Unfortunately, it is actually common for women to suffer from what is called Uterine Prolapse. Uterine Prolapse is a fancy term for when your uterus basically collapses on itself and, in severe cases, the uterus passes through the vaginal opening.
“No way, the uterus can fall out? Why didn’t they tell us this in health class?” The idea to write this article came about at one of our ritual lesbian wine nights, when I started defending why I wasn’t too keen on the idea of birthing my own children. Vivian exclaimed in that tipsy dramatization that happens only after a bottle or two of chardonnay, “Kim, you need to write about this. Women deserve to know!”
Before I freak out all of our readers, this problem tends to occur as we age into post-menopause. The pelvic floor muscles (PC muscles) and ligaments that hold the uterus in place weaken with the diminishing estrogen levels. Other risks for Uterine Prolapse include: having one or more vaginal births, smoking, being overweight, lifting objects that are too heavy, and untreated chronic cough.
· A feeling as if sitting on a small ball
· Difficult or painful sexual intercourse
· Frequent urination or a sudden, urgent need to empty the bladder
· Low backache
· Protruding of the uterus and cervix through the vaginal opening (Duh!)
· Repeated bladder infections
· Sensation of heaviness or pulling on the pelvis
· Vaginal bleeding or increased vaginal discharge
For most women who have mild forms of Uterine Prolapse there is a great non-surgical solution. Do your Kegels! Yes, this is just one more reason to do Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Even Margret Cho’s stand-up video, “Beautiful,” boasts a strong cunt with her Smart-Ball-assisted Kegel exercises as she started experiencing Uterine Prolapse. Otherwise, there are special medical devices you can insert to hold the uterus in place, and of course surgical options of tying your uterus to the nearest ligament.
I’m really into preventative care, so do your Kegels. Kegel Exercises are easy, discreet, and benefit your sexual health all around. Finding the right group can be a little tricky, but inserting a finger can help you isolate the right muscles.
If you want to strengthen those PC muscles, try stopping your pee while you’re urinating. If you can’t completely stop your pee, try just slowing it down and building your strength over time. Make sure to empty your bladder completely after practicing.
Try squeezing your PC muscles as fast as you can in sets of five. Then rest and do another set. These exercises are particularly helpful for urinary incontinence.
This exercise is deeper and especially great for preventing Uterine Prolapse. You tighten your PC muscles slowly with long holds. Imagine you are on an elevator raising your PC muscles up floor by floor. Once you hit the third floor slowly relax your muscles stopping at each floor.
If you are having trouble strengthening on your own or aren’t quite sure if you are doing them correctly, you can add special toys designed to strengthen the pelvic floor. Take a peek at your local toy shop. Early to Bed is great for advice in finding the perfect strengthening toys for your needs. Stay tuned for my next article which will be a review of Fun Factory’s Smart Balls.
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Kimberly Rogers, LCSW. like many Queer Ohioans fled to Chicago when Issue #1 (most discriminating marriage ban in the US) passed by 75%. Now she works in the fight against HIV/AIDS as a psychotherapist and smarter-sex advocate. A Master’s graduate from the University of Chicago, Kim mixes her interests of gender, sexuality, queer politics, and mental health liberation into a her own Sex-Positive Psychotherapy Practice. She feels so fortunate to be working with such amazing and passionate people.