bladder bulges into the vagina. A rectocele occurs when part of the rectum sags into the vagina. In both conditions, the walls of the vagina weaken so they are not strong enough to support a separation between the vagina and the bladder or rectum.

There are three grades of cystocele:

◦Grade 1: the mildest form, where the bladder drops only partway into the vagina
◦Grade 2: a moderate form, where the bladder has sunken far enough to reach the opening of the vagina
◦Grade 3: the most severe form, where the bladder sags through the opening of the vagina

The sooner that cystocele or rectocele are treated, the more favorable the outcome. If you suspect you have this condition, contact your doctor.

Cystocele and rectocele occur when the walls of the vagina have been damaged, usually by one or more of the following factors:

◦Difficult vaginal births
■Multiple births
■The use of forceps to assist delivery
■Perineal tears during delivery
■Episiotomy during birth
◦Strain from lifting heavy objects
◦Chronic cough
◦Chronic constipation
◦Weakening of vaginal muscles caused by a lack of estrogen after menopause

Risk Factors
The following factors increase your chance of developing cystocele and rectocele. If you have any of these risk factors, tell your doctor:

◦Age: postmenopausal
◦History of difficult vaginal births
◦History of straining during bowel movements

Many cases of cystocele and rectocele are mild and do not have symptoms.

In more serious cases, the symptoms of cystocele include:

◦Urine leakage while laughing, sneezing, or coughing
◦Incomplete bladder emptying after urination
◦Pain or pressure in the pelvis
◦Frequent bladder infections
◦Pain during sexual intercourse
◦Feeling of tissue bulging out of vagina

Symptoms of rectocele include:

◦Pain or pressure in the vagina
◦Pain during sexual intercourse
◦Pain or pressure in the rectum
◦Difficult passage of stool
◦Needing to apply pressure on vagina to pass stool
◦Feelings of incomplete stool passage
◦Feeling of tissue bulging out of vagina

If you experience any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to cystocele or rectocele. These symptoms may be caused by other, less or more serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your physician.

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests for cystocele may include the following:

◦Pelvic examination
◦Voiding cystourethrogram—an x-ray test done during urination
◦Urine tests to look for signs of infection

Tests for rectocele may include:

◦Examination of the vagina and rectum
◦Defecagram—an x-ray test done during defecation

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. For the mildest cases of cystocele and rectocele, no treatment is needed. For more serious cases, treatment options include the following:

Activity Modification
For cystocele and rectocele, your doctor may suggest that you avoid heavy lifting.

Kegel exercises (squeezing the pelvic floor muscles) may help to strengthen the muscles around the vagina and bladder.

For rectocele, the first line of treatment is often a diet that allows for easy passage of stools. This includes adding fiber, liquids, and a stool softener if necessary.

A pessary is a device that is inserted into the vagina to provide support and to keep the bladder and/or rectum in place.

Estrogen Replacement Therapy
Adding estrogen (in the form of pills, creams, or patches) may help strengthen the walls of the vagina after menopause .

For severe cases of cystocele and rectocele, surgery may be needed to move the bladder or rectum back into place.

Your link is here : http://www.empowher.com/media/reference/cystocelerectocele#definition

In terms of how many pounds you can lift or similar questions, this all depends in your own particular case.

Here is another great link for you that will help : http://www.empowher.com/providers/article/about-pelvic-organ-prolapse

Here are some similar questions (and answers) from other women :



Baci - tell me if this helps you and if there is anything else we can help you with!

November 28, 2009 - 12:49pm
(reply to Susan Cody)

Susan, my symptoms are not exactly like the one's listed...some are some are not. I am having problems with my bladder (always feel like i have to pee, can not pee all the way) for some years I have to lean over in order to evacuate....I also get a lot of bladder infections. The other problem is I have a lot of constipation and straining. I few months back when it seemed like major changes took place (more pain in vagina and in area of old hernia surgery, bladder infections, increase pain when walking, leaning over, lifting more than 5#. My back hurts (lower) and the heating pad is my best friend. The difference in my case and what I am reading is I don't think that anything is in my vagina (I know...I would know that) I noticed a difference evacuating (bowel)...I have Fibromyalgia and am on Oxycontin and other meds so I have had a chronic problem with constipation...

I work on keeping myself from making the problem worse by eating right and more. I notice that I am not able to get much out at any one time. It comes out in small hard lumps. I suspect that something isn't right in the small bowel but that is just a guess. I can't go to the doctor until I get on medicare (just had my 65th Birthday) What i want to know is, do you think I could have prolapse with the symptoms I have? Is it possible to have it on the other side of the vaginal wall not in the vagina? I had a hysterectomy at a young age, never had children but have had other surgeries in the stomach area. Something is very wrong...I hurt all the time and things are not working correctly but this has been a growing problem until a week of not going to the bathroom and straining very hard; again that is when everything got much worse.

I hope I have given you enough information....as I said my symptoms are not in the inside of my vagina but around both sides. Is there anything written about my problems that I can identify with?

Can I walk to exercise? My husband thinks I should stand on my head...isn't that funny :)

January 19, 2010 - 11:45am
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