Is bending after prolapse surgery safe?
What’s the best way to bend forwards and lift from the ground?
Recently I received an email from a reader who was too frightened to bend forwards to remove her shoes many months after her prolapse surgery. This highlights the confusion and fear about safe bending after prolapse surgery.
Read on for Physiotherapist information on safe bending:
1. What happens to your prolapse with forward bending
2. Safe bending after prolapse surgery
3. When forwards bending increases prolapse problems
4. Safer alternatives to deep forwards bending
Prolapse Exercises e-Book
International best selling prolapse exercise guide for women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery.
Prolapse Exercises teaches you how to:
- Exercise safely after prolapse surgery
- Reduce your risk or repeat prolapse
- Avoid unsafe exercises
- Choose pelvic floor safe exercises
- Reduce your risk of prolapse worsening
- Improve prolapse support
- Increase your strength and fitness
- Strengthen your core
- Lose weight
1. What Happens to Your Prolapse With Forward Bending?
When you bend forwards you compress your abdomen (lower belly).
Bending forwards increases pressure downwards from within your abdomen onto your prolapse repair and pelvic floor.
Your pelvic floor muscles and tissues need to be strong enough to withstand downward forces.
If your pelvic floor can’t withstand the increased pressure, it can stretch downwards (shown right). This can contribute to repeat prolapse after repair or worsening prolapse problems.
Pressure or load on the pelvic floor increases according to how far you bend forward – the further forward you bend, the greater the pressure on your prolapse or repair.
2. Safe Bending After Prolapse Surgery
You may need to limit forward bending during early healing (i.e. first 6 weeks) after prolapse surgery.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t bend forwards. Most women can perform limited bending forward quite safely during their recovery at home after prolapse surgery to wash and dress.
It’s helpful to avoid those forwards bending factors that can potentially increase prolapse problems (see below).
As your internal stitches heal after surgery 6-8 weeks after surgery, your pelvic floor will usually be able to withstand more pressure.
Most women can bend forwards more comfortably and safely during everyday activity as healing time progresses.
Note: The ability to bend forward after prolapse surgery can vary among women. Always be guided by your surgeon’s guidelines for your safe bending after prolapse surgery.
Bending and Exercise After Surgery
If you’re returning to exercise after prolapse surgery be mindful of exercises that involve forward bending. Many exercises that involve bending can be readily modified.
For example Yoga deep forward bend (shown right) where the depth of the forward bend should be limited to avoid touching the ground.
Bending and Work After Surgery
When returning to work after prolapse surgery some women may need to negotiate alternatives to duties involving repeated forward bending and heavy lifting to reduce the risk of repeat prolapse.
3. When Forwards Bending Increases Prolapse Problems
Forwards bending can increase the risk or worsening prolapse problems when:
- Frequently repeated
- Lifting from ground level
- Lifting a heavy object
- Sustained duration
- Combined with deep squatting
- You’re overweight or obese
4. Safer Alternatives to Deep Forwards Bending
Some ways to reduce forwards bending and protect your prolapse repair or severe prolapse include:
- Lunge into a kneeling position on the ground (shown above woman emptying washing machine)
- Kneel to reach ground level before bending rather than from standing
- Position objects at waist height or above that require frequent bending to lift
- Sit to remove shoes and socks (shown right)
- Use a pick up stick
- Use cleaning gear with long handles (see below)
- Delegate bending and lifting tasks to others during early recovery
Always use safe lifting techniques after prolapse surgery and with prolapse problems,
Key Points for Safe Bending After Prolapse Surgery
- Forwards bending increases pressure on the pelvic floor
- Pressure or load on the pelvic floor is greatest when bending forward to ground level
- Bending forwards may increase prolapse problems when repeated frequently and/or combined with heavy lifting
- Most women can safely bend forwards to perform activities of daily living after recovery from prolapse surgery
- Some women need to modify forward bending during work and exercise long term after prolapse surgery
- Use alternatives to deep forward bending to protect your prolapse repair and reduce the risk of prolapse worsening.