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How to Identify Unsafe Abdominal Exercises After a Hysterectomy

After hysterectomy surgery it is important to understand how to identify abnormal abdominal exercises or core strength. Many women accidentally perform abdominal exercises with the potential for serious pelvic injuries when returning to gym and fitness classes after undergoing hysterectomy surgery. Unfortunately, many well-intentioned fitness instructors are also unaware of this issue until women are unaware, exposed, and confused about proper training after pelvic surgery. These physical therapy guidelines are designed to help you identify unsafe abdominal tumors after hysterectomy.

Exercises that involve the upper abdominal muscles (or "six packs") pose the highest risk to your pelvic floor. Ultrasound studies show that basic abdominal curl exercises force the pelvic floor down in women with poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles. The more intensive the abdominal or core exercises, the greater the pressure on the pelvic floor and the greater the risk for pelvic floor and reduced pelvic support.

Reducing pelvic support can cause a variety of serious pelvic floor problems including; Vaginal prolapse, incontinence, pelvic pain and anorectal disorders. Hysterectomy surgery involves the upper vagina sewn into the female's pelvis to support the vagina and prevent vaginal prolapse (ie, the vagina descends and sometimes exits the female body). Research shows that the risk of vaginal prolapse is increased after hysterectomy surgery.

This means that it is important that you understand how to avoid heavy pelvic floor loads after hysterectomy with inappropriate abdominal exercises. The following abdominal exercises all have the potential to free the pelvic floor and therefore should be avoided after hysterectomy surgery;

  1. Abdominal curl exercises involves lifting the head and shoulders from a lying position and also known as sitting training. Variations include; tend to sit, sit obliquely (elbows to opposite shoulders) and mount the ball.

  2. The legs doubled involves lifting both feet off the ground at once. Variations include; bicycle foot, double-hike, Pilates "Table Top" exercise, and ball between feet.

  3. Intensive abdominal exercises such as "Plank" or "Hover" that is practiced regularly in gym, yoga and Pilates classes. Never assume that just because exercise is a "Pilates" exercise, it is safe and will help strengthen your pelvic support. Some Pilates exercises can put pressure on the pelvic floor.

  4. Stomach power machine which uses the abdominal and / or outer oblique muscles against the resistance. This machine increases the pressure in your stomach that is transferred directly to your pelvis. In fact, this exercise will make your abdominal muscles more effective in increasing the pressure down on your pelvic floor.

How to identify an unsafe stomach after a hysterectomy surgery?

  • Exercises that involve lying down and raising the head and shoulders, and / or both feet simultaneously from the ground all increase pressure down the pelvis. These exercises can all potentially cause pelvic floor injury, after pelvic surgery and when the pelvic floor muscles are not functioning properly.

  • Exercise that is performed prone (lying on the floor) and heavy loads through the hands / arms and legs (with the body raised from the ground is a strong core abdominal exercise) done forward on the appropriate ball. Again don't assume that using the right ball makes the exercise safe for your pelvic floor.

  • Abdominal exercise machines that use the abdominal muscles to straighten or lie have the potential to release the pelvic floor. This type of machine is usually used to "level the stomach". It is not possible to reduce fat from the abdomen with abdominal exercises but this myth still permeates western society. To level your stomach, you need to lose fat all over your body, it's impossible to lose it through exercise from just one place.

It is good for women to get back to exercising after undergoing hysterectomy and to ensure their long-term pelvic health by exercising accordingly. It takes three months for most women to recover from hysterectomy. During this recovery period, the pelvic floor is at greatest risk of injury. Women only need to return to the types of abdominal exercises listed above with the approval of their physicians and when their pelvic floor muscles are strong and able to withstand the great low power associated with these exercises. For some women with well-functioning pelvic muscles, this means avoiding intense core abdominal exercises and choosing to be more suited for core abdominal exercises that are better suited for pelvic health and longevity.


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