YOGA AND PELVIC ORGAN PROLAPSE~EVERY PELVIS HAS A STORY
By Tina Myers and Sherrie Palm
After navigating multiple health concerns over twenty years, yoga was one of the stabilizing tools Tina Myers utilized to optimize her pelvic health. Well self-educated in multiple aspects of pelvic health, Tina has an abundance of beneficial insights of value to share with women dissecting the maze of POP information. Here are some details from this valuable interview with Tina.
1. When were you first diagnosed with POP and what did your physician tell you?
I struggled with endometriosis which led to a hysterectomy and ovary removal. One would hope that would have been the end of my painful condition but that was not the case for me. My endo continued to grow but no doctor believed that possible after the removal of my female organs. The hormonal change of being thrown into instant menopause at a young age was difficult to manage. I most likely had POP before I was diagnosed or had my hysterectomy because tampons would push out. Despite having many tests, being surgically treated for grade 4 endometriosis in 2004, and being diagnosed with a rectocele in 2006, it wasn’t until the diagnosis was confirmed in 2012 that steps were taken by practitioners to address it more pro-actively.
2. At your lowest point, what were you doing to address your pelvic health?
Stimulant laxatives, enemas, biofeedback, PT treatments, colon hydrotherapy, miralax, food restriction-yoga was the tool that kept me balanced throughout everything.
3. What was your POP repair?
My final surgery removed endometriosis and addressed adhesions, rectal intussusception, and four types of POP, enterocele, rectocele, cystocele, and vaginal vault prolapse. It also repaired my levator ani muscle which had torn in several places and fallen to the bottom of my pelvic bowl from on-going difficulties having a bowel movement.
4. How did yoga help you during this time?
I have no doubt if I had not been practicing yoga through the pain, I would not have been able to be the active woman that I am and would more than likely be using walking canes to get around! Through all, my yoga practice was the only constant in a life filled with stress, pain, fear, and uncertainty. It calmed my mind and kept my body strong while keeping the muscles that wanted to contract into constant spasms supple and flexible.
5. Can you recommend a few positions for women starting up their yoga practice?
Big toe pose (Padangusthasana)
Seated twist (Marichyasana III)
Supported child’s pose or child’s pose (Balasana)
Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
It is absolutely essential to check with a doctor prior to practicing any exercise when you have pelvic organ prolapse. Additionally, these exercises should be practiced with the right technique and preferably in the presence of a yoga expert. Listen to your body! If the yoga instructor is telling you to do something that does not feel safe or right, respect your body and do not do the pose! We come in all shapes and sizes and with an array of health conditions; since yoga teachers are not healthcare practitioners, we have to be our own best advocates for our bodies.
6. How about sharing a few final words for our ladies navigating POP?
I don’t know where I’d be today if had I not found yoga, it taught me how to work my body and mind no matter what state I was in and to be ok where my body was on the really bad days. Without yoga, I don’t know if I would have been able to keep pushing to find the answers to heal. Women looking for additional insights in yoga poses can send me messages through the APOPS Chatroom; the link is on the homepage of the APOPS website.
Tina Myers is a Cat behaviorist in Tucson AZ who runs a small cat sanctuary of special needs cats, she is also very involved in the world of TNR (trap, neuter return) to prevent the births of unwanted cats and stop the suffering of homeless and shelter cats. This is her main passion. She is also a yoga therapy teacher with training in overall body anatomy, as well as training in pelvic floor yoga in recent years in order to help her better understand what is going on within her own body. She is a long time yoga practitioner of 10+ years and has been certified to teach for 5 years with well over the 500 hour certifications needed to teach. Her yoga practice is more for her and has been her saving grace in troubled times although she enjoys sharing it with others because of how deep the benefits have been for her in her life, but her heart, work and passion is her cat work.