Improve Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse with Yoga
By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.
“the only way to completely repair a pelvic prolapse is via surgery. Appropriate exercise can however alleviate and in some cases eliminate prolapse symptoms in women with mild to moderate prolapse.” – Michelle Kenway
Childbirth and some surgeries, particularly hysterectomies can weaken the muscles that hold the pelvic organs in place. This can lead to Pelvic Organ Prolapse where the pelvic organs such as the bladder drop from the lower belly and push against the walls of the vagina. The most common symptom of pelvic organ prolapse is feeling very full in the lower belly. Symptoms also include feeling as if something is falling out of the vagina, feeling a pull or stretch in the groin area or pain in your lower back, incontinence or needing to urinate a lot, having vaginal pain during sex, and constipation.
It is estimated that Pelvic Organ Prolapse affects about a third of women sometime during their lifetime. When mild to moderate in intensity Pelvic Organ Prolapse is usually left untreated and the patient learns to cope with the symptoms. But in sever cases surgery is called for. Exercises to strengthen the muscles holding the organs in place can be helpful in relieving symptoms. Although Yoga training has been shown to be beneficial for a large array of physical and mental disorders it has not been systematically tested for Pelvic Organ Prolapse.
In today’s Research News article “Effect of mula bandha yoga in mild grade pelvic organ prolapse: A randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=2;spage=116;epage=121;aulast=Sweta ), Sweta and colleagues recruited women with mild Pelvic Organ Prolapse who were not on any medication and randomly assigned them to either a yoga practice or control condition. Both groups received their usual treatments. Yoga practice consisted of poses while tightening and relaxing the lower pelvic muscles for 5 to 7 minutes, twice a day, for 12 weeks. They were measured before, during, and after the 12-week practice period for pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic floor muscle function, and symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse.
They report that the yoga, but not the control group following treatment had a significant progressive decrease in pelvic floor distress, urinary distress, pelvic pain, vaginal discharge, and feelings that something is falling out of the vagina, and significant improvement in perineal muscle function and quality of life. Hence, the yoga practice produced a significant improvement in the symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse.
These are interesting and potentially important results that suggest that practicing selected yoga poses along with exercising pelvic muscles in addition to usual therapy is safe and significantly improves Pelvic Organ Prolapse symptoms. This would markedly reduce the discomfort and suffering of these women and improve their quality of life.
So, improve symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse with yoga.
“There is certainly a role that yoga can play in the management of reproductive organ prolapse, but there are also some poses, movements and breathing methods that could potentially exacerbate the condition.” – Shelly Prosko
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies
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Sweta K M, Godbole A, Awasthi H H, Pandey U. Effect of mula bandha yoga in mild grade pelvic organ prolapse: A randomized controlled trial. Int J Yoga 2018;11:116-21
Background: Pelvic organ prolapse is the growing health issue related to women of the reproductive and postmenopausal age group in India and across the globe. Treatment option for pelvic organ prolapse includes both surgical and non-surgical intervention. The development of pelvic organ prolapse is an indication for major surgery among 20% of all women. Nevertheless, the recurrence of pelvic organ prolapse is detected among 58% of the patient after surgery. This highlights the need for preventive measures for reducing the impact of pelvic organ prolapse. Aims and Objective: To study the effect of 3 months yoga therapy in female patients suffering from mild pelvic organ prolapse. Material and Methods: 50 Participants were allocated into two groups (25 in each group) by generating Random allocation sequence. Women aged 20-60 with symptomatic mild pelvic organ prolapse in the yoga group were offered Mulabandha yoga therapy along with other conventional treatment modalities, while the control group was only on conventional treatment. All participants gave written informed consent. An assessment was done by improvement in chief complaints and Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory-20 (PFDI-20) & Pelvic floor impact Questionnaire-7 (PFIQ-7) at baseline and at the end of 4, 8 & 12 weeks. Results At the end of 12 weeks, Post-study comparison between the two groups showed a significant improvement in chief complaints like perennial pain, P/V discharge, Perineal muscle laxity and Feeling of something coming out P/V (P < 0.001). Participants in the yoga group improved by (on average) 5.7 (95% confidence interval 3.1 to 14.7) points more on the PFDI-20 than did participants in the control group (P = 0.1) and a mean score of PFIQ-7 was also improved significantly. Conclusions: Although Mulabandha (Root Lock) yoga therapy led to a significantly greater improvement in PFDI-20 & PFIQ-7 scores the difference between the groups was below the presumed level of clinical relevance (15 points). More studies are needed to identify factors related to the success of Mulabandha (Root Lock) yoga therapy and to investigate long-term effects.