Prolapsed uterus affects more people over the age of 50 than many imagine. The condition can be mild with no visible symptoms, or can be serious and cause great discomfort.
In either case, you should speak to your doctor about a holistic approach to managing symptoms.
This is likely to include exercises designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles without placing excessive strain on the abdomen. The same approach can be used to help prevent the development of a prolapsed uterus in individuals at risk.
Yoga exercises for prolapsed uterus can be helpful for strengthening the pelvic floor with minimal stress on the body.
This article will explore the best yoga exercises for prolapsed uterus and why they work. It will also share some of the yoga asanas that can exacerbate the problem and should be avoided or modified.
In this article you will learn:
- What is Prolapsed Uterus?
- How Can Yoga Help with a Prolapsed Uterus?
- 4 Yoga Exercises for Prolapsed Uterus
- Yoga Asanas to Avoid or Modify with a Prolapsed Uterus
What Is Prolapsed Uterus?
Prolapsed uterus is when the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments become stretched and weakened and cannot provide adequate support for the uterus. Consequently, the uterus slips downwards and can even protrude slightly out of the vagina.
It often affects older people who have entered menopause and gave birth via vaginal delivery earlier in life. It is more common in people who gave birth later in life, had a traumatic childbirth, or delivered a very large baby.
It can also happen with posterior vaginal prolapse, which is when the tissue between the rectum and the floor of the vagina are weak. This can cause difficult bowel movements.
Symptoms of a prolapsed uterus
In many cases, it presents no symptoms.
But if you have a serious case, it can cause considerable discomfort. For example, a person with a prolapsed uterus might feel tissue pushing out of their vagina and may feel as though they are sitting on a small ball when seated.
They may feel a heavy internal pulling on the pelvis which can also cause lower back pain.
It can cause problems urinating and with bowel movements, and may cause incontinence. Self-consciousness and discomfort can also interfere with a healthy sex life.
Treatment for prolapsed uterus
Medical professionals may suggest treatment such as a pessary, which is a device that inserts into the vagina to support the pelvic organs, or a hysterectomy to remove the uterus completely.
In mild cases, medical professionals will usually recommend lifestyle changes to prevent a prolapsed uterus in women who are at risk and to improve symptoms.
This includes maintaining a healthy weight, keeping hydrated, eating plenty of fiber for regular bowel movements, quitting smoking, and practicing pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles. This is where yoga comes in.
How Can Yoga Exercises for Prolapsed Uterus Help?
Yoga is a highly effective practice for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles without placing excessive pressure on the abdominal muscles, which can push the uterus further down.
The strain of heavy lifting and the jumping actions associated with aerobic exercises can increase intra-abdominal pressure and exacerbate the problem.
Yoga offers a more controlled and less intense approach for effectively strengthening the pelvic floor. A 2022 study showed how yoga can be used to strengthen women’s pelvic floor muscles at various stages postpartum.
Yoga Exercises for Prolapsed Uterus: 3 Key Focus Areas
When practicing yoga exercises for prolapsed uterus, you should focus on a few key areas:
1. Mula Bandha
Mula Bandha means “root lock” and it refers to the activation of the pelvic floor muscles that practitioners should try to maintain throughout their yoga practice. It creates light compression of the internal organs and also works against gravity to push the organs upwards.
It is often a good idea to spend some time in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) at the start of a practice and focus on actively engaging the Mula Bandha before starting with your flow.
As you stand with your feet hip-distance apart, activate your thighs and engage your core while tucking your tailbone under towards your navel. To ensure your pelvic floor is activated, gently constrict the sphincter and perineum muscles as though you are trying not to pee.
Avoid the more intensive Uddiyana Bandha, also known as belly lock, as it increases downward pressure on the uterus.
Pranayama is one of the main pillars of yoga. They are breathing exercises and techniques used to regulate the flow of life force through the body. Pranayama is used during a physical yoga practice in which the movement and the breath are aligned, and breathwork is also a yogic practice.
Breathing is fundamental to control of the pelvic floor, and you will notice that it moves up and down in coordination with your breath.
A 2022 study has found that controlled breathing during yoga and other forms of activity can protect and train the pelvic floor muscles. The focus should be on the exhale at moments of exertion.
Pranayama can be an excellent way to train the breath, with a focus on Rechaka, the exhale.
Most yogic breathing exercises are safe for anyone with a prolapsed uterus, but you should avoid any excessive breath holding, and any Kapalabhati, since it involves vigorous abdominal contractions while breathing.
Yoga inversions can also help alleviate the symptoms of a prolapsed uterus as you can alleviate some of the pressure of gravity on the pelvic floor by lifting your legs above your head.
When you spend time in the pose, the organs can temporarily realign to their proper position, and it can also improve circulation around the organs in question.
The main concern with yoga inversions for prolapsed uterus is straining yourself, which can place downward pressure on the pelvic floor. Proper alignment and execution is essential.
5 Yoga Exercises for Prolapsed Uterus
There are several asanas that can be particularly useful to incorporate into your yoga movement practice to strengthen the pelvic floor and relieve the downward pressure on the organs.
Most of these yoga exercises for prolapsed uterus should be undertaken with the Mula Bandha engaged.
1. Half Happy Baby Pose (Ardha Ananda Balasana)
This reclining pose releases tension in the hips and pelvic floor without creating excessive intra-abdominal pressure as it only engages one leg at a time, making it an excellent yoga exercise for prolapsed uterus.
The light compression it places on the abdominal organs can stimulate function, and it is a good position for practicing diaphragmatic breathing.
Starting in Corpse Pose lying on your back, bring the right knee close to your chest and raise the sole of your foot towards the ceiling while keeping your thigh perpendicular to the floor. Flex the raised foot and catch it with your right hand.
Pull the knee towards the ground while keeping your back and shoulders on the floor. Hold the position for a minimum of five breaths, or for up to two minutes in a restorative yoga practice. Return the leg to the floor and complete on the other leg.
2. Reclining Big Toe Hold (Supta Padangusthasana)
This similar yoga exercise for prolapsed uterus activates the Mula Bandha while stretching the hamstring and releasing the lower back. It strengthens the pelvic floor and lower abdominal muscles.
Starting in corpse pose, bend your right knee into your chest and take hold of the right toes with your right hand in a toe hold. While keeping the bottom leg active, straighten the right leg. Keep you back on the ground and your jaw relaxed as you breathe deeply.
Hold for at least five breaths before lowering the leg and repeating on the other side. You can use a strap to hold onto the foot if it is difficult to hold the toes with your hand.
3. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
This pose is part backbend, part inversion which stretches and tones the core. It can also release lower back tension which may be exacerbated by a prolapsed uterus.
Start lying on the ground and plant your feet on the floor about hip-width apart and parallel to one another. Get your heels as close to your body as possible. Extend your arms down alongside your body, hands down, and press your palms into the floor. Tuck your chin into your chest and tilt your pelvis upward.
Engage your core and your glutes, and then as you exhale press your hands and feet into the floor and lift your hips up as high as possible. Now bring your hands together under your torso and interlace your fingers, lifting your chest higher.
Stay in the position for five breaths before disengaging and lowering back down to the floor one vertebrae at a time. Pull your knees into your chest for recovery.
4. Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
It is a common misconception that for a healthy pelvic floor you need to focus only on tensing and strengthening exercises. Being able to relax those muscles is also an important part of proper pelvic floor function.
Start lying on your back, and then bend your knees up and plant your feet on the ground with the inner sides of your feet touching. With your spine aligned on the floor, roll your feet to their outer edges letting your knees drop open whilst your feet stay together.
You may choose to place blocks under your knees to make the position more comfortable.
Stay in the pose for between five breaths and three minutes depending on your practice.5
5. Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
Legs-up-the-wall pose is the simplest yoga inversion for prolapsed uterus to encourage the abdominal organs to slide back into their normal position temporarily. It also regulates your respiratory system and improves circulation.
Place the short end of your mat straight against the way. Lie down on your mat with your head away from the wall and your feet hugged into your chest so that you can plant your feet on the wall. Slowly walk your feet up the wall making sure that you keep your sit bones against the wall.
You can place a block, cushion, or folded towel under your sit bones to make the posture more comfortable.
Stay with your legs up the wall for ten breaths before walking your feet back down and resting with your knees at your chest. Repeat four to six times.
Yoga Asanas to Avoid or Modify with Prolapsed Uterus
While there are many useful yoga exercises for prolapsed uterus, there are also a few yoga poses that should be avoided or modified if you have this condition.
This is because these movements create intense intra-abdominal pressure that will push your abdominal organs downwards, exacerbating the problem.
Plank poses can be too intense and should be modified with knees on the ground to alleviate some of the weight. Similarly asanas that raise both legs, such as boat pose, can be modified to reduce intensity by lifting only one leg at a time.
Deep squats, such as garland pose, can place excessive pressure on the pelvic floor, as can exercises where you bear excessive weight on your upper body, such as crane pose. Wide-leg forward folds can also be avoided as they place pressure on the abdomen in a vulnerable open leg position.
We have already mentioned the need to avoid Uddiyana Bandha and any breathing techniques that involve strained holding of the breath. Any asana that causes you to hold your breath and strain should be avoided or modified.
Yoga Exercises for Prolapsed Uterus – Final Thoughts
Prolapsed uterus is a surprisingly common condition in people over the age of 50 who have previously given birth. While many people may barely notice the condition, if it progresses and gets work, it can cause major discomfort and embarrassment.
One of the main things that you can do to prevent or slow the progression of a prolapsed uterus is to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, while avoiding the intra-abdominal strain that can exacerbate the condition.
A yoga practice, with some modifications, that focuses on engaging the pelvic floor is one of the best activities for providing that strengthening.