Is your Prolapse Dragging you Down? Beating Prolapse Anxiety

Prolapse anxietyAre your suffering from prolapse anxiety? 

My good friend Sue just phoned me in tears, she had her first prolapse surgery late last year.

She’d just been to see her gynaecologist who confirmed that 3 months of coughing with bronchitis had caused a repeat prolapse.

Now she needs another prolapse repair. She’s devastated that her days of half marathons and intense gym exercises are over and anxious about her  upcoming surgery.

Sue’s call reminded me of the emotional impact of prolapse and how this often goes largely unrecognised by others.

Most women like Sue are simply left to battle on and cope as best they can.


“Anxious, distressed, ashamed, fearful, sexually unattractive, embarrassed, guilty, frustrated, damaged goods, the beginning of the end”

… just some of the feelings women describe upon receiving a prolapse diagnosis.


Prolapse treatment tends to focus on fixing the physical problem despite the fact that receiving a prolapse diagnosis can have life changing impact on a woman’s emotional wellness.

Prolapse diagnosis often occurs when a woman is grappling with menopause, teenage kids, ageing parents, weight gain, wrinkles – being told your insides are in effect falling out can feel like the last straw.

Why does the emotional impact of pelvic prolapse barely rate a mention? This is quite astounding when it’s estimated that almost 1 in 2 women who’ve had a vaginal delivery will have some degree of prolapse in their lifetime.

What about the women like Sue who bravely endure recurrent prolapse and repeat prolapse surgery? prolapse emotions

It can be devastating to learn that your prolapse has returned.

It means enduring the prolapse surgery routine again :

  • the apprehension
  • physical discomfort
  • time off work
  • rehabilitation
  • expense
  • exercise restrictions
  • social isolation during recovery
  • fear of weight gain
  • anxiety about repeat prolapse …

A woman’s vagina is a most personal, intimate area of her body – intimately tied with her sense of womanhood, femininity and sexuality.

It’s the birth passage, the area of her first intimate experience that part of her body that evokes the most intense emotions.

And yet the prolapse diagnosis is usually delivered after a clinical invasive and somewhat embarrassing internal examination that leaves the woman feeling vulnerable.

Some women are then informed that they have a prolapse that requires surgery and that they’ll never be able to lift anything heavy for the rest of their life.

This is definitely not intended as criticism of doctor’s doing their vital work to help women! Rather this is a recognition of the emotional impact that prolapse diagnosis can have and a suggestion that some women may routinely benefit from a system that offers emotional support at this vulnerable time of their lives.

How to Deal With Prolapse Anxiety?

There are a number of ways to manage the emotional impact of your prolapse diagnosis or impending prolapse surgery.

Here are some of my thoughts, I’d love to hear your suggestions too … seek support

  • Know you’re not alone
  • Discuss your feelings with someone you trust
  • Enlist support from trusted friends and family
  • Learn about your prolapse to better understand your condition, your prognosis and better self manage
  • Stay active and exercise regularly with pelvic floor friendly exercises for prolapse
  • Practice stress relieving techniques that help you ease stress and anxiety; deep breathing, mindfulness, meditation, relaxation CD whatever works best for you
  • Seek professional support of practitioners with the skills to help you better self manage your prolapse – a counselor or psychologist can help you manage your emotions, a pelvic floor physiotherapist can help you manage many of your practical challenges or your caring doctor.
  • Educate others about your prolapse – your prolapse and prolapse surgery are not visible to others who are unlikely to be aware of your feelings of discomfort, lifting restrictions or physical limitations on your daily activities*
  • Be kind to yourself – you didn’t set out to cause a prolapse; prolapse risks like having babies, hormonal changes with menopause are normal life events. You can’t be expected to have foreseen that your heavy lifting job, your hysterectomy 20 years ago or unknowingly straining to empty your bowels with constipation could contribute to prolapse. Unfortunately many of us don’t learn about prolapse risk factors until it’s too late through no fault of our own.

*Discussing prolapse with other women in your family may help them too – the tendency towards prolapse can be inherited from one generation to the next.

Some women prefer to keep their prolapse intensely private and deal with their prolapse on their own and this approach needs to be respected too – everyone is different and has their own coping strategy.

I am sending this article to Sue to acknowledge her feelings and support her in dealing with her prolapse anxiety.

I hope that in acknowledging this issue, this article helps you manage your prolapse in some small way too.

If you’d like to send a message of support or helpful strategy to Sue or another women like Sue reading this article please feel most welcome to comment below.

Prolapse Exercises Book

Professional exercise guidance for women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery seeking to exercise safely, reduce the risk of prolapse worsening and improve prolapse support.

prolapse exercises

Learn how to:

  • Avoid unsafe exercises
  • Choose pelvic floor safe exercises
  • Relieve prolapse symptoms
  • Reduce your risk of prolapse worsening
  • Improve prolapse support
  • Increase your strength and fitness
  • Recover after prolapse surgery
  • Return to exercise safely
  • Strengthen your core
  • Lose weight

    Learn More

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michelle Kenway

Michelle Kenway is an Australian Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist. Michelle lectures to health professionals and promotes community health through her writing, radio segments, online exercise videos and community presentations. She holds dual post graduate physiotherapy qualifications in women’s health and exercise.

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We Welcome Your Comments


  1. Thank you for this article. I have just suffered a prolapse and these are exactly the emotions I have been feeling, with no acknowledgement of these feelings from my doctor. It helps to know I’m not alone.

  2. Thank you so much for this. I had a hysterectomy due to rectocele and 2 large fibroids. I could feel my cervix just inside my vagina. My rectocele was stage 3 by the time it was detected. I wish I would have seen this before surgery. I was seeing a PT for pelvic and back therapy (I also have prolapsed spinal disks) She was having me do squats etc. ! It probably made it worse. Anyway now I’m 7 wpo and I feel a bulge anteriorly like I may have cystocele now. I’m devastated. I’ve been doing gentle slow kegels building up over the last 2 weeks after Doctors ok. Still working on them but having a lot of pain to the left in my vagina and down my leg. Thank you for making me feel like I’m not alone in this, and that I haven’t aged before my time. The anxiety I have about this is very real. Thank you for all your great advice. I’m going to email you about the video.

  3. Im frustrated because ive been given the advice to do pfe for the last 20 years i have been assesed and have been told i am doing them correctly amd my grip was quite strong but this hasnt improved my continence nor relieved my symptoms from a large enterocele

  4. Hi Michelle, I am 36 year old mum who has been diagnosed with stage 2 Cystocele after 2 months postpartum with my 2nd child. I read your article and it really helped me with my prolapse anxiety as I was devestated and in depression.

    I am working with pelvic floor physiotherapist in order to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles and I can see some improvement in terms of symptoms I was experiencing from last 6 weeks or so.
    I have been told by gynaecologists that in my situation I will recover if I strengthen my pelvic floor exercises and when I return to my periods due to release of estrogen hormones and very unlikely requires surgery however I cannot see single article on net indicating that if you are relatively young, no overweight issue if you stick to regular pelvic floor excercises and return your periods you can reverse Cystocele prolapse.

    I am looking for positive recovery stories from women with mild to moderate prolapse with conservative methods, will you be able to shed some lights on this matter?

    Your response will be much appreciated!


    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Staffy
      Thank you for your message, I’m sorry to hear about what you’ve been going through. The research is very clear on this issue; pelvic floor rehab. can reduce prolapse symptoms and improve the prolapse condition in mild-moderate cases of prolapse. I know of many women who have been waiting for prolapse surgery and have undergone PF rehab in the interim only to find that they no longer require surgery. This is not always the case however it can occur. We don’t know the natural history of prolapse (how quickly it worsens or progresses) as this is something that can’t be easily researched and indeed every woman is different. Consideration of pessary is something I also like to mention in this type of discussion especially in young women with prolapse to help them stay active and there is a theory that pelvic floor training with pessary may also help to reverse the prolapse condition. You may like to read this recent post on prolapse coping too, I hope it helps. All the best to you

  5. I feel everyone’s pain. I have prolasped bladder and having surgery in a day or two. I use to get anxious and nervous, my legs would ache and my back. Never did I relate them but it is true. I was getting so depressed cause I was always complaining indont feel good. Mentally or physically for over a year. Will let you know after surgery.

  6. thank you everyone, thank you michelle I am so grateful to have you in my life and in my support circle. to anyone suffering self love is such a powerful healer. I have cystocele and urethrocele and when I don’t use michelle’s video on correct position for opening bowels it affects my prolapse. avoiding constipation has been my best friend and also hitching my bladder and bowel back into place after I go to the toilet. I learned this from master mantak chia he uses inner smile meditation and i smile to my pelvis and it loves it (see you tube) also I suffer in silence and call it my ‘falling out feeling’ its hard to believe my son is 15 and I have only in the last 3 years found a way to heal my pelvic floor, doing incorrect abdominal exercises exacerbated my prolapsing for many years.

  7. Thank you Michelle. I wore a pessary comfortably for 10 years before having surgery, just increasing the size a few times. I led a very active lifestyle but was not careful enough about lifting, and so the cystocele dropped to stage 3 and a pessary did not seem to be able to keep it up anymore. I also used to do a lot of yoga, and I think perhaps the standing poses overstretch that area too much too.
    If I had found your site earlier and practiced all the exercises daily, perhaps I may never have needed to have an operation. I am grateful for your work, and your kindness in reaching out to women around the world. For those of you who have prolapse, take heart and know that with these exercises and knowledge and a support pessary, you can live a happy normal life!

  8. Michelle,
    Do you know if a woman can wear a pessary again, if prolapse comes back after hysterectomy, cystocele repair surgery with vaginal vault lift? Anything would be better than surgery again. I am post surgery and have been dealing with that anxiety about it coming back, with my job being very physical.

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Mary
      Yes many women can use a support pessary following prolapse surgery and hysterectomy. Some women can have difficulty if the vaginal vault has been shortened during hysterectomy however the doctor/physiotherapist fitting the pessary will be able to assess your suitability for fitting. Agreed with a physical job the risk of recurrent prolapse will likely be increased.

  9. hello from NZ – I have had a pessary fitted for going on 3 months now and am having no problem with it – there is a slight tendency for the bulge to sneak past the ring a bit if I have been on my feet for a while. All the research I have done says 3 monthly checks – I had it put in and was told 6 months till it would be removed cleaned and replaced. They also say I should have had a check after 2 weeks to make sure everything was still alright – – I am going back next week and will ask for a check on it – I would like to be able to remove and clean it myself and will ask about this – its so hard doing everything by feel – I am still using otravin cream inserted twice a week but am getting to the end of the second tube – nothing has been said about getting more so I will ask about that too. Very little information given – I find I have to ask about everything – -This is the only site I have found that actually deals with our problem and brings it all out in the open – cheers Elcie

  10. hi Michelle,
    Im suffering from prolapse, only noticed now during my second pregnancy (37 weeks). Although I’m sure it was probably there following my first vaginal delivery.
    No bladder issues, just heaviness or feeling like something is there.
    Im terrified of making things worse with this next delivery, and seriously considering a c-section. My ob will do what I want.
    What are your thoughts on if a c-section will prevent this getting any worse, I am so scared that it will affect my ability to look after my 2 year old and newborn baby, let alone get back to an active life.
    any thoughts would be appreciated!

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Kay

      Yes this is one of those FAQ’s with prolapse and pregnancy without a doubt. I conpletely understand your fears of prolapse worsening and the unknowns with c/section.

      Here are some facts (you probably already know):
      * Most pelvic floor damage occurs during first vaginal delivery
      * C/section places the mother to be at risk V’s vaginal delivery where risk is decreased
      * Vaginal delivery places the baby at more risk than c/section
      * Pelvic floor dysfunction increases with increasing parity (i.e. having more babies increases the likelihood of PF dysfunction)

      I really believe this is an individual decision that no one else can decide for you. Unfortunately no one can predict the long-term outcome of this next delivery.

      One difficulty for you is having not experienced a c/section it’s hard for you to know how you’ll cope with your 2 year old so it may help you to speak with other women you know who’ve had c/section with young children. I understand you feeling scared about c/section – often it’s the not knowing that often causes this so find out as much as you can. I can tell you that most women return to an active life remarkably quickly after c/section.

      Let me know how you go Kay and all the best to you

  11. Hi Michelle , I have had my prolapse for 13 years after my second child which is nearly 14. On the 9th of Febuary 2015 I decided enough is enough and booked in to have my prolapse fixed up . I am a very active person doing three days a week will a personal trainer and running nearly every morning . I love to workout but knowing what I know now just reading your website there are things I should of stop doing like push-ups sit ups burpees squats squat jumps all the things I have done full on since starting with trainer for five years . ,I have also done lots of. Fun runs and two half marathon which wouldn’t of helped my situation . I love doing things like that will I be able to do again or not , really scared doing things as don’t want to stuff up my surgery .
    I have just started to heal so I know it’s a long while before I should be thinking like this . Thankyou so much for your website it has let me know so much more than any other website x

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Christine
      Thank you for sharing your experiences and for taking the time to write.
      I understand your love of exercise and the difficulty knowing how to stay really active and make your prolapse surgery a success long-term. You’ll need to work with your personal trainer and really make sure that he/she understands your limits. After prolapse surgery the trainer needs to come up with insightful alternatives to your previous exercises that avoid pelvic floor strain but continue to challenge you long-term.

      Wishing you all the best for your recovery, health & fitness

  12. Hi Michelle,

    I’m so glad you’ve raised the issue of the emotional effect of having a prolapse. I discovered mine about 6 months ago-an anterior (bladder) prolapse. My GP told me I should avoid being on my feet for lengthy periods, stop going for long walks & avoid heavy lifting & put my feet up when possible. Compared with what others have said here, that doesn’t sound too bad, especially as I’m in my 50s and my children are all now adults. I’ve always been quite fit though and had no serious health problems so having to take such great care and think twice about some of the everyday activities I used to do like moving furniture to spring clean & decorate or dig the garden, for example, made me feel I’d lost a part of who I am. It was devastating.

    I AM very lucky though. My husband has been fantastic-not at all squeamish about it and he came with me to see the consultant. I’m in the UK and have been impressed with the service I got, (disregarding the unsympathetic start I got from my GP-who is female and a similar age to me!) Once I asked for a referral, I was seen by my NHS consultant within about 3 weeks. He told me he doubts I’ll need surgery and I began seeing a women’s physiotherapist later the same week! I see her once a month & she guided me on pelvic floor exercise & is monitoring my progress. So far, so good.

    Prior to this, Michelle, your website was the only place I’d found any positive attitude to dealing with prolapse and for that I thank you greatly. You gave me hope and confidence that my prolapse could be managed and possibly improve.

    I am astounded that so many young women are suffering with prolapse-I had no idea! It’s such a debilitating thing for someone with young children to live with & I really feel for the young woman on here who said she feels she has been robbed of some of the experiences other girls her age have.

    I find it hard to believe that there wasn’t even an information leaflet given to me by my GP. I certainly wasn’t in the right frame of mind to ask meaningful questions when I got my diagnosis and I could have done with something to refer to as I came to terms with it. This website was where I found the information I needed.

    Very best of luck to Louise in your work on pelvic floor safe exercise. Personally I feel my symptoms less when I keep up with some moderate exercise rather than sitting resting. Michelle, your book is very helpful in that respect too.

    It’s hard to believe there’s so much ignorance about prolapse. There MUST be a way to raise awareness for all women BEFORE they develop the condition.

    Continued success to you, Michelle. You are helping so many people.

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Mary

      Thanks so much for your feedback. It sounds as though you are managing things really well and moving forward with your life in a positive manner. I think the point you make about your symptoms feeling better when you do some moderate exercise is very important for women to hear. Sometimes women become too frightened to do anything and their general health and well being suffer as a result. It also makes sense that when the whole body is strong, less demand is placed on the pelvic floor with everyday activities.

      Keep up your good work and great to hear your positive attitude Mary

      Best wishes

  13. HI – I am in NZ and have a cystocele – – now they say the uterus is prolapsing too – I am having a pessary fitted – Portex brand – looks like a babies teething ring – I am so hoping that it will help me – sick of this constant dragging feeling – I am in my mid 70’s and have had this problem for 7 years but just recently it has got worse so its time to try something – – I am so hoping this pessary will help me. cheers Elcie

  14. Hi Michelle
    I just wanted to know if anyone else really struggles with everyday household activities. To cut a long and painful story down. After many visits to the doctor and being told that there was nothing wrong with me. I was eventually diagnosed with a bladder prolaspe. I went for a repair and they did a surprise hysterectomy. Both surgeries they did very badly. Then I went for a bowel prolaspe repair. I have never recovered. I’ve been suffering for 8 years. It was so great to read some of the comments from people. For the first time I realise I am not alone.
    I struggle so much. I can’t exercise the same as I use too, gardening , playing with my children, even walking or standing up to long makes my bladder prolaspse drag down and cause back ache. I vaccumed and mopped yesterday and it was too much. Now I have to rest for a few days to allow my muscles to recover. What can I do? I am a housewife who finds cleaning too much. I Feel like a failure.
    I have been going to a physiotherapist for over a year. I am improving but it’s only baby steps. I am only 40 but I am really frightened of the future.
    Kind regards Sharon

    • Hi Sharon, I,m so sorry life is so difficult for you at such a young age. I,m 63 and my problems started 5 years ago, I had bladder and bowel repair 2013 and aug 2014 had same again and hysterectomy, my bowel is bulgiing again and I really don,t want another op..
      I struggle with all the normal jobs I used to do . I manage by doing a little at a time, then rest and try again. Sometimes I push myself too far and like you feel so rotten for 2 or 3 days it’s not worth it. My husband is a great help and is very understanding but he must get fed up of my “women’s problems”

      Take your time Sharon and listen to your body, keep doing your safe exercises. I thought I had some deadly disease when I felt the 1st prolapse I was so frightened but thanks to Michelle’s website I know i am not alone and I am learning so much about prolapse and how to help myself.

      Take care x

  15. Hi Louise (and Michelle!). Was very interested to read your comments about the lack of help in the UK. I am 54 and developed a bladder prolapse through lifting my elderly father when he was bed bound at home 5 years ago. At the time I was told to go and do Kegels but I was not given any info and with other major challenges in life at the time, I didn’t think much more about it particularly as I was in a relationship and was ‘exercising’ regularly. Having been made redundant from a very busy job at the end of November 2014, I decided to change tack and look at training as a personal trainer for the 50 plus market. I had recently lost weight having embarked on a health and exercise regime and felt fantastic and really excited about changing my career. Then my appointment came through at the hospital and the examination experience was unpleasant and the info provided unclear and frankly feeble. As a result I was left confused and upset and have now abandoned my plans to train and am looking at anything and everything I can find to help me work on my bladder prolapse as I do not want surgery. I am a marketing & communications specialist and applaud your determination to share information about this condition. I have not had a child and was unaware that a prolapse was a risk for any woman. Nor that being a bit overweight, sedentary, menopausal etc. all play a part. Now single and with enforced time on my hands I have felt low about my situation but with support from my personal trainer and now finding Michelle’s site I am back on track! I had already thought about putting together an info sheet for women in my position and intend to present the idea to my GP and the specialist physio (when I finally get an appointment!!) and the Consultant as a proposal that they need to take up as it should be the absolute minimum that women receive during a consultation. I would love to hear more about your classes and the positive support you obviously provide to women you work with. Your connections with the Consultant and NHS sound brilliant and just what is needed across the country to raise this subject as something EVERY woman should know about. I am based in London and it would be great to connect. Good luck with it all and thanks Michelle – we need a UK equivalent of you – do you come to the UK or do you have affiliations with other specialists here? Very best wishes Sarah

  16. Hi Michelle,
    I’ve stumbled across your post after doing a Google search on prolapse. I am becoming increasingly aware that my worsening prolapse is going to require some sort of intervention either a pessary or surgery and the thought terrifies me. I am feeling so many of the emotions that you listed and am feeling that the two things that I have recently discovered and that have given me so much pleasure recently will have to go. After many years of needing to provide a lot of emotional and physical support for my two children one who has had a lot of health care problems and has a significant disability I found myself six moths ago in a place where I was able to do a couple of things just for myself and I have loved it! I stumbled across mountain bike riding which I enjoy on so many levels; being in nature, the physical exercise, the adrenalin rush and challenge of overcoming manageable fears has given me so much more than just exercising to be healthy. I have also in the past six months started a part time job as a carer for an amazing lady who does require assistance with being pushed in a wheel chair and lifting heavy objects (groceries, heavy library bag etc). I now fear that these two activities are actually exacerbating my symptoms and am also acutely aware that I will always be a carer to my son. I have so many questions and fears. It appears from what I have read that it is possible to strengthen the pelvic floor while wearing a pessary? Would the use of a pessary allow me to continue my current lifestyle? Is it too late for pelvic floor exercises and are they of any benefit? I also have many questions regarding surgery. My heart goes out to Sue I just hope that she has found even a little comfort in knowing she is not on her own there are so many of us facing disappointment and frustration some in very similar situations. I hope she can continue to stay strong.
    Thank you for your article. Right now I am feeling overwhelmed in facing a lifestyle change that I don’t know if I can even sustain, I wish I could just cross my legs and pretend it was all in my head .. unfortunately it’s not :(


  17. Thank you Michelle for having the most informative POP website on the web. I find something useful for my health joirney every time i get your newsletter. I am 39 and will be using your website forever. That is just how my life is now. i have had 3 major surgeries (a full hysterectomy and 2x sacrocolpopexy’s – the first one failed and i am now 2wks post op from the second sacro) and two minor ones (ant/post repairs) in the past 18 months due to severe bladder, rectum and uterine prolapses. I have an 18mth old and 4.5 yo and my main aim in the next 6 months is to be able to walk my eldest to kinder, which is just around the corner. I returned to work for a year after bub no. 2 but have decided to take 2015 off to try and recover fully. I had to take a lot of time off work and my husband, girls amd i are all exhausted from the rollercoaster that has been the past 18mths of surgeries and mo ths pf recovery.
    After a lot of frustration, sadness, soul searching and self reflection, i have decided to surround myself with good and helpful information sources to help me through my journey. Your website is a huge part of that. It is just one step, one week, one month at a time and eventually i will be able to get on with my (heavily modified) life. I look forward to your newsletters to remind me of how i can take care of myself!

  18. Hi Michelle, I,ve just received the inside out DVD and book. I,ve exercised with the DVD this morning and found it very easy to follow which is great. I had cystiocele and rectocele repair in sept 2013 and a repeat repair and hysterectomy just 11months later. Its been a very emotional time for me as the bowel bulge is back and I really don,t want another op.

    My husband was so supportive, and I was very lucky to have help with housework ect. So i suppose my pelvic floor must be very weak for this to happen again in spite of doing everything right. Do you think it’s possible for a grade 1 or 2 rectocele could be reduced if I continue with the exercises .

  19. Hi Michelle,

    Your website is wonderful! I am in the U.S.and haven’t come across a site so helpful as yours.
    I had a total vaginal hysterectomy, anterior and posterior prolapse repair, and a sling made from my fascia in January 2013. I am concerned about recurrence because I have noticed a bulge. I am babysitting for my 8 month old grand-daughter and worry about lifting her now. How much weight do think consider too much? I am 5’4” and weigh 130 lbs. Would I be a candidate for a pessary? I so appreciate your feedback.
    Thank you,

  20. Hi Michelle,
    I just want to say a big thank you for the time and effort you put in to providing not only this site and videos but replying to comments.

    Like previous comments (Kayla, KP, Elisha) I have been devastated by the diagnosis of a stage 1 cystocele following the recent birth of my 2nd child (18 months apart). I had mentioned my concerns to my GP at my 6 week check only to be brushed off with a comment of “little bit of slackness” and no recommendations for physio or exercise. I have taken it upon myself to seek a women’s physio and after my 2nd appointment have been referred to a gynae to discuss pessary and further investigations. My hopes of being a temporary postpartum state have been crushed.

    I would love to see an article on postpartum prolapse and how to manage this. What’s normal, what isn’t and what is likely to improve. I’m sure there are many, many women facing the resposibilities of caring for families and households with the fear of a worsening prolapse looming overhead- wrestling my tantruming toddler makes me cringe for a whole other reason now! These outcomes and fears seem to be justified (often laughed off) with comments of being normal changes after babies….

    Thanks again

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi FR
      I think you have done an amazing job being so proactive in seeking assistance with your prolapse diagnosis. Agreed this is a big problem for women like yourself who are trying to deal the physical and emotional stress of young children as well as dealing with a prolapse diagnosis that can fill you with uncertainty about progression, future childbearing and being active with your children.

      I am really glad you’ve suggested this, thanks so much – I have been thinking to do an article on postnatal prolapse for quite some time so this is a good push in the right direction! I’ll get this online in the very near future.

      Meanwhile keep up your exercises FR and take the time you can to stay active and well.

      Best wishes & thankyou

  21. My heart sunk reading about Sue! My Prolapse surgery was a year ago September and my biggest fear is Sue’s nightmare and nightmare it is. I am so grateful for Michelle’s website as I felt so isolated. When your inside’s are falling out……needless to say it is devastating. I don’t understand why women are still whispering about this almost like we should be ashamed. Sue I will pray for your recovery. I almost think….. and I don’t know because I’m not in your shoes but if I experience prolapse again I might consider the Pessary? I have had constant pressure since my surgery as though something is pushing down through. I did not want mesh because of all the controversy so the Surgeons took my walls pulled them together and I believe the wall is pushing down. I am so thankful that this is the only health issue I have had and will be 60 in August however,I have found this condition to be almost debilitating. I am the type of person if I talk about things it helps….. woman just don’t want to discuss this condition and I believe that makes it all the more crippling. I had excellent Surgeons but I felt like I was the last man standing after the surgery.When I read about teen’s, and women in the 20’s, 30’s my heart breaks and I shed a tear for them! I feel so blessed to have happened upon Michelle point in fact I would have still been depressed and afraid to go on with my life. I was very active and I’m still active and have made changes to my exercise routine (thanks to Michelle) but regardless I am still afraid of everything I go to lift, walking on ice and falling, carrying in groceries, picking up babies or toddlers, making love, etc. etc. Even after the surgery I don’t feel as sexual as I once did the emotional impact this has had on my husband and my relationship is terrible. Why is there not help and advice for women with this condition? Thanks again to Michelle for articles and sharing personal events about women with this condition and surgery.

    Peg USA

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Peg

      Thank you for your beautiful comments – I am sure that in sharing your story, your feelings especially your fears and the impact your prolapse surgery has had on your life will help many other ladies who read your words. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this and putting so much honesty into your words.

      I sincerely wish you all the best in managing your health and only wish I could give you a big hug.

      Best wishes

  22. This is a fantastic article. I am and have been a fitness instructor for the last 27years and a pilates instructor for 9 years. 18 months ago I had surgery for a posterior prolapse thei surgery went well but the emotional scaring from the surgery and rehab have really taken a toll on my mental and physical health. I have had times when I wished I had never had the surgery and the impact on my relationship with my husband has been tremendous. I am still under gowing councilling.
    There should be more help and advice available for women who have to under go this type of surgery.
    Thank you for this article and recognising the effects of this type of condition and surgery.
    Deena WA

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Deena

      Exercise is your life – you obviously love it and the way it helps you to stay healthy and well. I understand the impact that you are describing – thank you so much for sharing this. Many women say to me that they benefit just as much if not more from other women’s comments than the articles themselves. I really do believe this issue is usually swept under the carpet, women are operated on and then left to fend for themselves. Some are fortunate enough to have the support of an understanding supportive Physiotherapist however counselling is not our role. There is definitely a place for much more emotional support for women after gynae surgery without a doubt.

      I hope you feel empowered to continue to exercise Deena – sometimes it’s simply a matter of changing your approach to how you exercise so that you can continue. There are some excellent Pelvic Floor Physios in WA too (see the exercise provider list on this site).

      All the best to you in your healing

  23. Hi All
    Shed a tear reading all this we are all in a difficult situation and I have found like others Micheles website was the first to really acknowledge my problem, 2 years down the line given up nursing, tennis, need the kids to help me do the shopping but emotionally starting to whats the word “resurrect” myself.
    Only yesterday on the phone to a pal in Germany going through the same situation with the same lack of compassion or urgency from the medical system, being told to slow down, lie down, rest! as busy mothers of children it beggers belief. Not sure who is meant to get things done!!
    Noticed in many Victorian novels the mothers ie Mrs Bennet from P and P were often found to be lying on the ottoman all day me thinks this is not a new problem.
    Uk and obviously Germany not great on pelvic floor issues, I had a wonderful P.F. physio who got me as far as she could but she is just one for a massive area. shame funding can’t be directed to getting her some help.
    Thank you Michele and a truly heartfelt hug to all of you out there
    Vanessa UK

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Vanessa

      Now that I think about it Mrs Bennett was always lying around – you’re absolutely right!

      My mother in law has told me about the days her mother in law needed her to go to the chemist and buy pessary supports for her. If you think about the large families and the home birthing practices that were routine, some women must have lived with terrible prolapse problems. Unfortunately in some countries (e.g. Africa) women continue to live with severe prolapse problems without access to medical assistance – their lives must be extremely challenging indeed.

      Thanks for your your comment Vanessa, next time I read Pride & Prejudice I’ll do so with a new perspective!

      All the best

  24. Hi, i’m just 18 and have been diagnosed with a prolapse uterus. I am literally heartbroken and now far too scared to enter into a relationship. I feel like i’ve been robbed of the things other people my age get to experience.

  25. Thank-you very much Michelle, I too am facing the possibility of more prolapse surgery and am devastated by it. I have just managed to get fit and feeling reasonably well since the last lot and here we go again.

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Sue

      That must be so challenging – it’s a real kick on the teeth when you’ve just got to where you want to be.

      If we’re trying to hunt for positives there are at least two things in your favor that I can think of – you are in good shape to face surgery and get the best outcome possible and you have a good idea about the whole process and rehab. which has to help your overall recovery.

      Wishing you strength as you go through this again Sue

    • I had surgery for prolapsed bladder and bowel sept 2013 and in aug this year had to have same op plus hysterectomy. I am now 16 weeks post op and am devastated to find my bowel prolapse is back. I am 63 and was hoping to get my life back and rid of that awful bulge. My surgeon says he can operate again in the future but I don,t know what to do.
      I,ve just discovered this site so thank you , at least I know I,m not alone with this problem. Good luck to all you ladies.

  26. Michelle, Thank you for talking about the emotional issues involved in having yet another prolapse. I had my first prolapse surgery 24 years ago. My second surgery was July 7th of this year. At 9 weeks post op I started having symptoms again — I was told last week that I have another one beside the repair week she just did. Needless to say, I am feeling pretty lost and overwhelmed right now. I am being fitted for a pessary on Friday to see if we can hold off surgery for a while. She also mentioned PF Physical Therapy.

    Thank you for caring for us. It means a lot at a time when no one understands.

  27. Excellent article, Michelle! It describes exactly what I went through emotionally after my surgery a year and a half ago. I think most of us women just quietly suffer through the emotional part. I have always been physically active and being told I wouldn’t be able to lift my grandchildren anymore or do my usual high intensity exercises anymore, was heartbreaking. I still have a hard time with it occasionally, but I have to tell you that your videos and sound advice have been such a blessing to me! I am able to exercise safely and feel like I am taking good care of my body. I have been able to be confident that I am exercising correctly and safely. This article on the emotional part of prolapse will help women to know that what they are going through is normal, and that there is help and support available, and that they are not alone. Thank you so much for all you do!

  28. Hi Michelle
    I wish I had found your site a long time ago I’ve been battling for a long time with my doctors ,I’ve had problems with constipation and for the last 7 years I’ve been treated for IBS, I kept going back to doctors telling him things weren’t right down there ended up having camera top and bottom then a lap op only to be told nothing wrong ,gave up for 2 years then my husband said just keep going back and get it sorted at 43 i felt horrid!! Then i went to see doctor and was told you might have prolapse ? when doctor at hospital said yes you have bowel,virginal and womb prolapse i sat in car and cried finally someone believed me i wasn’t mad !! Im 11 weeks post op had all prolapses repaired they didn’t take my womb away , its not been easy 1 infection after another I’m hoping to go back to work in next couple of weeks the moral of my story is ladies don’t give up if you think something isn’t right then keep going back till someone listens no one knows your body like you do ……. good luck
    thank you for all your advice and videos michelle they have kept me sane xx

    sue xx

  29. I have postpartum prolapse and in the beginning never have days seemed so dark and without hope. I felt cheated of the simple pleasures of enjoying my new baby and looking after my toddler and even enjoying mothers groups because I couldnt face the lifting of my baby and gear to get there. I envisaged quickly getting back to my high level of fitness and instead I’ve spent most of the last 3 months on the couch because the heavy feeling is so bad and is exacerbated by walking. I am improving and starting to swim and ride a stationary bike but I’m terrified of getting a cough and cold and of going back to work which requires a lot of standing- would a Pessary help? And despite doing pelvic floor exercise religiously 3 times a day they’re not strengthening. Any ideas Michelle? I’m on a long waiting list for a tens machine. Having said all this though, the days that I feel better are increasing in number and I embrace the new knowledge that I have of pelvic floor safe exercises which I will practice for the rest of my life and will share with my girlfriends and my daughter. Sue, I hope you get to the day where you don’t think about your prolapse and the simple things again make you happy xoxx

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi KP
      You know I really don’t understand why more women in your situation aren’t offered a pessary postpartum. There are so many forces working against new mums with prolapse – pelvic floor weakness exacerbated by fatigue, weight gain, lifting, breast feeding (hormonal changes that delay full return to pelvic floor strength). It just makes sense to take the load off the pelvic floor with a pessary. It doesn’t weaken the pelvic floor muscles and helps to make the new mum feel more ‘normal’ goodness knows you are sealing with enough with a new baby let alone trying to deal with a prolapse as well. I’m not sure whether you’ve read this pessary article KP?

      Let me know how you go if you have time

      All the best

      • Hi Michelle,
        Thanks so much for your reply. I will get a Pessary in 6 weeks after I have finished with the tens machine. Do you know how long relaxin takes to leave your body after you finish breastfeeding and what impact this is likely to have on recovery? In my mind oxytocin released from breastfeeding is great for healing but the reduction of relaxin and return to normal estrogen will also make things better when I stop. Also the longer things stay stretched the less likely they are to fully recover so although I can’t find any studies I am thinking that stopping breastfeeding earlier at the 4-6 month mark might help me in the long run even though I adore it with my little man. Although perhaps controversial I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks, kate

        • Michelle Kenway says

          Hi KP
          This is a great question – I have searched academic articles to find a really accurate answer for you on how long it takes for relaxin to leave the body after breast feeding without success. Online I have read that relaxin stays in the system for 4-6 months after breast feeding ceases however I can’t shed any light on the levels of relaxin during this time or attest to the accuracy of these claims.

          I also found this article interesting in that it says that relaxin facilitates tissue remodelling and describes the association between relaxin concentrations during pregnancy and prolapse. I also read some interesting information that talks about relaxin hormone being present in breast milk however the function of this was not described.

          I am simply trying to shed some light on this to help you make an informed decision as this is one only you can make. I can’t see any evidence to state that stopping breast feeding improves prolapse or pelvic floor function. Wish I could tell you more KP I hope this helps a little in your decision making.

          Best wishes

          • I was in the same predicament with the decision to stop nursing or continue. I was told by some that stopping nursing would help improve my prolapse, but deep down I felt that it wouldn’t make a difference. I’m glad I continued nursing as long as I could because, just as I thought, it didn’t really make a difference, unfortunately. I’m glad I made the decision to continue and not have those guilty/sad feelings of weaning earlier than I wanted. No regrets. :)

          • Wow, thanks so much for your detailed reply Michelle. I wish there were more studies in this area. At 4 months postpartum my prolapse is improving and I have gone from a grade 2 cystocoele to a grade 1 urethrocoele. But I seem to have stopped improving. There is so much conflicting advice too about pessaries and whether they hinder recovery and muscle function during pelvic exercise – what are your thoughts on this? I’d just love to wake up and not have to think about prolapse.

            • Michelle Kenway says

              Hi KP
              I think that pessaries are sometimes underutilized for prolapse management especially postpartum when the new mum can really benefit from a pessary when fatigues, breastfeeding, arrying more abdominal body weight, doing alot of lifting … and there is no evidence to suggest it weakens the pelvic floor in fact the reverse might be true as it may help pelvic floor strengthening by lifting the prolapse higher off the pelvic floor muscles.

              Here’s a whole lot more information about pessaries for prolapse than I can write in a short reply – don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions after reading this article KP.

              Best wishes

          • Thanks Michelle. I have lots of questions that I hope you don’t mind answering. Your advise is so invaluable. So what would your advice be for wearing a Pessary? Would you wear it all the time and indefinitely? My pelvic floor is getting stronger but would it make the healing ligaments more dependent on support rather than healing? Do you advise lots of walking with the Pessary in or any other exercise to help? My biggest fear is it getting worse as I spend more time on my feet as I get back to my life and as I get older. Thanks so much for your help.

            • Michelle Kenway says

              Hi KP
              If anything a pessary helps the ligaments shorten and heal by taking the load off them by lifting the pelvic organs that they normally support – it definitely doesn’t weaken them (ligaments are different to muscles). In terms of general exercises the same pelvic floor friendly principles apply with/without a pessary – what you will notice is less in the way of symptoms and so probably find you can do more as your pelvic floor strengthens. The lovely thing about the pessary is that it can help provide support when you are on your feet so if anything it may slow the rate of worsening however the actual rate of worsening is unknown and in some women it doesn’t occur at all while others deteriorate quickly post menopause and require surgery. It’s a very individual thing. The key is to minimize your risks of prolapse worsening with your pelvic floor exercises and pelvic floor friendly general exercises.

              Hope this helps!

          • Hi Michelle, the good news is that I tried a Pessary. The bad news is I’ve tried both a ring and a cube and I’m not sure if they were the correct size but neither supported my urethrocoele for very long. Would you happen to have any recommendations? Thanks, KP

  30. These posts have reassured me that I am not alone. I have felt uncomfortable, alone and distressed for the last couple of weeks since realising that my uterus is prolapsing after surgery two years ago. It was my bladder causing the problem then. I thought all was going well for me and I don’t understand how this has happened. I haven’t found the courage to visit my doctor yet or speak to my husband.

  31. Dear Michelle. Thank you for your frank and powerful discussion “Is your Prolapse Dragging you Down?” I have depended upon and adhered to information provided by you on your website for the past five years. Your unique, trustworthy, and informative website provides a valuable service to women worldwide which is why I am nominating you as Australia’s “Woman of the Year”.
    MJ from Canada

  32. Thank you Michelle for this article, it has made me realise that I am not the only one suffering with a prolapse. I am only 29 years old and know of no-one else other than my mother who has had this happen. I gave birth to my second son 3 months ago (1st was a c-section) I was intent on having a natural birth and so very excited, but I seriously didn’t think this would happen, it’s not to the point where I need surgery yet thank goodness, but I do feel your pain Sue of not being able to run, etc. I thrive on exercise, it makes me feel really good about myself and I have been wondering for the last 3 months how and what I would do. I purchased a second hand cross trainer while I was pregnant as a safe way to keep fit during the pregnancy and I have been using it every day and it is my saviour! Also, I went for a power walk the other day and it was the next best thing to my beloved jogging, I felt so awesome after it and used muscles I didn’t know I had! One thing that has been bothering me though is that when I finish breastfeeding I would like to start riding horses again and continue on with my dream of being a competitive campdrafter…does anyone know of anyone who has been in this situation or if you can even ride with a prolapse?

    Anyhow Sue and all the ladies out there, I want to say thank you for talking about it as you have certainly helped one little lady here! I could go around feeling sorry for myself (which I have definitely done a bit of!) but life is too short and I am grateful that this is all that is wrong with me, there’s people out there dealing with terminal illness, etc, and I may not be able to do the things I love so very much, but at least I can watch my children grow up and enjoy every other thing around me (even if I have to watch and not participate!) :-)

    Lots of love

    • Kayla, your story is like mine. I had a c-section with my first and was also really excited about my VBAC only to discover prolapse afterwards. Loving bootcamp and high intensity cardio I wish I had been better informed of the potential risks as regardless of my recovery I’m not sure that I would ever risk these forms of exercise again. But I so miss the high that these forms of exercise give not to mention the abs :) wishing you all the best in your recovery and riding.

      • Thank you KP, as much as I would never wish this on anyone it is nice to know you aren’t the only one going through it. I wish I had been better informed as well, it was the last thing I was expecting! Anyhow, I wish you all the best with your recovery as well :)

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Kayla
      I think I need to write a post on prolapse after childbirth – this is not uncommon and I suspect many women sail along not realizing that they have a small prolapse postpartum. I have treated many young women in this same situation and agreed the possibility of having a prolapse after delivery is usually not even a remote possibility for most women. I think this comes as a shock at a very vulnerable time to a new mum.

      Your capacity to ride a horse competitively will ultimately be determined by a number of factors including your prolapse severity and pelvic floor muscle support. You may see that I have suggested the option of a pessary for KP with whom you’ve been corresponding, I would think that the same applies to you as an alternative to investigate. I suspect that main issue with horse riding will be the landing from jumps and slow trot as opposed to fast smoother riding if this makes sense as the impact is the problem for the pelvic floor.

      Does this give you a start?
      Best wishes

      • Hi Michelle,
        Thank you so very much for your reply and yes it definitely did come as a shock! I was expecting to be dealing with the recovery of stitches, etc and lack of sleep with a new baby, not a prolapse! It honestly didn’t enter my mind and a post on prolapse after childbirth would be great :) Until now, I have seriously felt like I was the only one in the world, let alone my age, to have this happen, I’ve asked my friends with new bubs and apparently they are fine, but maybe they could have a small prolapse and not even know.
        And thank you re the information for riding, I am wanting to continue competing in the sport of campdrafting which is where you cut out a cow from the mob and chase it (nearly always at full gallop) around a course, so there won’t be any jumping but it is quite a fast, quick and vigourous sport. I haven’t been given a degree of the severity but my cervix has decended some and also the anterior wall I think it’s called (bladder). I feel as though it has improved a bit since giving birth and I haven’t finished breastfeeding yet either, so I guess there’s still hope there that it will improve a bit more!
        My gyno said I won’t need surgery yet, but will more than likely need it later in life :/

        Thank you again, it is greatly appreciated :)

        • Michelle Kenway says

          Wow that sounds so physically challenging Kayla. I am inclined to think that pulling on the rope firmly is a possible issue – do you need to use a large amount of upper body strength to pull and restrain the cow? WE have had some discussion on horse riding on site for example these horse riding comments

          The key really will be getting your pelvic floor muscles functioning s well as possible, keeping your whole body strong, avoiding straining with work/activity and ?pessary investigation if you feel inclined.


          • Thank you again Michelle, that has been very helpful :) I don’t actually go near the cow except for chasing it on the horse, but it does certainly work every muscle in your body! I will continue to browse your sight and do your exercises and will definitely do some investigation into the pessary.

            You have helped put my mind at rest and words cannot say how grateful I am!

            Thank you :)

  33. Hi Sue, I am 44 yrs old, mum of 5, and just recently I have been diagnosed with a grade 3 prolapse.

    I would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to Michelle Kenway. I have been teaching fitness in the UK for 25 years. 10 years ago I started to realize the bigger issue of pelvic floor in women. It is a massive problem over here. So many young mums and women of all ages are dealing with stress /urge incontinence and prolapse, it is incredible. Yet so little information is available, the only treatment available is surgery when its all too late. With this in view in 2004 I started taking pelvic floor workshops at our health club. Since then, I have learned so much more with my own research and speaking to women individually I now run courses. After the course is finished we have a follow up class 12 weeks on, and I invite my ladies to ring,msg,email ANYTIME throughout or after the course is finished. I still teach various styles of exercise in the studio, but I cannot say how much passion I have with regards to trying to get the message out to women with regards to looking after pelvic floor.
    You will realize just how I felt when I was told I am a candidate for surgery. The emotional feelings Michelle wrote….I had them all. It affects everything. The only god damn positive I can take from this is I will understand entirely my clients and will only gain even more knowledge along the way!!!!!!!! agh!!!!!! Doesn’t stop me having an angry moment tho!!!!!!
    I have been prescribed some form of HRT (no blood test????) and in 3 months if I would like surgery I can then be put on the waiting list. A 10 min app. just doesn’t feel sufficient to answer my questions. I am looking now at going privately to try and get the best surgeon/treatment I can to help myself the best way I can. Right now the question in my head is ‘where do I begin?’. I have just been looking a consultants and their references………….
    As yourself, I love exercise. I have always been meticulous with technique and I’m frustrated I am in this position.
    Before my diagnosis I felt the fitness industry really is requiring a workout class that works the body to a sweat but is pelvic floor friendly. This is possible, so that is my next project. It will be a few months in the making.
    Back to Michelle….I recommend her website and teaching to all my ladies, and I think she is wonderful. If only more physios//instructors taught with such precision and passion as her. Thank you again for the newsletters and information.
    Sue……..Bless you hon, thinking of you, and I understand.
    Louise xxxx

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Louise
      Thanks so much for sharing your story – I have been told that pelvic floor physiotherapy is challenging to access in the UK, is this correct? Then there’s the added challenge of finding a specialist who inspires confidence and trust. I am not sure how the NHS works but is does sound difficult at times.

      I understand your frustration, it can be so very challenging for young very active women to cope with severe prolapse issues. It’s great that you can see that your experience and challenges help your clients, this will no doubt help you to understand their needs and concerns and provide them with a really great service to help their lives – even more so when you are able to move on from your current situation which no doubt seems like an eternity.

      I hope that you can get some progress soon Louise, stay in touch when you can
      Best wishes

      • Hi Michelle, thank you for your reply, it was lovely to get a comment back. I have since since a surgeon. Between us we havn’t decided on surgery yet. All 3 areas have prolapsed. Although my pelvic floor is strong the ligaments have over stretched. On a plus point, he was VERY interested in the pelvic floor course I teach and would like to support it within the private and NHS sector. As he said….there is nothing out there for women in the UK to educate, strengthen and advise on exercise. Also the local maternity hospital is interested. Sooooo…..lets wait and see. I am excited because I have worked hours,so hard and passionately on this subject for little financial gain. I just am compelled to get the message across. One of the hardest challenges is getting women to be proactive!!!!

        • Michelle Kenway says

          Hi Louise

          This sounds like positive news for you – it seems that you are doing wonderful things for the women you work with by helping them to exercise and feel good about themselves.

          All the best in your quest to spread the good word on pelvic floor friendly exercise for women.


  34. Sue your story is my story. I had prolapse surgery 11 months ago. A very comprehensive surgery. Here it is October and already the bulge is back…sob. I have tried to be SO careful and yet here I am. It was 2 weeks ago last year my urogyn told me I would need this grueling surgery. I can’t believe I am in this situation again. It has affected everyone in my family. My kids remember the day after Christmas I had to go in to the hospital and that I was down for 12 weeks. My husband surely has been affected. We celebrated our 20 year anniversary yesterday. I thought for sure last January that by October these problems would be a thing of the past..yet here we are again. This does feel like it will be with me forever. I know I am not alone. I wish I knew 18 years ago the things I know now. Thank you michelle for giving me advice, comfort, and education on how to deal with the trial that prolapse is.

  35. I understand your pain. I haven’t had surgery and day by day I deal with this extreme discomfort. I have a one year old and I can’t resist holding him and carrying him around smothering him with kisses and hugs. By the end of the day I am in pain and sometimes bleeding and protruding so far out it is scary. I wish I had options but I don’t because I have no health insurance. I wish I could run and jump and exercise like before but I am slowly realizing I will probably never be able to do those things again. I am sad, embarrassed, in pain and frustrated. I will never understand the beauty of children that we bring into the world only to be punished with this and possibly not able to enjoy them as much as possible because our pain is so deep (emotionally and physically). I am sorry you are hurting Sue and I do understand. I send my love, prayers and well wishes to you Sue. Thank you for the article.

  36. Thanks Michelle
    Another beautiful article and one that brings out in the open something that should be discussed more. As always you give us hope and confidence to get through these dark days.
    I wish Sue all the best, stay strong.