Determined to prove that it was possible to regain continence without surgery, I set out on my journey of rehabilitation and within 18 months had fully regained continence. With my newfound continence, I returned to my strong yoga practice (the Ashtanga method) and considered myself to be fit and strong. Knowing I still had my prolapse, I was careful when it came to lifting things.
Life has a way of presenting opportunities to question your beliefs. Such an opportunity presented itself when my son came home with a pull-up bar. Considering myself strong, I assumed that pulling myself up wouldn’t be a problem and I didn’t consider the pull-up to be lifting something. That first pull-up taught me two things.
Firstly, yoga is all push and no pull. Expecting my muscles to perform well on a pull exercise was foolish. My body had not been trained to distribute tension under load in the pull direction.
Secondly, the same holds true for the pelvic floor. It was foolish to believe that my pelvic floor could deal with stresses of force from a pull-up when I had not trained with any pull exercises.
I pulled myself up aggressively without thinking about my pelvic floor and leaked for the first time since I had regained continence just a few months earlier. I was really shocked. I could run, jump, dance, laugh, cough and sneeze without leakage but this single pull-up had beaten me. It was time to re-evaluate my thought process.
When tackling pelvic floor dysfunction, a big emphasis is placed on managing intraabdominal pressure. This has particular importance when it comes to POP as downward pressure can exacerbate symptoms. Whereas the pull-up hadn’t triggered my POP symptoms, it did result in a leakage episode. I realized that I had refused to accept that surgery would be needed to restore my continence, but I had accepted without question that I could never lift heavy things again. This lead me to question, if I’m not training my tissues to manage load in all directions, am I really maximizing the potential natural support for my pelvic organs?