Exercising

Body: 

Sorry, this might be a bit lengthy.
I am working hard to accept my cystocele and rectocele and to follow all of Christine's bodywork, yoga, and posture recommendations. I actually have about a 45 minute routine that I practice every morning.
Just for a little background, I have felt a bulge, like a little water balloon at the back of my vagina, especially after exercising, for at least 4-5 years. It kind of freaked me out and I did some internet searching and thought perhaps I had some kind of pelvic prolapse. My GP dismissed my concern that something was not right in my vaginal area. I even asked her to examine me while I was standing and she told me my anatomy was 'normal'. That was several years ago, and yes, I understand that POP is actually normal, but she did not see any prolapse or acknowledge my concerns. So, last year I described my concerns and asked my gyno to check my pelvic floor for prolapse. She examined me and said that for a woman of my age (65), who has had multiple children, I was in great shape. I returned to her this year and asked again, and she saw a cystocele and a small rectocele. She told me that I could just forget they were there and go on about my life as usual. She reassured me that my insides would not fall out. She said surgery was not a good option, but she didn't make any other suggestions except to perhaps try estrace cream.
I also talked with her about a recurrent condition I have had of intense burning in my bladder, frequent urination, and vaginal pain. I had, of course, gone to my GP about this issue, but I never tested positive for a UTI and was never given any suggestions for relief. My gyno suggested that I might have Intersititial Cystitis.
I did some research, read the recently published book, The Interstitial Cystitis Solution by Nicole Cozean, and began working with a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor dysfuntion. She does both internal and external therapy; her exercise recommendations are exactly like Christine's yoga DVDs, and all my IC symptoms have cleared up after only 6 weeks of therapy (6 visits). She does talk about Kegels, but I gave her a copy of Christine's article. She's very interested to learn and open to what I've learned in my research. In my humble opinion, I think POP and IC are related.
So, that was a long intro to get to my question. My POPs are still with me and especially bulgy when I exercise. It doesn't matter which exercise: elliptical, walking, hiking-they all cause my little water balloon to protrude into the back of my vagina and I feel like I'm sitting on an egg. They are very noticeable and uncomfortable when I'm walking or standing up for long periods of time. For the past six weeks I have limited my exercise to my 45-minute 'POP routine' (Christine's yoga and barre routines and stretching), but I know that aerobic exercise of some sort is hugely important for my overall health. I used to get in a least 2-3 miles a day.
Should I just walk/hike anyway? Will it make things worse? I did watch the Whole Woman video where Christine is walking in beautiful New Mexico and I remember that she said walking is fine, but it seems to make me super uncomfortable.

Hi and thanks for the post. There are considerable differences between Christine's teachings, and anything you will learn from a pelvic floor PT. Most of this has to do with posture itself and the whole concept of a pelvic "floor". You barely mention posture in passing, and posture (more than the exercises themselves) is really what counts. If you know how to hold your body, you can exercise, walk, run, and do anything you like. You should go back to the WW work and study those posture elements, and start training your body. Break old habits, start new ones. All the WW-approved exercise in the world isn't going to matter if you are not living in the posture all day long. Have you learned to fire-breathe? Do you practice good toileting position? Know how to bend, lift and carry?

IC is an autoimmune condition, and as such, requires lots of attention to diet and gut health. Avoid sugar and processed foods, eat healthy fats, fermented foods.....a good anti inflammatory diet is essential. Check your vitamin D levels. Check the ingredients in your health/beauty products. - Surviving

Thanks for your reply, Surviving. Yes to all of your questions. I have read and reread all of Christine's books and watched her videos. Yes, I practice the posture from the time I get up every morning. Yes, I know how to do fire-breathing and I do it throughout my day. Yes, I know about and practice her recomended toileting routines and bending and lifting recommendations. I eat a totally plant-based diet (including no sugar), make my own kombucha and sauerkraut, and I am well aware of the importance of vitamin D and the presence of toxic chemicals in health products. The exercise routine I practice is one I learned from a PT here in Florida who was trained by Christine, and I added Christine's exercise recommendations from her book.
My prolapse is still persistently present, more so when I am on my feet. I just want to be able to exercise, i.e., walk a couple of miles a day.

If your walking posture is correct, this can actually improve your symptoms. I found this out for myself. At first, walking seemed to make thing worse. But the more I did it, and the more mindfully I did it, eventually I could feel that feeling of my torso being properly seated over my hips. I found that the longer I walked, the better I felt. Once I did a long hike of several hours duration, and immediately following that, was the most symptom-free I've ever been. - Surviving

Hi Kathleen and Everyone,

I’m so glad you saw Julie in Florida - she teaches the WW work better than I do!

It took me a really long time - two years or so - to figure out what I believe to be natural walking. I injured my knee in the meantime, and it was only through recovering that I learned how to walk anatomically.

However, it’s a little difficult to explain.

The mistake I was making was extending my leg all the way forward and pointing my toes. After my injury, this really didn’t feel good, but heel-strike-first felt worse! I was in a real quandary and had no choice but to keep working with it.

Then one day it all just clicked. I leaned slightly forward and started walking - not by reaching out and pointing my toes - but by bouncing slightly on my forefoot (metatarsals, ball-of-foot). The foot is much flatter that when reaching out with your toes, but you are certainly not walking on all of the sole of your foot.

At first, just to keep it going, I was bouncing slightly with each step. Over just a bit of time it fell into place and has become really and truly natural. I don’t lean forward or bounce when I walk, but there is a trajectory of the body that is elevated forward.

The way I know this is natural is from knowing that forefoot first running, which I’ve been doing for many years now, is natural. Just like with my old posture, I cannot even fathom what that was like. Now, I cannot imagine trying to run heel-strike-first. It would be completely ungainly and uncomfortable.

Forefoot-first walking easily and effortlessly moves into running. Why would humans run one way, and then fall backward onto the heels for a completely different type of forward motion?

Anyway Kathleen, I think you may find this very useful, as there is a forward-trajectory of the pelvic organs too when we walk this way.

At any rate, you are going to have to sort your prolapse out, as you really have no choice. Do several rounds of firebreathing, belly tosses, and pee-off exercises throughout the day. Whatever it takes. The bulge will respond.

Happy walking!

Christine

P.S. From my perspective, IC is a problem with the bladder microbiome, which we restore with regular use of vaginal honey. Julie can tell you more about that.