The statement that yoga can cause prolapse is sadly, quite accurate. I have helped many long time yoga practitioners and even yoga teachers who have come to me for help with their prolapse.
There are a number of yoga asanas which are highly detrimental to women. In spite of the enormous popularity of yoga among women, yoga was designed by men for men. Until the 1950's, women weren't even allowed to practice yoga in India.
If you are a faithful practitioner of yoga, take heart, there are only a few postures you need to stay away from which i'll share with you later in this letter. But first of all, you need to understand some important truths about prolapse that your doctor won't (or can't) tell you.
If you have been diagnosed with uterine prolapse (or rectocele or cystocele), chances are you are feeling confused and anxious. You may also be feeling uncertain about the implications of this diagnosis for your life. Your doctor may have told you not to run or lift anything over a few pounds. If you are athletic or a young mom, this kind of news can be catastrophic.
How are you supposed to manage toddlers when you can't pick them up? If you're used to running, bike riding and exercising, does this mean you're doomed to be a couch potato? What will this mean for your sex life having a bulge in your vagina and feeling uncomfortable and not very interested in sex?
Prolapse is a terrible thing for a woman to experience. This used to be an "old ladies" problem but it's now epidemic in post partum women in their twenties and thirties. I've even helped some teenagers.
If you've found this site, I'm going to presume it's because you are looking for information. Not theoretical medical mumbo jumbo but real, practical information and you want it now.
OK, the first thing to do is take a deep breath, blow it out and relax a bit. Here's the first thing you need to know:
You are not alone.
This is a very common problem. In fact, it's the most common women's health problem in the developed world. More than half of women will experience some form or degree of pelvic organ prolapse in their lifetime.
Unfortunately, literally millions of women like you have been led by the hand down a path of no return to surgery. Before consenting to such an irreversible decision, you owe it to yourself to get information your doctor won't tell you. I'm not being a conspiracy theorist here. Doctors are trained to do certain things and see problems in a certain way. Just because they are doctors doesn't mean they 1) understand the problem of prolapse or 2) know best how to manage it.
To make matters worse, you need to know that you and your doctor have a conflict of interest. What I mean by that is he/she is working in a business. Even if your doctor is part of a large medical system, they are measured by their financial results.
If your doctor has to choose between recommending a hysterectomy, which is a commonly accepted medical practice and will bring tens of thousands of dollars to the system, or recommend a few office visits and maybe a pessary (a silicone rubber device kind of like a diaphragm for holding your organs in place) for a few hundred dollars, what do you suppose he or she is going to do? Your best interests may not get taken into consideration. Doctors are only human.
I'm not trying to condemn individual doctors who by and large are hard working and well meaning, but they are caught up in a system which just...
Isn't a safe place for women.
I know this is a hard reality to come to terms with. When our feet are up in the stirrups and our bottoms exposed, we feel so vulnerable we have to feel we can trust our doctors. We want to trust our doctors. We need to trust our doctors in order to feel we have some protection from the potential ravages of disease and death.
OK, take another deep breath.
Of course there are some things the medical system is astonishingly good at. But barring some malignancy, women's health isn't one of them. If you are interested in how the medical discipline of gynecology got started, I describe it in my book. It is a horrifying tale. But my point is this.
You are the only one who can be responsible for your health, particularly when it comes to prolapse.
Your doctor may have told you surgery is the only answer or he or she may have suggested a pessary, physical therapy or doing nothing. You may have been told you have this problem because you have "weak connective tissue", which of course means that you are somehow defective. If you've seen more than one doctor, the odds are good that you got conflicting advice.
It's time to clear away the confusion so you understand your condition and the options and solutions available to you, and most importantly, the very real potential consequences associated with medical intervention. But first, let me share with you a bit about my story so you will understand that I know what I'm talking about.
A Ten Year Journey
When I was diagnosed with uterine prolapse, which was the result of a bladder neck suspension surgery, I was terrified. My uterus was falling out. I called my gynecologist in a panic. He was emphatic that hysterectomy was the only answer. It was only years later that I discovered the "state of the art" bladder neck suspension technique he used on me virtually always results in uterine prolapse.
I didn't want a hysterectomy. I'd given birth to two beautiful children and I'd grown attached to my uterus and I wasn't going to give it up without a fight.
I lived with the discomfort, pulling and bulging between my legs for almost ten years. I reached a crisis point in my life around my prolapse and through that crisis came to realize that this burden was really an opportunity in disguise. I knew there must be thousands of women struggling as I was (actually, there are millions) and maybe I could help them and help myself at the same time.
With my medical training (I was working as a Registered Nurse at the time) I was comfortable digging into the medical literature, the surgical and gynecological texts used in the medical schools and the journals where the latest research is reported.
The more I learned, the more angry I got. The medical institution's answer to prolapse was simple: surgery. The bad news I discovered is that these surgeries (and there are over 150 different techniques that have been developed over the years largely through experiments on women unaware they were being used as guinea pigs) have a dismal track record and have left in their wake thousands and thousands of women's lives ruined by chronic pain, sexual dysfunction, incontinence, drug dependency, and divorce.
It gets worse
To give you a sense of how bad the situation with women's health really is, for almost five hundred years, doctors were taught that the female pelvis was oriented like a bowl or basin with the opening at the bottom. This was how the original medical illustrations done by Andreas Vesalius in the 16th century showed the pelvic orientation.
It wasn't until the mid-1950's before anyone noticed the mistake and published a journal article about it! Even then it took another thirty years before changes were made in the medical school curriculum. To this day if you look in the contemporary surgical texts (and I own them all), you will see that most of the illustrations showing female pelvic orientation are inaccurate.
Why does this matter?
Two reasons. First is the myth of the "pelvic floor". If the pelvis were actually a basin, then the muscle and fascia that are commonly referred to as the pelvic floor would, in fact, be a floor. But the pelvic opening is actually at the back of the pelvis and is more like a wall. Therefore all the treatments for strengthening the "pelvic floor" (such as Kegel exercises) have been conceptualized incorrectly and are basically worthless.
The pelvic floor is actually the pubic bone which solidly holds your organs in place if (and this is the big "if") your posture holds your organs where they belong, forward against the lower abdominal wall.
Second, all the typical surgeries are based on the "basin" orientation of the pelvis, which means when a real woman stands up and moves around, the surgery has positioned and secured her organs in the wrong orientation commonly resulting in failure of the surgical procedure and chronic pain.
My experiments bring results
In the meantime, I had been experimenting with different ways to sit, stand and walk. I found certain positions helped my prolapse. Some days I couldn't feel it at all!
The breakthrough came when I grasped that pelvic organ prolapse isn't even a gynecological problem. It is actually a postural problem. The real problem is that we no longer sit, stand and walk in the ways we did while human female bodies were evolving. Today we sit in chairs and car seats that flatten the lower back (lumbar) curve,which is normally quite pronounced in the female spine.
Look at photos of so called primitive women and you will see them sitting with legs splayed, squatting or sitting cross-legged on the ground. Often you will see them carrying heavy loads gracefully balanced on their heads. If you look carefully, what you will notice is the graceful curve of their lumbar or lower spine.
As my research evolved I discovered that natural female posture largely took care of prolapse by itself. Sadly, we've been taught most of our lives to stand with tail tucked under, tummy pulled in and shoulders back. This is a fine posture for a man, whose spine is shaped quite differently (a fact mostly ignored by the medical system). But for women, it has the effect of profoundly destabilizing our pelvic organ support system. I got very excited as the Whole Woman posture started producing results.
I added some exercises from my experience with dance to help develop and strengthen specific muscle groups and these helped even more. After two years of intense research, in 2003 I published the first edition of my book Saving the Whole Woman, published the video First Aid for Prolapse (remember VHS tapes?) and put up my web site, wholewoman.com.
On the web site forum, soon hundreds of women were writing in with questions that required still further research and after a couple of years, my knowledge had progressed to the point that the book, Saving the Whole Woman needed a major rewrite. In 2006 I published a second edition of the book.
But the video was completely obsolete.
During this time, women from all over the world were writing and asking for a new video with a new exercise program. After four months of hard work, the new DVD, First Aid for Prolapse was released. The response from women around the world has been tremendous.
When you watch the First Aid for Prolapse DVD plan on learning:
- A practical understanding of your female anatomy.
- What actually causes prolapse
- Why the medical system has failed to understand and develop effective treatments for prolapse
- A clear description of the Whole Woman posture that can quickly transform your prolapse
- A workout program I've designed drawing on the best of yoga and classical dance. The workout has both beginning and advanced sections and includes a comprehensive dictionary of the movements so you can learn and progress at your own rate
- Exercises in yoga and Pilates to avoid that actually destabilize your pelvic organ support system
- Practical tips on simple things like walking with a stroller, lifting your children, and how to hold the vacuum in ways that will help support your pelvic organs when cleaning your house
- A look at some of what I call the "living arts" that can enrich both your life as a woman as well as improve your health, including your prolapse
There is almost an hour and a half of unique material in First Aid for Prolapse you won't find in any other video. The workout is designed for you to be able to play and watch while you learn the workout moves in the comfort of your own living room.
My purpose in creating this DVD was very clear
I wanted to:
- Eliminate your confusion
- Resolve your anxiety
- Restore your confidence
- Help you regain control of your health and your body
Thousands of women who have practiced my techniques have found that they have been able to cancel scheduled surgeries and are now running, hiking, dancing, mountain biking and enjoying the full use of their wonderful, whole bodies. The odds are excellent that you can too.
But let me be very clear about one thing. There is no "cure" for prolapse, no matter what your doctor may tell you. What there is is a set of techniques that will minimize and in most cases eliminate your discomfort, pulling and bulging and help you comfortably manage your prolapse for a lifetime.
Chances are, your mother or sister, relative or friend has had a hysterectomy and feels great. However, if you take a look at any of the hysterectomy support sites, you'll find quickly that this surgery which half the women in the developed world will have had by the time they are sixty, is not all smooth sailing.
You will read horror story after horror story of an astonishing array of debilitating problems. The largest group of chronic lower back pain sufferers are hysterectomized women. Many more serious problems also can and do occur with devastating frequency.
Here are some examples which I collected from one of the major hysterectomy support sites.
By contrast, here is what some of the women who have used my techniques have to say about my techniques. These are posts taken directly from the forum on the Whole Woman™ web site and they have been edited only for spelling and punctuation. These are just a small sample of results reported by thousands of women from around the world.
This fire breathing is helping me. I want to sing it from the treetops. Thank you Christine! - GranolaMom
I have been to many doctors. None of them could figure out the pain, which was low abdominal, low back pain after bowel movements. I found this web site and the posture information while researching, and within a few days of making posture corrections, the pain is mostly gone, AND my rectocele and cystocele have both gone from stage 2 to stage 1. - Tracy
For me, I will always be grateful for Christine, her materials, her inspiration and instruction, and for all of you who travel a similar path. By the way, the DVD exercises are still instrumental in my healing program. I didn’t do them for a couple of days and I noticed! - Marie
I just turned 48 and had what I believe to be a global prolapse (cystocele, rectocele and uterine prolapse) happen all at once, within about a month or so around March of 2004. Thank goodness I found Christine’s book and web site!! I started using the posture immediately and I really believe it helped stop the progress of my prolapse. - Lynn
So I finally feel that my life is back on track with the discovery of your wonderful video and book. I thank God for giving me the help in finding you Christine.... and thank you so much!!! - Gail
I have to add that I JUST started doing the fire-breathing a couple days ago, and I think it is so amazing. I kept raving on and on to my husband! I was feeling a little ‘ droopy’ on Saturday and so I gave it a go. I checked myself before, and could feel my cervix dropping to the middle of my vagina. I did the fire-breathing for 5 minutes and then checked myself again - IT HAD MOVED UP!!! Unbelievably (to me) it worked immediately! I never thought that was possible, although going for a long walk in the posture helps almost as much...eternal thanks, Christine. - MichelleK
I have come to the conclusion that standing in my ‘old good’ posture was just balancing the vertebrae on top of each other and not utilizing the muscles around the pelvis and spine to do the stabilizing, so all those muscles weakened and were unable to do the stabilizing work required when I was lifting. Now they get their strengthening exercise just by sitting, standing and walking. They are working all the time and much better for it.
Just remember that Whole Woman posture is at the heart of it. Just keep those pelvic organs forward of the pelvic floor opening and well over the pubic bone and they cannot descend because there is a big lump of bone in the way! - Louise
I was told by my ob-gyn that I have UP [uterine prolapse] and adenomyosis and that a hysterectomy would be a “good option” for me. It was described as a procedure that could improve my quality of life. As a young-ish mother of two small children, wife, avid runner and outdoor enthusiast, I was devastated. My gut instinct told me that I had to research what surgery really meant, and find an alternative. I began researching surgical options...after reading those books, it is very easy to start feeling that your falling pelvic organs are the enemy and surgery is the key to restoring your quality of life. I was feeling a great deal of negativity toward my own body, as if there was something grossly wrong with me and I had been betrayed. I then read your book, and was reminded of what important parts of my body my pelvic organs are. Your book brought me back home...I feel so much more positive and confident that I have what it takes to work this out. I’m recommending it to my PT, sisters, and friends. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and research. - Thankful
Hi to all. I have been doing Christine’s exercises for about a year. I have stage 3 prolapse, am 59 and always thought I was in pretty good shape. I have been feeling really good, so Sunday I decided to do some yoga and some abdominal work (my brain still tells me no pain no gain) to my surprise today my prolapse is back full force. So it’s back to Christine’s video and my abdominal tape went in the trash. As soon as I went back into the posture and relaxed a little I was feeling better. This is a way of life for me now and I believe it’s not the worst thing that can happen to a woman. Thanks to all and a special thank you to Christine. - Rosemary
The Posture is working! - MommyNow
The posture has helped me no end - No longer do I have a falling out feeling or ‘peeking’ - Sue
I have also improved tremendously since I first found the prolapse a week post partum. My cervix, which was initially at the vaginal opening, has not reprolapsed and although it is still a little lower than before I had children is now in a place which is considered “normal” for multiparous women and is causing no problems. - UKMummy
Christine’s work saved me from surgery: cesarean section and pelvic surgery. I am so grateful for this work. I sit a lot on the floor because it is much easier to be in the posture and so much more comfortable than furniture. At work I tilt the front of my seat forward and do not even use the back rest. I have been increasing the nuts in my diet which has really caused the rectocele (the more troublesome of the three prolapses for me) to be no trouble.
I am so excited about Christine’s new book and encouraged that doctors are finally listening. Perhaps in the future prolapse will be eradicated through our lifestyle changes as the medical community stops turning to the scalpel to correct a structural problem. - Jane
I just want to say that I am so, so very glad that I found your web site all those three years ago.... I am still doing very well now. The posture has been a miracle worker.... I get it! It is now so natural to me to stand and sit in this posture... I can’t even imagine putting myself back into the old stance, it seems it would be very difficult to even hold my body in that position anymore. As I said, in a few other long past entries, this posture not only brought everything up and secure and prevents any further prolapse no matter how much I lift or what I do physically. But more, it brought out my innate elegance, strength, self-confidence, beauty and power. Perhaps it was a grand combination of many changes colliding together in one synergistic point in my life, but what ever it was, I have grown to become, in many ways, a new person....or maybe it is that I found not a new person, but come nearer my real and truer, uncontaminated, God-blessed self. - Sandy-Joy
I just wanted to let you know I am already feeling better just from practicing the posture and getting down on all fours like you outlined in you post First Aid For Prolapse. I haven’t even gotten my book yet, but I’ve ordered it and I can’t wait. I am so, so thankful that I found this site when things are still relatively mild and can hopefully be reversed. I am believing that they will be! Already I have had several days where I do not even feel the bulging sensation. God bless you, Christine for your work here. - Julie
I am mindful of my posture and live by the rules that women with prolapse should follow (I’ve learned it all from this web site). I hope to keep my prolapse where it is for a long while. - Marcella
Christine, I am very thankful and appreciate all of your hard-work, wonderful work, and all the precious information. There is a positive energy and you give women all the hope that they have lost in their own bodies. Thanks for saving us! - Anna
I was diagnosed with a 1.5 cystocele and a “slight” rectocele about a year ago. Last week, my gynecologist declared both “mostly resolved.” I have had zero symptoms the last few weeks, but I also know that symptoms can come and go. Over all, things have improved hugely and continue to improve. - Ann
Would results like this be of value to you?
While I obviously can't guarantee you'll get the results these women have, what I can guarantee is the knowledge and techniques in this DVD will help you feel stronger, more graceful, more comfortable and more confident so that you can be in charge of your health and body.
Also, if you are an older woman who may not be able to do the exercises in First Aid for Prolapse, I've developed a new DVD just for you: First Aid for Prolapse for Elders. Along with the essential anatomical information, this DVD provides a much more gentle exercise program for older women. If you have a mother, aunt, sister or friend who is older and experiencing prolapse, why not give her a give of First Aid for Prolapse for Elders?
All it takes is a decision: a decision to get educated, begin paying attention to your body, get stronger in the right ways. Order your DVD today. You'll be glad you did.
|Wishing you the best,
Whole Woman Inc.
P.S. Earlier in this letter I promised you information on yoga and prolapse. I've written a blog post about this which I encourage you to read. You
can find it at: Why We Need a New Yoga for Women.
P.P.S. After you have studied the DVD, and you'll want to view it repeatedly to absorb all the information that is there, you should further your education with Saving the Whole Woman. If you order them together with the exercise baton, you'll get a nice discount.
P.P.P.S. If after watching the DVD you have further questions and would like to schedule a personal consultation, order a consultation at the Whole Woman Store and then call my office at 505-243-4010 to schedule an appointment. I look forward to talking with you.
P.P.P.P.S. If you worry about ordering online with a credit card, click here to read why it's safer to use your credit card online than at your local restaurant. Of course, if you'd rather phone in your order, call us at the Whole Woman Customer Service number, 1-505-314-1455. Customer service is usually available between 9:30 AM to 4 PM Mountain Time (GMT -7).