Healing Prolapse: What You Need to Know

Prolapse is a word we have started to hear more and more in women’s health spaces.

Maybe you’ve heard of it, or someone you know has experienced it.

Where I was living on Vancouver Island in Canada, it was stated that a shocking 60% of all birthing women were diagnosed with prolapse.

Something is happening to the wombs of women, far many more now are experiencing this than the generations before us.

Prolapse means that an organ or a part of the womb is displaced from its normal position, and can “fall” either downwards, forwards, or a combination of both. It is possible for prolapse to happen to the uterus, the bladder, the urethra, the vaginal wall or the anus.

Prolapses are categorized in stages; let’s go over a uterine prolapse so you have an idea:

Stage 1 is when the uterus has moved into the upper half of the vaginal canal.
Stage 2 is when the uterus has dropped almost to the vaginal opening.
Stage 3 is when the uterus is protruding out of the vaginal canal.
Stage 4 is when the uterus sits completely outside of the vagina.

For any woman experiencing a stage 1 or 2 prolapse, working with a pelvic floor therapist or trainer can be incredibly helpful to rebuild the strength and integrity of the muscles and facial networks of the pelvis.

For women experiencing a stage 3 or 4, women are usually offered a surgery where they support the prolapse with a form of mesh, “native tissue”, or by attaching the organ to the tissues and ligaments that surround it with stitches.

Unfortunately the statistics on these surgeries don’t prove to be a true solution, as many times the organs and tissues become prolapsed again, and can do quite a bit of damage to the surrounding areas in the process. 

Sadly, most women are told that there is nothing they can do about it, and that they will learn to have to live with the pain, discomfort, and feeling like their wombs are going to fall out.

Not only are birthing women experiencing prolapse, but there has been a rise in numbers of women who haven’t yet given birth.

It’s important to understand that the strength and health of our muscles and fascial networks is directly linked to the health of our organs and wombs. 

Yoni eggs (yoni egg guide here) are a great practice for bringing more awareness and presence into the wombspace, but practicing too often and for too long can be exhausting for our pelvic floor. Our muscles and tissues can become fatigued, overstretched and tight, which in turn, changes the positioning of the organs and tissues that they are attached to.

Menstrual cups are also impacting the integrity of our pelvic health. They suction around the cervix, and by wearing them too often or leaving them in too long, they can put stress on the cervix and uterus.

We are remembering that our pelvic health is a non-negotiable, and that with proper guidance and the right exercises, we can strengthen our wombs and set ourselves up for success for pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

Even though my mother had a prolapse, I never imagined it would happen to me. After the birth of my eldest child, I experienced a stage 1 prolapse of my bladder. After the birth of my second child, I experienced a stage 2 prolapse of my bladder and the vaginal wall underneath it. It caused me slight discomfort every now and then, but never really slowed me down any. I had been gradually working towards more strength in my pelvis and core, and after months of careful weight and low-impact cardio training, I decided I was strong enough to try jump training. What I didn’t know was that my body was not actually ready for that, and I was pushing her too hard. After I finished my first jump training workout, I went outside to play in the snow with my kids. I was pulling their sled up a steep hill, and I slipped and fell on the ice, severely pulling the muscles in my wombspace, and knocking my stage 2 prolapse down to a stage 3.

I was in so much pain for two months, all I could do was lay on the couch. I couldn’t lift my children, I couldn’t dance, I couldn’t drive for more than ten minutes without experiencing excruciating pain in my pelvis - even if I propped myself up on pillows. It was intense, and I didn’t know if I would ever be able to move my body in the same ways that I loved so much ever again.

I didn’t even know if I’d ever be able to have sex again! I began working with my Elder, who encouraged me that the pain held a powerful message for me, and to go into it and discover what that was. I spent months softly, slowly, gently introducing my pleasure practices, strengthening my core and rebuilding the integrity of the muscles, tendons and fascial networks in my womb. My journey of healing was slow and humbling, and required of me a few years of really facing myself and listening to my womb.

I’m happy to share that my stage 3 prolapse now feels like a 1 again, and I can play hard with my kids, lift weights and do kettlebell swings. I can run and jump and enjoy this body I have been returning to, with more presence, more awareness and a deeper sense of listening. Sometimes the heavy feeling returns to remind me not to push myself too hard, and to be softer and more gentle with myself instead. But here I am - loving, healing, connecting with my womb. I now know her voice intimately, and I pray that women may know their wombs without ever having to hear them scream to get the intention they have always deserved.

It is important when beginning your journey of healing a prolapse to be compassionate, gentle and slow with yourself. You are learning to navigate life in a new way; some days there will be more heaviness and pain in the womb than others. Sometimes you can go weeks without feeling any symptoms and then a slip or a jump brings you back to square one. The key is to not force yourself through any kind of exercise that feels too intense for where your womb is at. Our wombs are wise, and it is only when we get quiet and connect inward that we can truly hear what they are saying.

Three of my favourite resources that have helped me on my own prolapse healing journey are:

Lauren Ohayon, Core + Pelvic Floor Fitness Trainer - she has a great program called Restore Your Core and an amazing pelvic floor/prolapse resource list in her bio on ig. Her website is https://laurenohayon.com/offerings/restore-your-core/ and you can find her on Instagram here: @thelaurenohayon

Ania, Postpartum Trainer - she has tons of amazing workouts that are safe for women experiencing prolapse. Her website is http://mommyfitnyc.com and you can find her on Instagram here: @mommyfitnyc

Adelaide Meadow, Radical Pelvic Health Coach - she has incredible webinars that combine anatomy, physiology and healing movement. Her website is https://smallmagicbirth.com and you can find her on Instagram here: @smallmagicbirth

Written by Autumn Rose
Instagram @embodyjaguar