Hypopressives for prolapse: Are these exercises the key ingredient for healing?
- January 11, 2023
- Pelvic Floor
Do you feel like no one understands what you are going through? That you are alone in your experience with prolapse – a common pelvic floor dysfunction?
I remember feeling that exact same way just a few years ago. There was no one I could go to for help, no one that understood my pain and depression.
When you have a pelvic organ that feels like it’s falling out of you, this is how low your emotional and mental state can become. And of course, the physical limitations and restrictions are terrible as well.
It can all become too much. Yet, when there’s even an ounce of hope left, a solution may arise. For me, learning about Hypopressives for prolapse was my hope and became my healing solution.
After the first few times practicing these exercises, I knew they would become a huge part of my healing journey – and they did.
This is what I want to share with you in this blog. Not so much about my journey, because you can listen to my story here.
Instead, I want to share how prolapse can occur in the first place and how hypopressive exercises can help you reverse it. In short, this is an article about hope and healing.
With that said, let’s begin, shall we?
When does a pelvic organ prolapse typically occur?
Although it’s common to associate a prolapse with a postpartum mother, this is not always the case. In fact, some women who’ve never had a baby experience prolapse. In other cases, women can experience a prolapse 20 to 30 years after the birth of their last child.
Yet, it is true that women who just delivered their baby can absolutely have a prolapse – especially if birth injuries occurred.
Before we unpack each of these scenarios one by one, let’s cover the major types of pelvic organ prolapse first:
- Cystocele – When the bladder drops into the vagina
- Enterocele – When the small intestine bulges into the vagina
- Rectocele – When the rectum bulges into the vagina
- Uterine Prolapse – When the uterus bulges into the vagina
Prolapse in women who’ve never been pregnant
If you’ve never birthed a child, yet have a prolapse, there are reasons for this.
Firstly, a pelvic floor-related trauma can cause a prolapse to occur. This can be a physical injury, surgery, or sexual or emotional trauma.
Another example could be overtraining the body, such as from weightlifting or Crossfit. Or from participating in high-impact sports such as long-distance running, skiing & snowboarding (sports with the potential for hard falls), and horseback riding.
Prolapse in women who delivered a baby 10, 20, or 30 years ago
Some women only start to experience symptoms of prolapse after many years have passed since their last pregnancy. This can be brought on by the drastic changes in estrogen levels during menopause, or other reasons.
In many cases, women who experience prolapse at this time of their lives have had symptoms for years. This can include incontinence, pelvic pain, back pain, or low libido before the prolapse comes.
Prolapse in postpartum women
This last scenario that I want to talk about tends to be the most common scenario. And as I mentioned earlier, prolapse can occur during this time because of birth injuries.
Injuries such as the use of forceps, significant tearing, forceful pushing, a long labor, or even a cesarean birth.
I’ll go ahead and explain how these scenarios play a part in causing a prolapse.
What’s the root cause of prolapse, regardless of when it occurs?
In short, prolapse and other pelvic dysfunctions happen due to scarring and adhesions in the pelvic fascia, along with having too much pressure and tension in the pelvic floor.
Again, the reasons mentioned above – like birth injuries, traumas, and overtraining – create these non-ideal conditions.
Also, there are some other reasons that can lead to poor pelvic health – including bad posture and short, restrictive breathing.
Since these things happen 24/7 – sitting, standing, laying down, and breathing – it’s essential to address these areas. And soon you’ll understand how these two areas connect to pelvic dysfunctions.
To summarize, here are the root causes of prolapse and other pelvic-related issues:
- Scar tissue in your pelvic floor fascia (connective tissue)
- Adhesions in your pelvic floor fascia
- Excess pressure in your pelvic floor
- Too much tension in your pelvic floor
- Bad posture & restrictive breathing (both of these create excess pressure)
Fortunately, Hypopressive exercises address all these problem areas. This is why they helped me reverse a Grade 3 prolapse, and help the women I work with.
It feels like the perfect time to explore Hypopressives in-depth, so you understand what they actually are.
What are Hypopressives for prolapse?
Hypopressives are categorized as a low-pressure fitness technique and were designed to help women rehab postpartum. These exercises have existed since the 1980s, and are a “saving grace” to women who find no benefit from Kegels.
They include a combination of postural alignment exercises, lateral breathing, and apnea breathwork. Again, the focus is to improve your posture and the way you breathe to release pressure and tension in the pelvic floor.
Furthermore, these exercises require very little equipment. Just a yoga mat, a small ball that has some ‘give’, and cushions for support (if needed). They take place in the laying down, sitting, standing, or quadruped (on all fours) positions.
Also, there are different levels of Hypopressives training, that include more advanced postures, and flows. This not only keeps things interesting, but it can take your healing to the next level.
By next level, I mean the complete reversal of prolapse, which is what I experienced. But it can go beyond that. Besides the complete reversal of prolapse, keeping up with a Hypopressives practice for 6 months to a year and beyond can help you feel more energized and stronger than ever before.
This has been the case for me. And as I dive deeper into these exercises, I’m surprised by the numerous benefits they continue to offer.
Why do Hypopressive exercises work so well?
As you just learned, hypopressives are a low-pressure fitness technique. So by their very nature, they help reduce excess pressure in your pelvic floor. Again, too much pressure in your pelvic floor can cause pelvic dysfunctions.
Secondly, when it comes to alleviating tension in the pelvis (another necessity for healing), the slow, gentle, unforced nature of Hypopressives allows tension and tightness to disappear.
Now that we’ve covered excess pressure and tension in the pelvic floor – what about scarring and adhesions?
This is the third major benefit of practicing Hypopressives. The unique combination of postural alignment and breathwork involved in Hypopressive training is the recipe for healing.
The apnea breath in particular, helps create a ‘lift effect’ in the pelvic floor. This lift helps guide the pelvic organs back in their natural position.
In addition, the unique breathing exercises also soften scars and dissolve adhesions in the pelvic fascia. In turn, this makes the fascia healthy, flexible, fluid, and strong once again.
When this occurs, the fascia can better support your pelvic organs, creating a stronger support system.
For illustration purposes, I like to use the analogy of a hammock. When your “pelvic hammock” becomes strong and stable, the pelvic organs won’t fall or be pulled downwards. And this is how a prolapse goes away.
Even more, when you maintain a regular and consistent Hypopressives practice it’s very difficult for a prolapse to return.
Therefore, the powerful Hypopressives technique is effective for both healing purposes and prevention.
How to get started with Hypopressives for prolapse
As you have learned, Hypopressives training addresses the root causes of prolapse and other pelvic dysfunctions. This is what makes them super effective and most of all the right-fit for healing pelvic issues.
Also, they don’t make things worse as other exercises can do, such as Kegels, running, and weightlifting.
If you’re interested in trying a safe, on-demand Hypopressives course, I’ve created one with Abby Lord, Master Hypopressives Trainer from Scotland.
To learn all about this course, you are invited to attend our FREE Live Webinar called, “How to safely get started with Hypopressives.” They take place twice a week, so you can reserve your spot when it works best for you.
Learn more about the Hypopressives method and how you can practice these exercises safely from home.
Hope to see you at an upcoming webinar!
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