Your approach to your prolapse surgery recovery, can set you up for a lifetime of positive habits, and enhanced health and wellbeing … and help you avoid having to do it all again!
View your surgery as the first step towards a healthy body, as the perfect opportunity to learn about safe exercise for you. This is a time to make positive changes to your lifestyle, and to explore the amazing mind-body connection … this is all about you.
This prolapse surgery recovery article is by Carol Archer, Women’s Health Fitness Coach at Willows Health and Lifestyle Centre, Toowoomba Australia. Carol is a highly qualified women’s exercise instructor and she has established a unique and innovative safe exercise program for women. Carol writes her tips here for surviving prolapse surgery and ensuring against recurrent prolapse. We extend Carol our sincere thanks for her wonderful contributions to pelvic floor safe exercise for women.
Read on now for Carol’s great tips for prolapse surgery preparation and recovery…
Prolapse Surgery Recovery Tips
1. Read your preoperative information
Your medical specialist will have given you information – ensure that you read it.
2. Consult a women’s health physiotherapist
During the weeks or months preceding your surgery (and then post-surgery, as well) one of the most beneficial things you can do is to consult a women’s health physiotherapist … and to learn about your pelvic floor. Practice the targeted exercises taught to you by your women’s health physio, and become very aware of the effects of everyday tasks, workplace activities, and exercise on your pelvic floor. Ask your physio how to make your everyday activity, work tasks and exercise, pelvic floor safe. Now is the time to begin making changes.
3. Eat for good health not weight loss
Beware! It is not the time to increase your exercise intensity or challenge, in order to address such goals as weight loss or getting fit. Rather, it is timely to make goals for health. A healthy diet with adequate fibre and fluid is essential for bladder and bowel health, necessary for optimal surgery recovery and health for life. Consult a dietician for advice.
4. Establish a good bowel management routine
Toilet matters: Absolutely no straining. I suggest – get a foot stool for the toilet, and begin using it now. More reading on how to empty your bowels using pelvic floor safe technique.
5. Employ pelvic floor safe exercise practices
When you are exercising take notice of your symptoms, and stop doing the exercises that aggravate or worsen them. Use this time to find pelvic floor safe exercise options that you like, and plan on continuing. Follow your women’s health physio’s advice, without exception. Switch your mind from ‘exercise for fitness’ to ‘exercise for health’. Before you head into the gym or exercise class this week, ask your women’s health physio for guidance. Enquire at your fitness centre whether there is a fitness coach able to provide a pelvic floor, and prolapse, safe exercise program for you now … and following your recovery post-surgery.
6. Be proactive and learn about pelvic prolapse surgery
There are two books that were must-reads for me post-surgery; Inside Out by Michelle Kenway and Judith Goh, and Pelvic Floor Recovery by Sue Croft. I also found Michelle’s website Pelvic Exercises.com.au invaluable; her articles and videos provided me with fantastic, practical information and guidance in my post-surgery recovery and return to exercise. The need for post-surgery rest will be your perfect opportunity to read, and absorb it all.
Tips for Prolapse Surgery Recovery
1. There is no rush … following surgery
Commit now to 12 weeks of post-surgery recovery. Get used to the idea that you will be resting often, and asking for help. You will definitely not be lifting or carrying heavy loads, and not doing the simplest everyday tasks. You may need to put some plans in place – organise your family to take over home tasks, ask friends for help, and arrange light duties at work. Allow others to help, to provide your body with an optimal recovery – it takes time.
The bottom line is that you must:
- Carefully protect your surgical repair for at least 12 weeks.
- Do the pelvic floor exercises, as prescribed by your women’s health physio, every day when you have medical permission to commence.
- Rest every afternoon, with your feet up.
- Make a gradual return to activity, work and exercise over 12 months.
- Continue the positive habits you will have developed, for life.
- Accept that walking, with good posture, is the perfect exercise for you right now.
2. Post-operative prolapse recovery rules
- The first rule is …. rest often.
- Your surgeon will advise you about when to begin gentle pelvic floor exercises, following surgery.
- Your women’s health physio will give you guidance, and specially prescribed pelvic floor exercises.
- Ensure that you keep all of your post-surgery appointments to check your progress … and ask questions. You need to understand the process of recovery, and protection of your surgical repair, for life.
- Once you have had your 12 week check -up, resist the temptation to throw yourself back into everyday life and exercise.
3. Commit to taking 12 months to get back to general exercise and fitness
For most women walking is the perfect exercise to begin your path back to fitness. When your women’s health physio and specialist clear you for exercise after prolapse surgery choose mind-body exercise such as Tai Chi or low impact dancing, and gentle fitball, stationary bike or pool-based exercise. Check that your class instructor is proficient in providing pelvic floor safe exercise. Remember that general gym programs and fitness classes, including pilates and yoga, are not suitable for women immediately post-surgery. Ensure that your exercise choices are pelvic floor safe and appropriate for you.
4. Adopt a ‘cup half full’ attitude
By now, you are probably thinking that this all means you have to ‘give up’ your favourite activities and exercise. Stop that thought! Look for the opportunities to explore a new path. Take your first steps on that path now. Here is step 1 to start you on your way.
5. Work on your posture
Post-surgery, good posture is your best friend!! Sitting, standing and moving with good posture in absolutely everything you do, will encourage pelvic floor and gentle abdominal activation. Practice pre-surgery, and be diligent post-surgery. You will marvel at this new, taller, stronger, empowered you.
Trust the process … and take your time.
Carol’s pelvic floor safe exercise philosophy…
I believe that in order to pursue the active, healthy lifestyle we choose, safe exercise especially designed for women is vital. In my role as Women’s Health Fitness Coach at Willows Health and Lifestyle Centre, I coordinate our ‘Safe Exercise for Women’ Project. At Willows we have a commitment to pelvic floor safe exercise, and to developing safe exercise pathways that empower women to achieve their health, fitness and wellbeing goals. I am personally committed to continuing my learning about, and promoting the importance of, pelvic floor safe exercise for all women, and I am a dedicated advocate of a training certificate in women’s exercise, for fitness professionals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Carol Archer
Carol Archer is a Women’s Health Fitness Coach, Willows Health and Lifestyle Centre, Toowoomba Australia
For more information about exercise after prolapse surgery – Prolapse Exercises is a complete exercise guide for women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery seeking to exercise safely and protect their pelvic floor.