Pelvic Floor BLOG

Lifting with a Prolapse

Can you Lift with a Prolapse?

Your Lifting Questions with Prolapse- Answered!

Can you lift?
How much weight can you lift?
How should you lift?
These are always popular questions!
They are also all very hard questions to answer- because it very much depends! But let’s go through these one by one
1. Can you lift if you have a prolapse?
Yes! It can very much depend on your technique. Meaning that one person could lift something that was only a couple of pounds but using improper technique, resulting in a lot of extra pressure down on their pelvic floor and prolapse. Another person could be lifting something that was 30lbs plus, but doing it in a way where they were managing their pressure, and using their core and pelvic floor properly so it wasn’t putting any extra pressure down. They may have a more severe prolapse, but are able to lift without any problems at all! There are also women lifting 100lb to 200lb barbells safely with a prolapse, without making it worse. This flows into my next question…
2. How much can you lift if you have a prolapse? Again the answer to this very much depends. And we are going to talk about exactly how you should be doing this in a moment. There was actually a research study that showed that women who actually lifted heavier in the gym- heavier bench presses, squats etc, actually had less instances of prolapse vs women who don’t lift heavy at all. We often think that heavy lifting can be contributing to prolapse, but this proves that this is not necessarily the case. Don’t get me wrong, heavy lifting can make things worse, if you aren’t doing it properly- which is really the big take home message of this article! 
3. How should you lift properly?
Now the answer to this very much depends on you and your symptoms. If you know you can lift 10lbs without having any worsening symptoms (symptoms such as bulging, heaviness, aching, discomfort etc), it’s okay. If you are experiencing worsening symptoms- then it’s too heavy for you. 
Now that being said, even without symptoms, its still important you do it properly! 
Let’s get to the how. And this can be applied to anything! Even something as simple as a pencil up off the ground, or heavier like kids or grandkids up or into a carseat. A purse, firewood, pulling wagons, dumbbells etc. 
First me explain how your pelvic floor is supposed to work in tandem with your body and core when we lift. Your inner core is made up of 4 muscles- your pelvic floor, diaphragm, transverse abdominal muscle and multifidus. Your diaphragm and pelvic floor are the only 2 muscles that go through you front to back, and they are also supposed to work together as a team. When one rises the other rises, and one when one lowers the other lowers. So they always move together. Our transverse abdominal muscle will also contract when our pelvic floor contracts. 
When we add load to our body, we should be breathing out, which helps to activate our pelvic floor and transverse abdominal muscle, which is what supports our pelvis and spine, and also our pelvic organs. So those muscles contract for us at the right time for us to brace when we, for example, lift- and that protects a prolapse, or even someone with back pain! 
If our core is weaker, or uncoordinated- it ends up often pushing down when we lift something heavier instead. So we instead brace by bearing down to find some stability. This pushes down on a prolapse and can worsen that bulging feeling, heaviness or cause bladder leakage. 
Practice lifting something lighter off the floor or a chair - practice breathing out and doing a Kegel (think about stopping your flow of urine midway through, or lifting a marble up into your vagina). Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were blowing out birthday candles can sometimes help. You can also practice this as you do squats as this simulates a lifting movement, or even standing up out of a chair- in both cases, as you rise- breathe out and lift your marble. You may notice that your belly pulls in as you do this. 
Other tips: 
If you find the breathing out too confusing- at the very least just practice lifting your marble as you rise or lift up. 
You can also think about keeping your feet closer together- as a wide stance puts more pressure on your pelvic floor than a more narrow stance. 
A better bending posture- if your round your back= more pressure on your pelvic floor, if you keep your spine straighter = less pressure! 
Don’t worry if this feeling feels very…well… weird! That’s a sign your core is likely weak and not working well together. But not to worry- the more you practice- the better and more natural it will feel! 
By practicing, you are also strengthening your pelvic floor- both these things are going to help you lift safely with your prolapse, whether its laundry baskets, groceries, kids or weights in the gym.

For more detail- watch this short YouTube video: 

If you haven’t yet- watch my free webinar on everything you need to know about your prolapse and what you should be doing about it: 

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