T Nation

Diagnosed with Mild Bladder Prolapse. How to Modify Training?


#1

Hi, I am new to this forum

I am a relatively advanced lifter, body weight 60kg, deadlift PB 130kg. I train 3 / 4 times a week, predominantly strength, so very heavy, low reps. I would like to progress further in powerlifting.

However I have recently suffered with a mild bladder prolapse…I have one child…but doctor thinks lifting heavy has been a major contribution,

I am seeing a specialist but in the interim I can no longer train heavy. I leak during most training sessions.

I have a lean physique, quite well defined muscularity, and eat a predominantly clean pale I diet.

My question is how to continue training without lifting heavy, whilst maintaining my physique. I don’t want to train in the hypertrophic range as don’t want to get any bigger.

Any advice would be appreciated. Body weight training is ok, tho no plyometrics. I can still lift at about 60% 1RPM without leakage.

Many thanks


#2

Hello there.

Sorry to hear that you’re having so much difficulty.

I don’t have personal experience with this, but if you’re soon to see a specialist for advice and to determine if you’ll need surgery, I would back off so you don’t inadvertently make it worse. If you have a tear, you don’t want it to get bigger.

It sounds like you’re already quite strong, since you have a 2 x BW+ DL. I would not worry about a rapid loss of your muscle during this time. It’s unlikely that you’re going to experience any rapid recomp over the next few weeks or months, particularly if you’re able to still train, but with lighter weights. Keep diet in check so you aren’t putting on extra weight, walk, and lift if you can.

I had abdominal surgery to repair a pregnancy-related umbilical hernia and had to take time off from lifting for that a few years ago. I did not notice any rapid loss of the muscle I had built, but I did have to step back from training completely for a couple of months while I was healing. It’s certainly not worth going back to the gym too early and tearing something so you’d be back in surgery.

Once you know you have a tear, are kegel exercises of no benefit? I know some people with a minor situation can avoid surgery, decrease symptoms, by strengthening their pelvic floor. Did your physician give you any guidance?

I have a neighbor who is a urologist. If I run into her this week, I will ask your question and see if she has any advice.

Out of curiosity, did you have a very long and difficult delivery? Age now? I know both of these factors increase the risk of these issues.

Best of luck to you!
Puff


#3

Hi, thank you for your reply.

My age is 40 and no I didn’t have a difficult delivery, and my daughter was small. Though I wasn’t stitched I was left to repair… I did have another pregnancy last year but that had to be terminated, followed by emergency D&C so I have also had some gynaecological issues.

I am doing physio, or at least just about to start…but have been advised to keep weights low otherwise the rehabilitation will take longer. I want surgery but am being told that probably wouldn’t allow me to maintain lifting heavy.

It’s as much a mindset thing I guess. I work hard at my strength and get so much enjoyment from it, to have to stop doing something I love is hard! It’s a huge mental release for me too.

But it’s good to hear that you maintained your physique even with a lengthy time-out. Psychologically it’s probably worse as you feel you lose all the gains you make.

That would be amazing if you see your neighbour and could ask…any further advice would be hugely appreciated. It has only got significantly worse in the last 6 weeks…but I’ve been working on my deadlift and I think it’s that specifically that is causing the main problem.

I will go back to doing lighter circuit type work and body weight…and I walk lots anyway as have a dog. I’m just the type of person that likes to push myself physically…and it’s frustrating when your body makes you stop.

Again, thank you for your reply. It’s not the easiest topic to discuss!


#4

You bet. I hope everything heals up well.

@ Delivery and age. Yeah, I was curious. I have three children, and had a very long and difficult delivery with my first. Over 24 hours of labor in the hospital with three hours of pushing, and lots of stitches. I’m a very small person, and he was 8 lbs. 6 ounces. I ended up with disatasis recti, (abs separated down the mid-line) with internal stitches from above by belly button to my pubic bone and umbilical hernia repair later. Caused by pregnancy, but all made worse by lifting. Anyway, I relate a bit to your problem. If we’re on a family car trip, everybody in the family can outlast me before I want to stop to pee, and I know it’s a low E symptom for a lot of women as they hit peri-menopause. I’m a bit older, in my late 40s. I’ve known women who needed surgery for bladder issues after childbirth. I guess this is a good time to look at pictures of our beautiful kids and tell ourselves that they were worth it. :slight_smile:

I know it’s a different situation, but once I was healed I was able to lift again without injury. Scar tissue is not as flexible, so it’s a bit scary because I could feel it pulling anytime I engaged my abs. You’ve got a different situation where everything is internal, and hopefully a lot less area of stitches. I will ask my friend. @ your injury. It’s not so different from a hernia, and many of the guys here have had them. It’s been a common theme in the injury forum forever. And certainly some of the PLers have seen someone wet their pants on the platform. wink.

Ugh. I hear you. Frustrating indeed. You’re rocking along really enjoying your lifting and you’d like to be able to do it well into the next few decades.

I hope they’re able to fix everything up so you can continue doing things you love to do.

Best,
Puff


#5

I just tried to reach her and she’s on vacation now. I will still let you know if I can get any information. She’s also a mom with three kids, in her 40s with a urology practice. She’s a cool chick. I will still ask her if I get a chance when she’s home.


#6

Thank you for your reply and reassurance! It is such a frustrating issue and one that I feel I have little control over… I pretty much can’t lift anything at the moment, things have significantly worsened over the last few weeks. I hope to see the specialist soon and see where we go from here.

I very much appreciate your efforts to speak to your neighbour for advice - it is very kind of you.

Thank you for your support.


#7

You’re very welcome.

Sorry to hear that things have gotten worse over the past few weeks. Dammit.

It sounds like a hernia, but sometimes this type of tear may heal/ be reversible without surgery. I did play phone tag when my neighbor this weekend, but haven’t talked with her yet. I was curious about if she’s seen women lift heavy things safely after they’ve experienced this. I’m interested in postnatal health issues, women’s health, so it’s really interesting to me.

Maybe, just maybe you’ll avoid surgery. I know it’s not the same, but when I had an pregnancy-related umbilical hernia I began to have pain, I could feel a tearing sensation at my belly button when I laughed or coughed. It rapidly got worse over a period of weeks. It was a really clear cut thing. My surgeon informed me that there’s was no way for mine to heal itself on it’s own, it was effecting my daily life, and he was concerned that it could become a medical emergency. On the upside, I’ve been able to come back to lifting heavy again after it healed up. It took me about a year to come all the way back to where I was, partly because I was just afraid of re-injuring it.

It sounds like your situation might be more hopeful. Hopefully you’ll see the specialist soon and they can tell you for sure. This has to be such a pain!

You’ve probably been reading all around the web, but I thought this was hopeful.


#8

Hey there. My urologist neighbor is home from vacation so I was able to talk with her this evening.

My notes.

She indicated that this is likely a birth-related injury. She thinks it’s very unlikely that your lifting caused it. It’s more common after pregnancy. Difficult births, forceps deliveries, multiple pregnancies, damage to the pelvic floor increase your odds of developing it. She said that in most women who have carried a child, the bladder is now now lower than before, which is why so many women have to pee more frequently after having kids. There’s a genetic component, so some women are more likely to have this problem, depending on their family history. She thinks of it as a hernia.

The Downside
She does not believe the tear/injury will heal on it’s own. Physical therapy and kegel exercises can strengthen the muscles and so that may lessen symptoms if you have a Stage 1 or Stage 2 situation. Sometimes that’s enough to lessen symptoms so people can live their life, but it doesn’t really heal itself, so in more severe injuries you’re likely headed for surgery. Your doctor will assess. Strengthening muscles - kegel - doesn’t address pulled ligaments, or a fallen bladder.

The good news.
She said that at two months post surgery you should be able to resume activity. I asked her specifically about competitive lifting. She told me that she would not tell someone to stop lifting weights, once they’re healed. So, I think that even if you have to have surgery, you’ll be able to come back to your lifting, much like other hernia repairs.

This was the same advice from my surgeon when I had an umbilical hernia. He encouraged me to go back to exercise as normal, and he was well aware that lifting was a hobby. So, hopefully this is a bump in the road and you’ll soon be back on your game. I’d be interested to hear updates about how this all goes.

Have a good summer.

Puff


#9

Hi,

Thank you so much for all that information… its very much appreciated.

The way things work with our health system here is that I will probably have to do about a year of physio / rehab before surgery is considered. But I will push as much as I can because it is impacting on my life and ability to exercise, which in itself has a huge knock on effect to me mentally and physically.

Again, thank you. I am very glad I posted this topic and reassuring to receive such support from fellow lifters. I will try and keep you posted as to how I get on!

With kindest regards,

Kate