How Long to Wait for Safe Return to Exercise After Prolapse Surgery?

Life after prolapse surgeryHow long do you need to wait before returning to exercise after prolapse surgery?

Is it safe to return to your regular exercise after prolapse surgery?

This Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy information helps you plan your safe return to exercise and live life to the fullest after prolapse repair surgery.

Read on now to learn:

  • Problems with returning too soon to exercise after prolapse surgery
  • How long to wait before returning to exercise
  • Safe exercises after prolapse surgery
  • Prolapse exercises to avoid after prolapse surgery
  • How to return to exercise safely after prolapse surgery

Prolapse Exercises e-Book

International best selling prolapse exercise guide for women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery.

Prolapse Exercises Book

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

Problems With Returning too Soon to Exercise After Prolapse Surgery

Returning to exercise too soon after surgery can increase the risk of repeat prolapse problems that affect your quality your quality of life.

There are 2 main prolapse problems caused by returning to exercise before your repair is completely healed:Tissues stretch

  • Tissue stretch – newly healed tissues can over-stretch causing a ‘loose’ repair which isn’t as firm or sitting as high as it would otherwise.
  • Immediate prolapse – when the stitches used for your repair give way causing repeat prolapse.

During your prolapse surgery your surgeon surgically supports your prolapsed pelvic organs (i.e. bladder, bowel or uterus). Prolapse surgery usually involves cutting away loose prolapsed tissues and stitching (sewing) your pelvic tissues to hold your pelvic organs in place.

Prolapse surgery results in an internal wound that’s stitched up that isn’t visible from outside the body, so it can be easy to forget. It’s also not widely understood by many people including some gym instructors or personal trainers.

As your newly repaired tissues heal and form scar tissue, the stitches usually dissolve inside your body. The newly healed tissues then takes on the role of holding up your pelvic organs.

How Long to Wait Before Returning to Exercise

Always wait until you have your surgeon’s approval before returning to general exercise. The best time for you to return to exercise is something you’ll need to discuss with your surgeon during your postoperative visit approximately 6 weeks after your prolapse surgery.

Some women receive approval to return to general exercise 6-8 weeks after prolapse surgery. This varies from patient to patient and there’s definitely no one rule for all women.

Unfortunately some women make the mistake of thinking that after 6 weeks they’re fully healed and they return to their previous exercise routine. During the first 6 weeks your stitches hold together your tissues as they heal. During this time it’s very important to avoid overloading your pelvic floor tissues with unsafe exercises.

Complete tissue healing takes 3 months and sometimes longer. During this time your prolapse repair is still vulnerable to strain and overload, especially with some general exercises (discussed below).

Safe return to general exercise depends on a number of factors including:

  • Type of prolapse repair surgery (e.g. cystocele repair, rectocele repair, uterine prolapse)
  • Surgical technique used by your surgeon
  • Postoperative complications
  • How well your pelvic floor muscles are working
  • Condition of your pelvic floor tissues (e.g. after menopause your pelvic tissues are more likely to be thin and vulnerable to strain)
  • Your body weight (the more abdominal weight you carry, the greater the load on your pelvic floor and repair with exercise)

Safe Exercise After Prolapse Surgery

To avoid long-term complications which could affect quality of life after prolapse surgery, women usually return to modified exercises designed to avoid overloading their pelvic floor tissues.

Modified general exercises include:

Walking exercise

  • Low impact cardiovascular fitness exercises (e.g. walking, water walking, low impact dancing, low impact aerobics)
  • Pelvic floor safe resistance exercises (e.g. seated bicep curls, flood bridging exercises, clam exercise)
  • Pelvic floor safe core abdominal exercises

Prolapse Exercises to Avoid After Prolapse Surgery

Some exercises increase the load on the pelvic floor, increasing the risk of straining prolapse repair or causing repeat prolapse.

Prolapse exercises to avoid after prolapse surgery include:

Unsafe core exercise after prolapse surgery

  • High impact exercises – e.g. distance running, jumping, high impact aerobics
  • Heavy strength training and inappropriate strength exercises – e.g. leg press, deep wide leg squats, kettle bell swings
  • Intense core abdominal exercises – e.g. abdominal curl exercises, intense Yoga or Pilates core abdominal exercises

Many women choose to avoid these types of heavy loading and high impact exercises long-term after prolapse repair.

How to Return to Exercise Safely After Prolapse Surgery

  1. Most women start walking daily after discharge from hospital
  2. Continue your progressive walking program during the first 6 weeks after surgery
  3. Seek advice on pelvic floor rehabilitation from a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
  4. Commence pelvic floor rehabilitation during your recovery as advised by your Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
  5. Resume modified general exercises when you have approval to do so from your surgeon.

Key Points for When to Return to Exercise After Prolapse Surgery

  • Prolapse surgery involves an internal wound isn’t visible from outside the body
  • Overloading the pelvic floor before fully healed can cause a lax repair or repeat prolapse
  • Some women receive approval to return to modified exercise from 6-8 weeks after prolapse surgery
  • Complete tissue healing takes around 3 months
  • Choose low impact exercises, pelvic floor safe resistance exercises and appropriate core abdominal exercises after prolapse surgery
  • Avoid high impact exercises, inappropriate heavy resistance training exercises and intense core abdominal exercises to protect your prolapse repair.
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We Welcome Your Comments


  1. Hi, I’m 6 weeks post rectocele and cystocele prolapse surgery and trying to find information on whether it is possible to eventually return to horse riding?

  2. Hello,
    I am a trainer and enjoy working out a lot.
    I enjoy the above listed high impact exercises, strength training and abdominal yoga. You mention some women refrain from ever doing these exercises again. Is this only during the initial 3 month recovery period or infinite? I can’t imagine never running long distance again, cardio, leg pressing and crunches?

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Christine
      Yes I completely understand! Christine it really depends on what the issue is and the capacity of the pelvic floor for support. After surgery for pelvic prolapse, the risk of repeat prolapse is increased long-term. It really comes down to the individual and what they are prepared to risk. The exercises you describe here are those that increase the likelihood of prolapse, remember that these were likely the exercises being performed when the prolapse occurred so unless extensive pelvic floor rehab has restored pelvic floor function, then the risk of repeat prolapse with these exercises is unfortunately very real. All the best

  3. Hi, I’m so glad I came across this article. I had full pelvic floor surgery (prolapsed bladder and bowel) 4.5 weeks ago….I’ve had a few complications with recovery but am on the road now. Unfortunately I’ve not been given much advice since having the op and we don’t have our check ups until 8 weeks after.
    I did manage to speak briefly to one consultant on one of my return visits with a complication…..I came away with the knowledge that I wouldn’t be able to lift heavy weights, run, do anything that puts pressure on my stomach or rebound again! Well rebounding is my business so I’m going to have to retrain in something…..but that, running and weights have been my life for years! Since having to stop I’ve liked on the weight….and the consultant told me I needed to lose weight to improve the chance of success for this op as the extra tummy weight will put pressure on it? I’m so depressed not being able to do all the things I used to and not being able to shift this weight as heavy weights and rebounding are the only things that have every helped me lose. But…..she didn’t tell me what I can do to exercise to help lose it?
    Would step aerobics for a new job be suitable if I wasn’t jumping on and off the step? Is a cross trainer and an exercise bike at home suitable for helping with weight loss? I know I can walk but not always easy or possible with a toddler and the weather.
    Sorry for all the questions….just don’t know what to do anymore xx

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Carly
      I understand your concerns – many women say exactly the same thing, this is a really common problem women face. First of all its important to remember that when it comes to weight management, exercise is not the deciding factor. It really comes down to what goes into your mouth. Yes some types of exercise can help but diet is the key. Weight training is very possible post pelvic organ prolapse surgery and I outline complete weights programs and appropriate fitness exercises in the Prolapse Exercises book and both exercise DVD’s. An exercise bike is ideal and/or cross trainer, just limit your upper body involvement. Step isn’t your best option, rather low impact aerobics or water based exercise are preferable. In terms of retraining perhaps you might think about antenatal classes for women/exercise ball fitness or spin classes – it’s tricky as I don’t know your history. I hope this gives you a place to start and I suggest you read and self educate as much as possible as this is a lifelong management situation for you. All the best

  4. I had bladder repair surgery 5 days ago. All went very well and I have had very slight discomfort mainly when sitting. I did not require the use of prescription pain meds. I have always walked a lot. 4 to 5 miles a day. I feel better walking right now than sitting. I started walking the day I came home, because it felt good. I am now walking in short increments about 2.5 to 3 miles a day. Is that too much? I feel good when walking, but don’t want to do something to cause complications in my recovery. Am I walking too much?

  5. Hi, I had a vagina vault collapse and had surgery 4 months ago, I had the mesh by keyhole, would I be able to use the leg master full body exerciser, it’s an exercise where you push your legs out sideways and in, to tone the inside of your thighs and bottom, and helps with the toning of the pelvic floor muscles. thank you xxx

  6. Hello. Is it possible to eventually start running again after Prolapse surgery for a rectocele and cystocele?

  7. your book. 6 weeks post op 2nd prolapse surgery. Vaginal failed as soon as I went back to work as a nurse after 9months. This one was using the DaVinci robot and a sling. I never intend to return to working full time again as a nurse. Surgeon said lower vaginal vault is very weak. I have the Kegal 8 ultra and the American Apex stimulators for strength. Will either one be safe at maybe 6months post op?

  8. Hi Im in my 5th recovery weak after pelvic organ prolapse operation. I can drive after the 6th week but what exercise can I do . Ive received no future physio consultation appointment or paperwork. I enjoyed my keep fit with weights, dancing, bowling and riding my horse. Where do I start .? Help!

  9. If you did do things to mess up the tissue healing in the first 6 weeks can the dr stitch you again outside your vagina where you stretched the tissue accidentally ? Thanks

    • Just ordered your book. I’m 10 days post vaginal, bladder and bowel repair. I sat on a lumpy dressing gown and it’s now sore between my anus and vagina where there are a few External stitches. It looks liked they’ve just sort of dissolved. Can I have done any serious damage? Worried….. thanks so much

  10. Jacqueline says

    I have just ad a bowel an vaginal prolapse done but through the vagina with stitches I am a hairdresser partime an I had it done a week ago wen cud I go bac to work is two weeks off enough as I feel ok

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Jacqueline you will be healing for 3 months so long hours standing initially will not be helpful for good healing. Try to suit where you can. Your doctor will advise you when you can return to work – all the best

  11. I had robotic sling surgery in July 8,2019 and wanted to do other exercises besides walking my daily mile. Please let me know what is safe

  12. I’m on my third prolapse surgery, this time with a female surgeon that gave me the sling surgery and after 2 1/2 months I feel great. (I also had the hysterectomy on my second surgery. I had bad prolapse)I’m very active even though I’m turning 70 this month. I walk around my circle of homes for 1 mile but I feel ready to do some low impact exercises without hurting or damaging my sling. Please let me know what is safe. I know squats and abdominals are out. I know swimming and cycling is ok but I want to go back to my local gym. Thank you in advance.

  13. Can i hoover after a repair how long it’s been 6 werks

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Joan
      Your surgeon will need to advise you on this according to the type of surgery you’ve had and your recovery. Just check at your post op appointment. This information may help you when you return to housework too. All the best for yur recovery

  14. Christine says

    I had a bladder prolapse repair 9 weeks ago and was wondering if I could resume cycling again, also what are the safest pelvic floor exercises to use.

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Christine
      Cycling is a good low impact exercise – especially starting out with a stationary bike keeping resistance low. Make sure you have your surgeon’s approval to return to general exercise before returning to general exercise. This video on pelvic floor exercises after hysterectomy also applies to pelvic floor exercises after prolapse surgery should help you get started using very gentle contractions initially usually lying down progressing to upright positions over time. I hope this helps!

      • I am an avid crossfitter at 47 years old and 6 weeks post OP vaginal prolapse, bladder sling, hysterectomy. I have started back with rowing, biking, some upper body work. I feel great! What are your thoughts, I can’t imagine not squatting or doing kettlebells. I love to lift but realize I can’t lift heavy. Crossfit is the only program I have ever stuck with and I love it.

      • That’s great news! I just had a rectocele repair (a week ago) and can’t wait to go back to the gym (but I WIL wait :) ). I fully understand being very careful during the first months (3-4), but after let’s say 6 months, do you think women who had a rectocele repair will be able to go back to full activity? Of course, avoiding lifting excessive weight. I am very worried now after watching one of your videos talking about the ab-exercises NOT to do. Seems like we can’t do any ab exercise whatsoever anymore… :,-(

        • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

          Hi Kenia

          Again this depends on how well your pelvic floor is functioning, you really want this repair to succeed and last as long as possible. Bowel management if also very important for you too.

      • Ha! Also the biking part. I used to go to work during the Spring and Summer here (I live in New England, US, VERY cold during the Winter). About 54km roundtrip. I.Just.Love.It. It may take a few months, but can one resume this kind of exercise?

        • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

          Biking? yes most likely and better on the flat surfaces too.

          54km round trip? something you need to determine with your specialist or Physiotherapist according to your pelvic floor support and the surgery you had too.

          All the best Kenia

  15. I had been very active gym goer, zumba, dancing. Just need some help in knowing when I can get back doing lite activities
    I had prolaspe surgery in the anal area way over due sonce 2014
    I asked doctor when I could get back on a bike, but they said 4 weeks recovery time with a person with my life style Im guessing
    Very anxious to get back just rushing Im guessing because Im so active before surgery thanks

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Susan
      This is something your surgeon will advise you on at your post surgical appointment. Different doctors have different protocols and this can also depend on other factors such as the type of surgery. Best to take a list of questions with you when you return to see him/her to help you know exactly what you can and can’t do. All the best

  16. Hi Michelle
    I have had a pelvic floor prolapse repair surgery in mid November.
    I am a beach volleyball player and I am wondering when I can return to trainings and playing ?
    It’s been almost 16 weeks since my surgery .
    Also how about playing basketball with my children at weekends ?

    Thank you

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Melanie
      You sound really active which is great. Melanie it really depends on how well you’ve healed, any complications along with how well your pelvic floor is now working to support your surgical repair. Unfortunately many women don’t realise that their repair can be vulnerable with high impact exercises such as jumping, particularly if their pelvic floor muscles aren’t working well. I suggest that women returning to exercise see a Pelvic Floor Physio before doing so to make sure that they are safe to do so, and to know their limitations as every woman is different based on their individual presentation. I hope this helps you a little, wish I could be more specific for you but hate to risk an adverse outcome, all the best

  17. Hi,
    I have just had repair of a urocele, enterocele and rectocele and am in first week of recovery.
    I will be following all your suggestions on this wonderfully informative site, however can you advise me on the use of pessarries to act as support during exercise, work and walking. The reason I ask this, is
    A I am menopausal
    B I work as a nurse so am on my feet….a lot
    C I do a lot of trekking…so my backpacks often weigh 12-15kgs
    Do you think using pessarries eg the ring, would help provide support and prevent reprolapse.
    I asked my gynaecologist but she said she has never had anyone use pessarries after repair unless they had reprolapsed. Would appreciate any feedback.
    Thankyou again for this amazing site.

    • Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Christine
      This is a really good question. I can only find research comparing prolapse surgery versus pessary and no prospective trials using a pessary after prolapse surgery. I don’t think it would be possible to even run such a trial. I’ll ask around and see what I can find out on this issue. I do see your concerns related to work and lifestyle and obviously pelvic floor exercises will be the first priority for prevention. I will be back in touch

    • I agree with your surgeon why use a pessary? I hated mine and it slipped down and back into colon this was before surgery. I opted for the sling and I’m being real careful not to lift heavy stuff or do CROSSFIT like some women here.

  18. I have had surgery for prolapse repair twice and last time had hysterectomy
    I have thought about learning golf
    Advice would be appreciated
    Many thanks

    • Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Julie
      Golf involves low impact and therefore the walking part is appropriate. I would be inclined to keep the games to 9 holes rather than 18 to avoid the prolonged standing and walking as I understand that 18 holes is a lengthy game. As for the golfing action I’m no expert and don’t know the force of the swing when playing long shots on the pelvic floor – I imagine that a slow steady swing would be less forceful than a hard fast swing? I would also consider the strength of your pelvic floor and maximize this with pelvic exercises prior to commencing. Wish I could help you more on this issue Julie!

  19. I have found your guidance on safe stomach exercises for both Zumba and Pilates very helpful.

    Do you have any guidance for AquaFit? My local leisure centre offers two types of classes – one in the deep end and one in the shallow end. One exercise last week had us curling our legs up (i.e. not touching the bottom of the pool) whilst we rolled backwards and forwards on the spot.


    • Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Isobel
      Aquafit is tricky as other factors influence the impact as well such as the depth of the pool. I usually advise the principle to reduce the impact of exercises like jogging in the pool by keeping these exercises for when the water is at chest level rather than below. Just take care with exercises that involve strong abdominal contractions like jumping and bringing your knees to your chest (sometimes called bunny tucks). Some of the arm resistance exercises using floats can also involve strong outer abdominal contractions so be mindful,of these exercises too. Deep water cycling exercises should feel quite comfortable – bing one knee at a time to your chest never both. Hope this helps you enjoy! Cheers

  20. I had an abdominal hysterectomy 2 weeks and 6 days ago and am still using your safe method for getting in and out of bed as a precaution but when can I just sit up and lie strait back in bed like normal? I am recovering well. I still have swelling should I wait until the swelling goes away? My fitness is good.

    • Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Kesai

      My apologies for the delayed reply. Rowing onto your side and lifting sideways out of bed is actually the safest technique to use for moving in and out of bed long term. It avoids pressure on your back and your pelvic floor. I use this technique every day. Hope you’re recovering well cheers Michelle