estrogen and breast feeding


hello- I just had a major light - bulb moment......this whole breast feeding and estrogen thing -
it works like this- once you have your cycle back - then your estrogen is at normal levels right?
so if the premise that breast feeding interferes with the healing of vaginal tissues is correct then it should only apply to the breast feeding mom who does not have her menstrual cycle back yet.
Yipee if this is right- all you extended breast feeding moms out there can keep up the good work- knowing that your estrogen level is close to norm.
anyone want to burst my bubble?

That is absolutely true. Now…keep noodling and come up with a fabulous way to dispel the breastfeeding-prolapse myth entirely. I believe the idea was a predictable offshoot of the “forever young” estrogen cure marketed to generations of women. Doctors DO NOT KNOW how to respond to prolapse albeit with pills, creams, pessaries, and surgery. This IS medical management of prolapse – there is nothing else. Oh yeah – kegels. When scores of young mothers show up with prolapse, no way can the profession take a look at birthing practices or the larger picture of pelvic organ support, because they must stay within their own agreed-upon, or conventional, treatments. Therefore, a theory (breastfeeding=low estrogen=prolapse) had to be created to support conventional wisdom, which we now know is anything but wise.

I thought about that too. I am newly cystocele/rectocele on baby #4 (8 wks postpartum) all vaginal deliveries all breastfed for at least 14 months. This is my first experience with celes though. I am curious if when my cycle comes back that I notice improvement. I have usually got it back by 6 months so I will report back if I notice the improvement. Ironically, I called my lactation consultant yesterday to ask more about the estrogen levels when breastfeeding. I haven't got a call back yet. I can let you know what she says too. I must admit I have high hopes for improvement, but I haven't heard many stories reporting a noted improvement.

so do you think breastfeeding has any impact?
i'm feeling so fortunate to be in the UK which seems rather evolved with regards to all this, and no one has said stop breastfeeding. but the consultant did say that often there is further improvement upon stopping (even if that's in 3 years), and today my physio said that until my cycles return my body is more vulnerable than it will be in the future--though i need to always be very careful as the goal is to live with this not have surgery (i'm amazed--not one doctor / physio here has said surgery is a good idea!!!).

i know everything is very new and vulnerable as baby is only 9 weeks, but do you think the feeding has any impact? just curious...

I so love to hear expressions of the changing tide. This was not the case in England and Ireland, even a couple of years ago, where only the same surgical procedures as in Canada, Australia, and the US were offered. Here, too, you now hear many instances of urogynecologists recommending the “do nothing” approach as first course of treatment. At least it’s an improvement over their “gold standard”!! I think breastfeeding is pulling your pelvic interior into position, which you need to also support with your posture.

I recently got my menstrual cycle back after a year of breastfeeding. I am still breastfeeding but am assuming as others have written, that my estrogen levels are back to normal as I am menstruating again. I have seen no marked difference for better or worse with my prolapse. I have yet to hear of anyone who has seen a difference after getting their cycle back.

On the other hand I did see a big difference during my post partum year, a gradual but marked improvement in general tone and firmness vaginally. At nine weeks post partum everything was definitely more saggy generally. Give it time KiKi! Things will most probably not resolve completely, but I am betting you will see changes for the better over time. :)

It is very interesting isn't it the differences between here and Europe. It seems that Drs over there are just plain more honest about the long term outcomes of surgery. I haven't heard of anyone in the UK who has been encouraged to get surgery done the way most women seem to be here.

this one came to me between sleep and wake and sleep.....but somehow I managed to remember. Maybe Breastfeeding is good for prolapse. Everything I've read here about having a cycle seems to indicate that prolapse is worse right before a period and I have even read that some women become more symptomatic during ovulation. So maybe breastfeeding is designed to keep the uterus light and to allow the organ to rest for a handful of months(or more) before it begins its demanding ebb and flow. And not only does the uterus rest but so does the cervix and the entire vaginal canal and outlet. and of course anovulation prevents further pregnancy-
If this is the case- Doctors should be encouraging us to breastfeed - not discouraging us.

your theory sounds good to me!

Alas, the UK is not as enlightened as you may want to believe. I apparently saw one of the best ObGyns in the UK (Harley Street area surgery), who immediately told me I would need a vaginal hysterectomy (I was 4 months post partum at the time) for my grade 2 cystocele and UP. I was also told that I should stop breastfeeding as 'it really isn't good for you'. And to rub salt into the wound, I was hastily prescribed estrogen pessaries to 'make me more comfortable'.

But my favourite bit came when I expressed concern about having my uterus taken out and the impact on my hormones and overall health was 'but you'll still have your ovaries'. Fat lot of good they are to me without a uterus! She bundled me on my way, said I should see her physio who would teach me to Kegal properly and told me to book in to see her again in 3 months once I had 'come to terms with it'.

I am a pretty tough cookie and I have to admit that 20 minute consultation was one of the most humiliating and belittling experiences of my life.

...but how wonderful that you could see into her twisted reality. Perhaps a laser-sharp letter to her would relieve the humiliation!

Although, I would no doubt derive enormous satisfaction from pointing out that despite her fancy office and academic credentials her approach is a) barbaric b) misguided c) ineffective and d) all of the above, I feel like I would like to see my prolapses improve before I do so. Alas, today was a very bad prolapse day that made me question my decision to have a baby, to keep breastfeeding and doubt my ability to manage my previously full life (I used to be bionic woman).

And to top it off the Mail workers in the UK are striking and it has delayed the arrival of your book. Imagine my disappointment when some bl**dy book on how to make baby puree arrived instead of your much anticipated publication, Christine!

Not all Gynae's etc are the same - I am in Kent and I wasn't immediately offered the op - I saw a physio who told me kegels are not the be all and end all and told me to do ALOT less - And i saw her recently just in passing by in the hospital - And she said Hi and remembered me and I told her about this site :)

Seems different doctors feel different ways...


Look into the eyes - They hold the key!

I have told my sweet but somewhat misinformed GP I would like a second opinion after being terrorised by the ObGyn described below (I need to get a pessary fitted so need to visit an ObGyn again). I am in South East London, so would be possible for me to visit someone in Kent. Not sure what the protocol for mentioning names of doctors in this forum is, but if appropriate I would like to try your Gynae/ physio as it would be nice to have someone to 'treat' me who is vaguely on my wavelength.

He works at BUPA as well as in the NHS - My mother see's him at BUPA so you would be able to see him thru there. If you turn on your accept email function - I will email you his name etc

Its funny - Even my GP said to me in the beginning - They dont just do operations for this anymore...


Look into the eyes - They hold the key!

Sue - I think I did it (accept email function), but am a bit of a techno-retard, so can't be sure. Thanks in advance for you help.

I sent you two mails cos in the first one I forgot the vital info (lololol@me)


Look into the eyes - They hold the key!

Got it - thanking you. I like a good yarn myself so looking forward to meeting Mr-Not-A-Terrorist Gynae!

Hi Alemama

I really think you have hit the nail on the head. A lot happens in our heads after we close our eyes. It is as if it is filing time, when the brain has no new information to process, and it can decide what it needs to do with all the stuff it has taken in over the previous day.

I have long had the same theory about the cycle of menstruation, ovulation, fertilisation, pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.

Our ewes are in the middle of lambing at the moment. We have had to pay some extra attention to one of them around labour and birth. I have seen the uterus-emptying function of suckling where a ewe has given birth to one healthy lamb and had the second very big lamb get stuck and die in utero. We had to yard her, assist her to deliver the second and observe her over the next few days to make sure that all the placaentae were passed. The first lamb has been feeding well, and *all* the placentae were passed in the first 12 hours with no further discharge that we could see, and no damage to the vulva in spite of the dead lamb being 3 1/2 gumboots long when stretched out, and breech!

It has occurred to me that for people, as for sheep, breastfeeding is part of the same continuum, and has a very valid role in prevention of further pregnancy too soon for the recovering body, and while there is a youngster to look after, as well as helping involution of the uterus. I don't think it is any coinicidence that the average age difference between human siblings is still about 2 years in spite of the Pill and all the other contraception methods we have.

It is a bit hard to tell as we all live in different countries but I would think that there wouldn't really be many doctors who actively discourage breastfeeding these days (except eg AIDS). It is more like they are thinking what is going to be best for looking after this woman's prolapses, as this is what she is here for.

It is easy to interpret a doctor's comments "It will get better more quickly if you give up breatfeeding", as "I would advise you to give up breastfeeding." And really I don't think they have any more absolute knowledge about this than we women do, probably less actually as they don't generally listen to groups like this one, where we share our *actual* experiences. We don't tell women what to do, but we do let them know what has worked, or not, for us personally.

It all goes back to not treating a doctor as a parent whom we must obey. I believe we need to treat them as another informed person in our healthcare team, who is as fallible as the next person, and double check everything against different sources. This may sound extreme but there are so many interests at work influencing doctors to prescribe certain drugs and treatments, and so much information for them to assimilate. This is not a personal attack on doctors, just being realistic! We no longer have the grounds for blindly trusting doctors the way our parents did (and I think a lot of that trust was misplaced anyway!).

It is the woman who has to wear the results of the treatments that she accepts, good and bad. It is the woman who needs to ensure that she measures risks and double checks information before acting on it. That is the end of the story, I am afraid.



After I discovered my prolapses, I was told all kinds of things about how breastfeeding "could" make things worse! Ha! I actually never thought I would do it past two years, but my little son still looked like a baby to me so I just kept going. I don't think breastfeeding made it worse or better. Just coming to accept the whole prolapse thing has made me feel so much better, and the thought that I got to nurse my son for as long as I wanted to just made me that much happier.


It all goes back to not treating a doctor as a parent whom we must obey. I believe we need to treat them as another informed person in our healthcare team, who is as fallible as the next person, and double check everything against different sources. This may sound extreme but there are so many interests at work influencing doctors to prescribe certain drugs and treatments, and so much information for them to assimilate. This is not a personal attack on doctors, just being realistic! We no longer have the grounds for blindly trusting doctors the way our parents did (and I think a lot of that trust was misplaced anyway!).

What and excellent paragraph. Thank you so much. It says it all. I know the last thing I need in my life is another parent, another permission slip, or another audience for show and tell. A doctor is a consultant and an employee.


Change what you can change; be happy with what you cannot.

In the Uk we are not given the freedom to just choose a different specialist. The NHS is far too busy for that- Hence if you wanna see the same Dr every time you go - Go private if you can borrow or afford it (I borrowed from my brother for Hernia op) The NHS has some good points but also so really bad ones...

But over all Doctors are just doing what they are indoctrinated to do - They are taught to do it one way - Seems thats all they do.

I am not a Dr loving person so to meet a friendly and caring one - Is a real difference :)


Look into the eyes - They hold the key!

Just to say that I was told to give up breastfeeding sooner rather than later because is wasn't 'good for me' (with prolapse). I agonised over the decision, as I wasn't ready to give up at 6 months (too lazy to bother with bottles... or yes, and I knew it was best for baby!) My period hadn't returned since the birth and I knew that therefore my hormone levels could not be back to normal.

I was so close to giving up, but I thought I would just give myself time to be 100% sure, and guess what, period is back! I agree with the 'lightbulb moment' above in that it must mean that hormonally I am more like a non-breastfeeding mum and that there is some more estrogen kicking about my vaginal tissues.

I am so glad I didn't give up before I was ready, as I really don't think it would have made a blind bit of difference to my prolapse in the medium- long term. It's still early days for me, but I am sure that having a period again after so long has 'lightened' my uterus and that there is a modest improvement in my UP.

Anyway, hope you didn't mind me sharing...

Hi Cynical

Glad you waited just a bit longer. It is amazing how many women, including me, post that prolapses are worsening, only to find that a period turns up a few days afterwards. It tricks me every time. You would think I would learn!

I guess one of the morals of the story is that once again, doctors don't know everything, and are sometimes operating outside their area of knowledge. It is hard for us to tell the difference.

The other moral is that it is very important to be in touch with what is happening with our bodies, and what different sensations mean. One of the things prolapse has given me is a heightened awareness of what is going on 'down there' at any time.

Anyway, you have a lucky baby! Well done for making your own mind up.



Period time is the only time i even remember to a point I have a prolapse... I just feel like I wanna pee more (Guess thats the ole cystocele being a pain... And some months i feel a bit like a finger is 'pressing' But not like it used to be a couple of years ago. On days like these I just think GRR - I hafta pee alot today - Then it hits me and I just cope with it lol :)


Look into the eyes - They hold the key!

wow. funny i come upon this thread today. i too was told things won't begin to heal until i stop breastfeeding. i am 11 weeks postpartum and frustrated by the "waiting game for prolapse improvement". i actually stopped breast feeding yesterday. so now i am dealing with my engorged breast pain and the terrible sadness of it all. i know i need to be patient about my bodies postpartum recovery, but after having been hit by a taxi...needing knee surgery at 7 months pregnant and only now being able to walk (5 months later), i feel that maybe the choice gives me some control over my life. by listening to these docs my choice to breastfeed has been taken away, but if they are infact the slightest bit correct about this claim, then maybe i have made the right choice. i don't know if this will make sense to anyone, but i promise i will keep you all posted on my progress. granted, we won't know forsure if any prolapse improvement is due to stopping the breast feeding, the natural recovery postpartum, or my kegals/biofeedback. but if i do recover somewhat we can at least know the variables involved. i also think our estrogen level recovery is also very individual, based on age and other factors. if anyone has other natural ideas for estogen improvement, i am all ears.
oh. in addition, i now need to consider birth control. (not that i am ready to have my husband be near what use to be my vagina....). so what have you with bladder prolapses used for birth control??? does the diaphragm work to shove things up, somewhat like a pessary does?? i have thought about the pill...and how will the hormones in the pill affect my prolapse??? any thoughts from you lovely gals.

I was thinking maybe I would take the pill (as the idea of having another baby terrifies me and it seems a rather reliable solution), but after I was prescribed estrogen in the form of vaginal pessaries to 'help' my prolapse, which gave me palpitations and generally freaked me out, I am now very dubious about ingesting any kind of hormone.

At the moment, we are using the trusty withdrawal method, but to be honest, I am feeling more and more hideous by the day about the prolapse that I am envisaging celibacy becoming the contraception of choice.

you asked for my thoughts......
I hope you are not weaning solely for the prolapse sake.
while estrogen can and does plump up vaginal tissue, I have yet to see any evidence claiming that estrogen can reverse a prolape. my guess is that dr's say that because they are hoping and because they don't know what else to say
maybe I'm way outta line here and should keep my big ole mouth shut, but *I would want someone to tell me like it is.
before you let go of the bird in your hand, make sure you've got a shot at the two in the bush, kwim?
having breastfed my babies is among the greatest pleasures and privileges of my life. I know how desperate a prolapse can make you feel, but make sure you're ok with giving up the bf before you choose out of desperation.

i admit, i do feel a bit pressured...and yes it would be a shame if the outcome i am hoping for doesn't happen. and there would be no turning back if that is the case. i do feel however that my baby is using my breasts at night for comfort...he hasn't become such an efficient eater, especially at night and appears to take the bottle more seriously and is less likely to fall asleep. i know, comfort...that is a good thing that he feels pacified. i am sorry that i am giving in to these bastards. i feel embarassed because you all seem so strong against "the system"...and i feel so depressed and desperate.

For the 10 days or so I took the estrogen I have to say, the tissue definitely did get well plumped up (to a slightly grotesque level, in my opinion), but once I had done a little bit of research about whether it was actually proven to be able to improve prolapse (even just a little bit), I also discovered that it was a completely unproven remedy, but also that there was no evidence to show that it was not harmful to babies (although they do know it DOES get into breastmilk, despite the fact that the ObGyn assured me that the systemic absorption was 'exceedingly low' - b*llocks).

That was when my desire to continue to breastfeed won out over the desire to have my jiggly bits plumped up like the proverbial Xmas turkey for no good whatsoever (and potential harm).

Oh I forgot to mention that when I mentioned that the estrogen was giving me palpitations and difficultly sleeping, the GP bundled me off to A&E as she was concerned I had a blood clot (taking estrogens is apparently a risk factor). After an ECG and blood tests, it turned out I did not, but the warning bells were ringing loud and clear.

I am glad I kept breastfeeding, and although I wouldn't say it was one of my greatest pleasures (it was until she grew teeth!), I feel good about the fact that it's one thing the prolapse has not robbed me of.

Sorry to go on and on....felt good to get that off me chest!

just curious, had you ever taken the pill before without problems. and are the palpitations definitely from the estrogen. i hear what you are saying about the celibacy. we actually haven't had sex for a year. i was too uncomfortable during invitro, then too tired or nauseaus, etc. etc. so i was looking forward to starting up again until i learned about my prolapse, as well as the fact that i just don't like my vagina these days. i am 11 weeks postpartum and it just seems like a gaping hole....does this truly improve????? my hubby use to like my flower, but now it just deosn't seem the same. also, it doesn't smell the same...i that from low estrogen or the prolapse?????

By the way, jsnyc, I also feel depressed and desperate quite a lot - and also very angry. I felt at my very lowest when I came to terms with the fact that the docs would not be able to fix me - until then I thought 'well, if the conservative, natural approach doesn't work, there's always surgery'.

One feels very alone when you realise that what you thought may be your salvation may actually cause more pain.

Gosh, that actually wasn't as encouraging as I hoped I would be. But, like me, you are a reasonably new mum. And although I don't buy into the fact that we are especially hormonal, the reality of having a baby is a huge emotional & physical challenge (trying to be a good mother, not getting enough sleep blah blah), let alone having to deal the whole prolapse worry.

Best of luck with everything xx

We must have been posting at the same time.

To answer your questions, I did take the pill many years ago (the withdrawal method worked very well for us for 5 years), but I recall feeling that I just didn't feel like myself, but nothing as acute as palpitations, no. So I stopped. Also my mother died of breastcancer, so apparently not a great idea to take the pill (something else the ObGyn dismissed when I told her I wasn't comfortable taking estrogen... grrrrrr...)

Yes, I do think the gaping hole effect does improve (my baby is 6 months) and I can't recall exactly what it used to be like, but I think my prolapse has also got a little bit better too. Nothing miraculous, mind you, but c'est la vie. So hard to be objective as I have become a bit obessessed with checking it out nowadays, so have lost a bit of perspective. Must stop that!

I don't think prolapse particularly affects the chemistry of your vagina so shouldn't have impact on smell (but I am definitely no expert). And I SO know what you mean about not liking your vagina. My partner has always been a (pardon the vulgarity) a self confessed 'minge man', so it is a great irony that this is the part of me to have gone kaputt! BUT on the plus side, and I REALLY hope this will be the same for you, he reckons he doesn't notice the difference when having sex (although the first couple of times, he admitted - after me forcing it out of him - that is was a tiny bit bigger), and also, as long as I can block the prolapse out when doing the deed, I actually think sex is better than before. It's bizarre, but then again this condition does appear to be full of contradictions!!!

I like your online name. curious if it is specific to prolapse!!! i relate very well to all you have said. i actually wanted to go back to withdrawl method, thinking "well we had to do invitro, so what are the chances".....but then i have heard of people getting preg really easily after invitro. so much like you, don't want to risk it. i plan to ask a few more docs before making a decision about maybe going on the pill.
i also like what you have said about your vagina. i have many, many girlfriends and very few talk about this. none talked about it until i pulled it out of them. i too might be checking things out down there a bit too often, but some days it feels better and i just have to check. other days i hope my old vagina will reappear!!!! never saw a vagina like this in a porn i don't think my husband will have seen this new version either. is everyone walking around like this. i look at the millions of women who have had children and think, "what does hers look like after 5 kids???" does anyone else morn the loss of their former vagina or is it too early for me to know how it will finally be. when i eventually become brave and sexual again i will let ya know if i have a similar experience as you. maybe it feels better to the guys, sort of like a water balloon rubbing against them...hhmm who knows.

Was feeling particularly cynical when I signed up for this forum. Trying to work on being a positive person at one with my bulgy bits now.....

It's late in London and I will now go to bed giggling about men rubbing themselves against water balloons... tee heee...

But before I do, just wanted to share what a couple of my friends, both of whom have had children have told me about their nether regions (neither of them have prolapses). One told me after a few glasses of wine that after her first child, she used to get out of the bath and half the bath water used to drain back out of her, such was the cavernous nature of her remodelled vagina! The other one, even before having children, used to complain about her 'bucket fanny' (we use 'fanny' for the front bit, rather than the back bit in the UK), and now with one child and one on the way, says there is so much room in there she can't even feel her husband in certain positions.

So it does seem that only a minority of women get away with childbirth without some significant rearranging of the furniture downstairs!

Goodnight ladies.

i will actually be hitting the hay soon also since my baby is already asleep, and the first time down is the longest. then the rest of the night is all downhill when it comes to the sleep (he is 11 weeks).
this vagina stuff had me thinking. if we still got prolapses due to too much pushing in labor, etc. but had c-sections. would the terrible "falling out" feeling of the prolapse be less problematic because our vaginal opening would be smaller????? also, do younger women bounce back better...sorry if i sound like a moron!

jsnyc...if you feel pressured, take a few minutes to step back and ask yourself how strongly you feel about bf. if you're willing to give it up in hopes of the prolapse improving more quickly, than that's one thing. the only reason I'm sticking my nose in here is because I've learned the hard way that I cannot rely on medical professionals to protect the sanctity of my body and to celebrate its strengths. its become my soapbox, and I hate to see drs telling women what to do when they don't really know the ramifications of their recommendations. this is about induction, elective c/s, episiotomy, the list goes on and on.
do not feel embarassed, I am only strong now because I once fell for it all, hook, line and sinker. now I know a bit more, and I know that no one cares more about my body than I do. so doctors may know more about disease and yes, there is a time to rely on their wisdom. but prolapse is one of those things that is not life threatening, and you really can make these decisions on your own.
if you don't feel strongly about bf, and do not think you will regret weaning so soon, then try weaning and see what happens. but I hope you won't give it up because you're feeling pressured. time is on your side. prolapse is not life threatening, and if you start implementing the posture described here, its likely that it will not get any worse while your body gets back to its pre pg estrogen levels.

and just so I don't forget to mention...I've been at this for over two years now. when I first got here I was depressed and desperate too. I was ready to march into a surgeons office and tell him to fix everything like it was, just give me my vagina back!
good thing I found this site before I did that, I would've regretted it and of course, there wouldve been no turning back

but my baby calls now so Ive got to go

Hi ladies

Jsnyc, I think you might be playing Russion Roulette by using withdrawal as contraception. It is counterintuitive for a male to withdraw just as he is about to ejaculate, and semen is released into the vagina well before that. You did say that another baby would freak you out. Well, be prepared to be freaked out!

Our first two babies were conceived with infertility treatment and my ostetrician and I laughed at the idea of contraception.

Our third pregnancy, which resulted in our lovely younger son in May 1987 was 'an immaculate conception' as far as I could see (No extra-curricular activities on my part!), the thrill of our lives.

We decided to use condoms 'just in case' from then on, then a fourth pregnancy four years later, a the result of a condom slipped on too late, reminded me of the folly of the whole damned thing! As it turned out the fourth pregnancy fizzled out at 10 weeks with a dramatic trip to Accident and Emergency in the middle of the night, which was really sad, but life goes on. On the positive side it did give my husband the encouragement that he needed to have a vasectomy which I was very relieved about.

A close friend of mine also experienced two pregnancies after serious infertility treatment for the first baby.

Think again! It is more common than you might think.

Jsync and Cynical, have a trawl through the posts using the search box and you will see that many women have experienced what they consider to be over-large vaginas as a result of vaginal childbirth.

Sometimes it is just the body taking its time with recovery, in which case Wholewoman posture and Kegals should help it regain some tone, and it should get to its best some time after twelve months postpartum.

However, sometimes an episiotiomy is not sutured well, or a tear does not heal completely, which does leave the entrance to the vagina larger than it should be, because the strong perineal muscle remains torn and unable to hold the two sides of the perineum together properly when healed. Some women do indeed have surgical repair of this muscle, but I am not sure how well it works. It seems to depend on where the cut/tear is, and how it has healed, and of course the skill of the surgeon.

I would suggest that you seek another opinion or two about whether the perineum has healed properly. It should be quite a solid, thick muscle once it has *fully recovered* from childbirth. Complete recovery of vagina and other tissues can take years, especially if there are subsequent pregnancies, but now, at the age of 54 I don't think my vulva and vagina is a really lot bigger than it was pre-pregnancy. I am still menstruating regularly. Yes, it is looser but still perfectly functional sexually and my perineum is still quite trampoline-like and well toned.

However. My first baby was born August 1982, second pregnancy (birth date May 1985) my ovaries were hyperstimulated and my abdomen blew up like a small fitball with ovarian cysts by 8 weeks pregnant, to the point that I was hospitalised. I could hardly breathe and could not eat, only sip fluids. 5 litres of fluid were drained off my abdominal cavity. Actually I was at risk of having a stroke, but nobody told me that at the time. By the time I was 12 weeks pregnant I was normal size again but my pelvic floor was totally stuffed and remained that way through pregnancy, my perineum stretched and bulging all the time. It didn't get better after nine months of pregnancy and I needed electrical stimulation therapy a couple of times at about three months postpartum to wake up all the nerves controlling my pelvic floor muscles so I could get them active again. Come to think of it, it was an absolute nightmare, but now only a distant memory. But that's how things can change dramatically with time.

Caesarian section is no guarantee either. I was just reading a post this morning about a woman who experienced uterine prolapse after caesarian. Prolapse is all about a lot more factors than simply vaginal birth, and caesarian sections have their risks as well, one of which is the scar tissue from the incision which affects the way the body's fascial structure supports itself.

I am hoping that HRT will not be necessary for me, but I am aware that you might need to try several different types before getting it right. It would be sensible to go to somebody who knows their HRT very well, and has a lot of experience in prescribing it, whether synthetic or bio-identical, depending on which camp you go for! Don't just take the family doctor's advice.



Just wanted to add my two pence worth.

Re: Withdrawal method, yes, agreed, not the most fool proof method, but my partner is exceptionally well disciplined at it (honestly - we had to de-train him when we started trying for a baby), and although that doesn't solve the issue of pre-ejaculate, there are risks with any contraception.

Re: too much pushing causing prolapse. I am pretty sure my prolapse was reasonably well underway before pregnancy, and that it progressed throughout. I only know this with hindsight, as clearly there was a time when I didn't really pay constant attention to my bits! I had a textbook birth with a short pushing phase, no intervention, water birth, normal sized baby. I think maybe I could have been better coached during the pushing phase and thereby avoided some of the damage, and (I'm sorry) but I do think I would have a less severe prolapse had I had a c-section, but then who knows what else may have gone wrong and I would now be on a different forum ranting about different things!!!

Hi Cynical

Sorry if you thought I was trying to tell you you're wrong. Of course it is your decision what sort of contraception you use. I was not clear that you were aware of its pitfalls, and just wanted to clarify them.

And, though I am against caesarian section for my own reasons, I am reasonably sure that there are women who have found caesarian section births have fulfilled their needs. And, as you say, it is all a bit hypothetical after the event.

The trouble is, with all this stuff about birthing and prolapses, that nobody really knows what causes what, and none of the establishment doctors seem to know how to prevent prolapse or treat prolapse without surgery (or if they do, they are keeping it a secret from everyone), nor do they seem to know enough about the normal progress of labour without medical management, because they only seem to read their own research papers which are about medically managed labour.

I have had three hospital labours varying from full management to spontaneous,independent, active labour and unassisted birth. Women who have not birthed in a supportive environment before are in no position to tell doctors and nurses what they want, and with small families being the norm women don't get many bites at the cherry.

I have always wondered why community midwifery programmes even exist. Twenty years after my childbearing days finished I can now understand more about how hospitals and doctors operate I can see why. Now I understand more about homebirths from what I have learnt here I can see why.

Sure, CS is often lifesaving, but it is also often done for dubious, unproven and often trivial reasons, and women often do not know what they are letting themselves in for later in life. The reason we don't know what the figures are for problems caused by caesarian or by vaginal birth, is that the research has not been done and because the reasons are often complex anyway.

I too am a bit of cynic. I am a bit cynical about doctors who confidently say this is better than that without having a foot to stand on; doctors who tell women to give up breastfeeding so their prolapse can get better; doctors who tell women that surgery is the only way to fix prolapse. And I really have difficulty when a woman says, "The doctor said so." without finding out anything for themselves. We all owe it to ourselves and our families to find out exactly what we are in for before submitting to anything a doctor says we should do, whether it be exercises, surgery, drug treatment or whatever. That's my rant. Hope it has not offended.



No offence taken whatsoever. I enjoyed your rant very much and concur totally with your thoughts on medical establishment. Since a child I have always hated going to the doctor, as it always made me feel like some pathetic, helpless victim. So by the time I came to have a baby, I had never been in hospital, never had an internal exam and had no intention of doing as I was told when in labour. I made sure I was as informed as I could possibly be about how to have a normal intervention free labour. This stubborness, and probably a reasonable dose of luck, enabled me to birth a robust and healthy baby independently, however there is just a small part of me that thinks, maybe a top notch, more hands-on midwife may have enabled my bits to withstand the strain just a little bit better. That said, I have quite a few midwife friends and alarmingly, none of them seem to know much at all about prolapse. When I first discovered mine, I was confidently told by the midwife that it couldn't possibly be a prolapse as I was 'a young woman'. Needless to say, I am jumping up and down about it to any midwife in earshot now with the link to this website to accompany the ranting.

On balance, though, I would rather have done things my way and live with the consequences of my own informed choices than have been a good girl and done as I was told and have to live with the potentially disasterous consequences of following misinformed doctors' orders.

Anyway, I really have had FAR too much to say for myself of late. And on that note, I am going to try very hard to have a week where I think of things other than my bulgey bits.

Have a great week one and all!

thank you so much for your concern. i am so happy to have a place to vent about all of this stuff and get support. yes i feel pressure because of the docs saying they can't fully assess how my prolapse will heal til after i stop breastfeeding. but i have, even since yesterday become more comfortable with this decision. yes it makes me sad. i look at my beautiful angel and want to do what is most natural as a mom. not to mention making a bottle at 3am sucks!! lol. i have had a really bad year. although i was hit by a taxi (as a pedestrian), back in march. had to go through a terrible surgery and try not to take too much pain medicine due to pregnancy. lost all independence and had to be cared for by my mom and husband for over 3 months...couldn't walk. had to be taken outside in a wheelchair while my mom pushed the stroller. and still am far from normal with my leg. so now, i just want to take the quickest route to possibly get my postpartum health back. i know there is no definite evidence about estrogen levels and breast feeding. but it is a known fact that women of menopause years, with decreased estrogen have prolapse. believe me, you all are seasoned veterans, especially you and louise, and i take in everything you say. but i am moving forward with this. just so you know, i was already weaned down to a few feeds per night. i have so many doc appts and PT appts. that i was unable to keep up with enough pumping to get out of the house. so the weaning isn't as drastic as it may sound. i know prolspse isn't life threatening. but i want just a taste of my old life before i was hit by this idiot. thanks for caring. j

louise,the title of your post would be great for a book or play!!! anyway. i hear ya about the withdrawl method and would think the same thing. unfortunately, not to put out my dirty laundry but my poor hubby has a hard time ejaculating anyway. part of the reason for our invitro. so the chance of him actually ejaculating in the right place at the right time is very very slim. however, i am considering the pill because among other problem i had a large fiboid during pregnancy (probably didn't help with the weight of my poor uterus), and more level hormones may help maintain any fibroid problems. after reading your post, i was curious if the electrical stimulation helped. i am actually having that now for the next 6 weeks. j

thanks for posting that
after thinking about my last post (I know, I should think BEFORE I post) I realized that I probably sounded all judgemental and condescending, which I really did not mean at all.
I'm happy to hear that you're ok with your decision to wean at this point and hoping you start to see some positive changes soon. please do keep us up to date.



Hi Jsync

It sounds like you are going pretty well with all that life has thrown at you lately. How much can a woman take? Keep your chin up. Better days are ahead (and you have your dear husband and lovely baby and a healing knee!).

Yeah, the electrical stimulation thing was OK. It was a long time ago. All I remember was that I had electrodes attached to me in the groin area somewhere and a vaginal probe. I think it was called Interferential therapy. I only had a couple of treatments I think, because AIDS had just been discovered and the Hospital suspended use of that machine because they didn't know much about the disease, whether or not the machine could be an agent for passing it on, or how they could overcome the related problem of using the probe for different people. The small number of treatments were just enough help to kind of re-establish the nerve pathway and the movement of the muscles. Once they could move I could do Kegals. Before that they were paralysed completely.

I think Christine is not an advocate of this type of therapy, but that may be because it will probably do little to help prolapses, and it is not a natural treatment at all. I agree with her on this, but I also believe that paralysed pelvic floor muscles are no use to anybody! I will do what I have to do to get any muscle in my body to work, as they all have a function to perform. Also I think the body awareness you get from working them is great homework for good sex.