Prolapse Surgery – Tips for Prolapse Surgery Recovery and Success

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 Prolapse surgery diet

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 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.


Carol Archer is a Women’s Health Fitness Coach, Willows Health and Lifestyle Centre, Toowoomba Australia

prolapse exercises

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.

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  1. christine rogers says

    This is all such vital information. I am due to have a rectocele and cystocele repair, but am of two minds as to whether I could manage without? It is a worry that it might recur again and important that we know everything to do to prevent this happening. Thank you Michelle for giving the information, seemingly unavailable in so many places.

  2. I am so glad I found this site. I had a repair of both a very bad cyctocele and rectocele. Both were actually protruding outside my vagina before surgery. My doctor told both me and my husband that I would be able to return to normal activities the day after surgery. Just not lift anything over 20 lbs for six weeks. I tried to return to normal activities a few days after surgery (longer than my doctor recommended) and have ended up back in alot of pain and lying in bed most of the day. If I hadn’t read your web page I would still be wondering why I am having “so much trouble”. Now I know this is just normal recovery and that I tried to do too much too soon. Thanks so much for helping me to feel “normal” again.

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Glad to help you out Julia, take the time you need to recover – it really can vary from woman to woman, and if you are concerned see your doctor for review.
      Wishing you well for your future recovery

  3. Patricia says

    Is it safe to return to exercise on toning tables, please?  And, how soon after Prolapse surgery should I consider this, please?

  4. Thanks for the tips on recovery.  I had surgery 8 weeks ago now and am still not feeling well, I have been feeling frustrated (even though I read both of the books)  I expected to get similar advice from my surgeon here in the U.S , but I really was not given any advice except not to lift anything over 10 pounds for 6 weeks.  They give a 1 week and 6 week check up and that is all. I was told I could go back to all previous exercise and activity at 6 weeks!  I am just gratefull that I found your site and did read your book or I would just be in the dark.  I am seeing my gastroenterologist because of my bowel problems with gas and bloating and constipation.  (I have celiac disease so I had called him about my bowel problems to see if he had any advice) I know I went back to work too soon, but the good thing is that I am just half days.  I guess it is just good to know that it will really take 12 months to get back to normal.  I watched the video on emptying your bowels, but still find it hard to do the technique.  As far as I know they do not have any women specialist in this area.  My surgeon has a nurse practioner, but she did not know anything about modifying exercises for pelvic prolapse.  The nurse practioner is who you see after surgery for the follow up appointments. 
    Thank you for your work,

    • Re Celiac diease, prolapse surgery and bowel movements

      Hi Debra

      Thanks so much for your comment. I think you raise a great topic about the issue of Celiac disease and prolapse. Yes great idea to see your gastroenterologist regarding your bloating. Bloating and passing wind repeatedly or straining to do so undoubtedly increases pressure on the pelvic floor. I do hope you get some good advice on this.

      The video technique for bowel emptying without straining can be a challenge and takes quite a bit of practice to perfect. It also relies on having appropriate stool consistency for emptying. If the stool is too hard, then it can be difficult to initiate bowel movements and when the stool is too soft it can be challenging to completely empty without straining. The pelvic floor strength and support is also involved in the process of emptying the bowels. If your specialist can assist you with good stool consistency this will undoubtedly be helpful, in addition to avoiding exacerbations associated with your celiac disease.

      In Australia some pelvic floor physiotherapists do specialise in bowel management and the pelvic floor, and bowel management is also part of post graduate physiotherapy study in continence and women’s health. It would be interesting to hear from readers in the US who may be able to provide some more information about this for women living in the States.
      Best of luck for your recovery

  5. Thank you so much for your tips on prolapse recovery.  I had  surgery for a prolapsed bladder 9 months ago, after 6 weeks I thought I could get back into my daily tasks and fitness routine, after 3 months I had some unusual bleeding for which the Dr's could not find why.  Thinking back now I should have not been so egar to do things and taken it easy.  I started doing some more yoga poses just the other day but have found even those simple poses have put pressure in the area that doesn't need it.  I was so pleased I got your email this morning and read it takes 12 months before your body recovers from the surgery – you are so right. 
    Many thanks, Sandy

  6. Thanks you for this article, it is very timely for me.  Only last week I was thinking that I am picking up my youngest child less and less and it was time to ramp up the pelvic floor exercises and start the process for prolapse surgery.
    I'd like to think I'll run a marathon again one day – just running again would be great, but I guess the reality is that I probably won't run.  Thanks for pointing out the facts – now I can start getting my body and my head ready for surgery.
    Kind Regards, Natalie

    • Hi Natalie
      Thanks so much for your reply, so glad that this article has helped you to start to think about your prolapse surgery preparation.
      Best of luck