Recently on social media, I came across a post in which a woman, having given birth to her third child 2 years ago was now experiencing a prolapsed uterus and as a result a ‘low cervix’ as she described.
Like many women she was at a bit of a loss as to why this was happening at such a young age, especially as her previous two births had been no problem, the woman was in need of advice, and so she was reaching out for ideas on how to correct this issue with her uterus.
I often see posts like this through my networks on social media, and it always leaves me feeling quite empathetic towards the women experiencing these uncomfortable and disheartening pelvic health challenges.
But in this particular instance what I found to be equally disheartening was the lack of information, education, and awareness of what a woman can do herself to treat prolapse from the comfort of her own home, naturally.
During pregnancy, the uterus stretches tremendously to accommodate and nurture the unborn child. After approximately 9 months, and the birth of the infant, the uterus that is approximately the size of a watermelon in the late stages of pregnancy, is within a matter of hours, left virtually empty.
The uterus then begins the process of shrinking back down to its normal size of a pear. After giving birth, in the first few months, women are at a huge increased risk of experiencing prolapse because of this shrinking and repositioning process.
Sadly, in some severe cases, surgery is advised by doctors. However, it is questionable if it is always needed. Being a women’s holistic pelvic health care professional, I can’t help but feel that with the ramifications of surgery, holistic and natural remedies should always be the first option. However, the trouble is, not much is known about the many practices that women can do to both correct prolapses and obtain and maintain an optimally healthy pelvis throughout the many seasons of their lives from a young mother to a post-menopausal grandmother.
While some women have had success with hysterectomy, many also experience a host of other problems further on, post-surgery, such as pelvic organ prolapse (POP), including rectocele or cystocele.
The way I like to describe the potential risks with hysterectomy is if you imagine a large full bowl of apples and then you reach in and take one out of the centre. What will happen is the rest of the apples around will succumb to the natural gravitational forces and collapse into the space of the apple that has now been taken away.
Now imagine that the fruit bowl is, in fact, your pelvic bowl and the apple represents the organ that ‘needs’ to be removed.
Another surgery used to treat prolapse is transvaginal mesh, this surgery is one of the most common surgical options for pelvic organ prolapse. Dismally, this type of surgery is currently irreversible, and although many doctors are in favor of this treatment, there have been many reports of women who have undergone the surgery that continue to experience ongoing severe and ‘debilitating’ pain as a result.
So, what can women do to support and influence the natural and correct repositioning of their uterus, mostly from the comfort of their own homes?
While some of the practices below may strike you as being a little unusual, they beat the idea of going under the knife! Though the practices listed below have a specific aim at women that have just given birth, all of these practices can be used for uterine and some other types of prolapse too.
After giving birth, one of the biggest things of the mind of many women is our figure! Many new mums are itching to get to the gym and start working on getting rid of the excess weight gained throughout the pregnancy, BUT this is the last thing your pelvis needs in its attempt to heal.
After giving birth, it is recommended that women refrain from as much movement as possible and rest their body, preferably in bed for the first 3 weeks after birth. Although this may sound quite unreasonable and a bit far-fetched in our fast-paced world that values flat tummies and productivity over a healthy pelvis and constructive rest, it is do-able! Especially if Dad is off work and on hand, willing and able to actively support the Mum in her healing process.
If this is not an option, at least try to rest as much as possible and avoid any unnecessary strenuous movement that uses abdominal muscles.
For the times in that 3 week period that the new mother does need to move around, to the shower or toilet, etc, it is advisable that she crawls from A to B on her hands and knees. By crawling in this way, the uterus is not subjected to the same downward gravitational pull that it would be if the woman was standing straight and walking normally.
Another constructive resting position that encourages the uterus to return to a correct position within the pelvis is to lay face down toward the floor on a 45-degree angle. This can be done by laying on a play slide, by propping an ironing board on the sofa or by other DIY means.
Whatever props you use, the main principle is that you have a 45-degree angle to lay upon, belly down, with your face closest toward the floor. This uses gravity to pull the uterus back up into the vaginal canal and on the angle toward the anterior wall where it is supposed to be.
It is recommended to rest in this position for anywhere up to around 20 minutes, this can frequently be done throughout the day, and it is better to do it more frequently than for longer stints.
It is important to take caution when leaving this position, as you may remember from being a kid, laying upside down sends blood to the head. The best way to leave this position is to slide downward and lay flat on the floor for a minute or so before getting up slowly.
A Faja is a Mexican abdominal cotton wrap that was designed with many wonderful benefits in mind. After birth, the wrap should be used for at least 3 weeks to 3 months or as long as necessary. In my opinion, the longer, the better, especially if the woman is at an extra increased risk of prolapse.
The Faja should be worn throughout the day and removed at night, and it comes in many beautiful designs, patterns, and colors. Some benefits of the Faja are: supports uterus to return to pre-pregnancy size sooner, may assist in relief from pain after birth, reduces postpartum internal organ swelling, offers additional protection to the womb area, encourages organs to return to the correct position, provides postural support during breastfeeding, supports the pelvic floor, assists in the correction of diastasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles), offers the woman a feeling of support and protection to the pelvic region.
While all other practices listed in this article can be done from your home, this is the only treatment where you may have to leave the house, but it is well and truly worth it.
Maya Abdominal Therapy, also known as Arvigo Therapy is a highly regarded ancient non-invasive modality that treats prolapse as well as fertility challenges, menstrual issues, digestive ailments and a lot more.
Arvigo therapy also has a lot to offer men too in terms of relieving prostate swelling, helping to alleviate varicose veins, premature ejaculation, and some impotence problems. This wonderful therapy uses a series of abdominal massage techniques to manipulate the organs back into correct positioning.
For years women have been bombarded with the false idea of having a ‘tight vagina’ and being told to “Do your Kegels“! But wait, now we are being told not to do our kegels.
Are you confused yet? Let me explain, doctors, gynaecologists, and physiotherapists are now telling women that we should not be doing Kegels (pelvic floor exercises) without a form of feedback or resistance that comes from an object of opposing force, let me break that down further.
While kegels are an upward/inward force, we need something of weight to pull up against. Just as you wouldn’t go to the gym and lift weights without the weights themselves as this would be ineffective. There are many different products on the market designed for pelvic floor exercise however, many of them are plastic which contain xenoestrogens as well as other toxic chemicals, many of which have not had the long term effects tested upon. Being a woman who values organic and natural ways of living as well as practices and products that have withstood the test of time, I like to use the Jade Egg when doing my exercises.
The Jade Egg is another practice that has been used since ancient times in China where the King’s Queen and his Concubines would use the Jade Egg to tone their pelvic floor and increase vaginal dexterity in order to ‘please’ the King. While I am not in favor of the idea of women toning the pelvic floor solely to ‘please’ another, I am an advocate of using this practice to increase vaginal dexterity, toning of the muscles, relieving menstrual pain, releasing tension and trauma, assisting with incontinence issues, increasing sensitivity and orgasmic potential and supporting the natural correction of pelvic organ prolapse.
While there is a plethora of benefits that can result from practicing the Jade Egg teachings, after giving birth, women should be resting their pelvis and refrain from doing kegels for the first 3 months after the birth. To add to the confusion of what we ‘should’ be doing with our pelvic floor muscles, another thing to consider is that in terms of vaginal dexterity there is a large difference between a tight vs toned vagina.
Unfortunately, there is little awareness about the increasing number of women experiencing chronic pelvic tension.
Along with the shoulders and jaw, the pelvis in one of the areas that we physically show stress and tension, therefore when it comes to kegels, it’s not just about clenching, but learning how to relax the vast amount of muscles in this area.
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Overall, a woman’s pelvis is subject to many physiological changes throughout her life from puberty and her first period, into mother-hood and later into menopause.
During those main stages, many health challenges can appear so it is important to take care of this incredible part of our body and ensure its ability for natural transformation is supported the best we can, this will ensure seamless transitions into each ‘season’ of our lives as women.
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Inpost Image Credit: shutterstock.com