How much can I lift with prolapse problems or after hysterectomy?
What’s the magic number?
Unfortunately most women receive very little information about safe lifting to help them manage their pelvic floor problems.
Here’s your Physiotherapist guide to learn about:
1. What determines your individual safe lifting weight limit
2. How to reduce your risk of worsening pelvic floor problems with safe lifting
Important Facts About Heavy Lifting & Your Pelvic Floor
Fact 1: Heavy lifting increases the load on your pelvic floor
Fact 2: Heavy lifting increases your risk of internal pelvic floor strain and pelvic floor dysfunction (e.g. prolapse and/or incontinence)
Fact 3: It’s not just the weight of the load you lift that increases internal strain – other lifting factors also come into play
Fact 4: Every woman is different when it comes to safe lifting weight limit – there is no single safe lifting weight for all women!
Why is There No Safe Lifting Weight Limit for all Women?
Many factors determine how much weight your pelvic floor can withstand to avoid pelvic floor descent and strain (shown right).
Internal and external factors determine your individual safe lifting weight limit.
Some ladies are given instructions like “never lift more than 10 kg or 22 lb” after prolapse surgery or hysterectomy. This really doesn’t take into account the other factors that determine safe lifting weight.
When it comes to safe lifting you need to consider more than just a single number to avoid worsening prolapse and other pelvic floor problems.
A. Individual factors that determine your safe lifting weight include:
- Your overall physical strength
- Your pelvic floor strength and functioning
- Your abdominal body fat (surrounding your abdominal organs)
- Your history of pelvic floor surgery (prolapse, incontinence and/or hysterectomy)
- Your surgical procedure
- Your menopausal status
B. External lifting factors that influence your safe lifting weight include:
- How often you lift the load (repetitive lifting increases the risk of strain)
- The height from which you lift (lifting from a low height increases the risk of strain)
- The distance you carry the load
- Your lifting posture and technique
- Movement forces during lifting e.g. lifting a wriggling toddler
- Your ability to grip the weight (influenced by size, shape, handles etc).
You can see the many factors that come into play when it comes to safe lifting weight limits making this a challenging issue for women and health practitioners alike.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Strain with Safe Lifting
Here’s how to stay active and reduce your risk of worsening pelvic floor problems with lifting:
- Avoid heavy lifting
- Avoid repetitive lifting
- Never strain with lifting
- Use good lifting posture
- Use safe lifting techniques
- Maximize your grip before lifting
- Keep your whole body strong with pelvic floor safe strength exercises
- Listen to your body – if you notice symptoms with lifting stop, modify or avoid altogether
- Keep your pelvic floor muscles strong and working well
- Engage your pelvic floor muscles immediately before and during all lifting and carrying
- Manage your abdominal body fat levels to avoid loading your pelvic floor
- Lift from waist height – avoid lifting from below your waist where possible
- Avoid deep squatting if you need to lift off the ground use lunge technique
- Use equipment to move a load rather than carrying e.g. trolley, pram, golf buggy
- Seek assistance with heavy lifting
- Follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding safe lifting weight after a hysterectomy, incontinence or prolapse surgery
Key Points for your Safe Lifting Weight Limit
There is no single safe lifting weight limit for women with or at risk of pelvic floor problems.
Your safe lifting weight is determined my internal and external factors that may increase the load on your pelvic floor with lifting.
Minimize your risk of pelvic floor strain and worsening pelvic floor problems by using these simple safe lifting techniques during your everyday activities.
INSIDE OUT – PELVIC FLOOR SAFE EXERCISES
with Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
Learn how to strengthen your body, stay in great shape and avoid exercises that overload the pelvic floor causing pelvic floor problems.
Inside Out book and DVD is a complete exercise solution for women seeking to exercise safely and protect their pelvic floor.