Rectal prolapse refers to the descending or drooping of the rectum via the anus. It occurs when pressure in the abdomen is greater than the strength of the pelvic floor, connective tissues and deep core muscles that help in keeping the bowel in its place. Yoga exercises that strengthen pelvic and abdominal stability without significant increase in intra-abdominal pressure will help with rectal prolapse. However, it is important to note that rectal prolapse cannot be reversed by yoga exercises. Rectal prolapse is usually caused by a combination of many factors, behaviours and habits. It is best to go in for a complete examination and treatment plan from an urologist for prolapse in Chennai.
How useful are yoga exercises for rectal prolapse
Women may lose pelvic muscle strength that leads to rectal prolapse. The three main reasons for pelvic muscles to become weak in women are pregnancy, vaginal child birth and age. Rectal prolapse occurs when supportive tissues within the pelvic floor and around the bowel or rectum stretch beyond their limit and lose their elasticity. Supportive tissues that lose their elasticity after pregnancy or childbirth may become thin, floppy and weak. The strength and function of pelvic floor muscles is the ultimate factor that can determine which yoga exercises may be suitable to the individual. It is possible to rehabilitate pelvic floor muscles with customised yoga exercises. Yoga exercises to strength pelvic muscles, when done properly, can assist women with rectal prolapse by improving pelvic floor support and alleviate or even eliminate prolapse symptoms in mild to moderate grades of rectal prolapse. Whereas, pelvic floor connective tissues that have failed and stretched beyond their normal limits, have lost their tensile strength and cannot recover with exercise.
Yoga exercises can overcome symptoms of rectal prolapse
The role of yoga in rectal prolapse is to both reduce the likelihood of prolapse in middle aged women and to serve as a therapy to women who want to improve the condition post-surgical. It is always recommended to consult the urology specialist in Chennai before starting any new exercise programme for rectal prolapse. Following are some simple yet effective yoga exercises that can strengthen pelvic muscles and help overcome the symptoms of rectal prolapse:
Pranayama – All pelvic floor functions are in close association with breathing. With every breath, pelvic floor structures move along up and down in coordination. Breathing exercise can be highly valuable for women with rectal prolapse. women with rectal prolapse may be trained to attend to flow of breath before they learn to contract and relax their pelvic floor muscles. Nadi shodana or alternate nostril breathing, abdominal-diaphragmatic breathing and bee’s breath or Bhramari are alternative yoga breathing techniques that may be useful.
Mula Bandha – According to a study published in 2018 by the International Journal of Yoga, Mula Bandha is a yoga exercise that improves mild rectal prolapse and other pelvic organ prolapse. The technique involves engaging the pelvic floor muscles along with the deep core muscles. A pelvic floor physical therapist will be able to guide on proper pelvic floor muscle engagement and the way to incorporate it with yoga exercise. Mula Bandha can be practiced as a sole exercise or in combination with other poses such as mountain Pose that gives improved rectal prolapse support.
Tadasana – otherwise called the mountain pose is a beneficial posture exercise for women with rectal prolapse from pelvic floor dysfunction. A slumped posture can affect the pelvic floor, increasing pressure within the abdomen. Maintaining the natural inward curve in the lower back allow the postural muscles to work effectively thus facilitating pelvic floor and deep core abdominal muscles to support the pelvic organs including the bowel and rectum. The ideal combination of exercises for pelvic support in rectal prolapse could be Mula Bandha in Tadasana.
Sarvangasana – also called the shoulder stand can provide relief from rectal prolapse by making use of the effect of gravity on the prolapsed rectum. Shoulder stand can force undue stress upon the neck and hence advisable to be undertaken only with the guidance of a physical therapist. Wall flower stretch is another yoga exercise that uses gravity to take pressure off the pelvis but caution is needed in taking care of the back.
Can yoga exercises aggravate rectal prolapse ?
Women have to learn to be guided by their rectal prolapse symptoms. Certain yoga exercises may have negative effects in increasing pressure on the pelvic floor and prolapse. With rectal prolapse, look for movements and breathing patterns that will not overpower the tissues supporting the bowel. If rectal prolapse symptoms are increased during and/or following yoga, it may mean that the exercises had an impact of increased pressure on the prolapsed tissues. Exercises that aggravate symptoms, when repeated over time, can worsen a rectal prolapse. Intense core exercises that increase intra-abdominal pressure have to be avoided or modified by a pelvic floor physical therapist. Yoga poses, techniques or exercises that could potentially cause more harm to the bowel include double leg lifts, boat poses, plank poses such as Chaturanga dandasana, Uddiyana bandha which is a muscular belly lock, deep squats without proper bracing, forward bends with wide legs and jump-backs. Breathing in rhythm with movement and transitions between poses is the key to avoid build-up of excess pelvic pressure. Activities of manual work like heavy lifting, straining on bowel movements or pushing heavy objects are also to be avoided.
Rectal prolapse in women is always a traumatic, isolating and devastating condition. Managing and healing a rectal prolapse under the care of an urologist for prolapse in Chennai is an opportunity for women to become more aware of the importance of their pelvic floor and its role in supporting pelvic dysfunctions. A program of exercise and treatment for rectal prolapse is utmost essential. To reduce the risk of the condition worsening or end with complications, addressing or preventing this condition early on is highly advisable. A therapeutic yoga practitioner can provide information that is designed to practice yoga with confidence even with rectal prolapse.