Difficult birth caused this?


I love my son. That being said, I am a 41 year old woman who 6 weeks ago gave birth to my 1st child. I was healing perfectly until I decided to do a few crunches last week. I felt something odd between my legs about an hour after. I decided to wait a few days to see if whatever it was would pop back in. It didn't. I had the 'works' for the birth. That is...4 hours of pushing thru an epidural (that numbed me), a cathetor, tearing, episiotomy and finally a vacuum to finish. I read now that likely these all contributed to my now diagnosed "grade 1 cystocele".

I have read through this site for the past few days and am feeling not as alone.

I have to ask these questions though:

Can this improve with excercise alone?
Will my grade 1 possibly become non-existent?
How long does the heavy discharge last?
How does one explain to the love of their life in regards to ahem..intimacy?
I was encouraged by my gyno this a.m. to "walk, do kegals for now...then surgery when I decide that further family is no longer an option".

I am stunned and amazed that this has happened to me.... a runner, swimmer, cyclist etc. but as I read many women on here are of similiar siutations.

I am so sad, mad and yet think...things could be worse so chill out. I do love my son incredibly but hope that I won't resent him one day.

Thank you for listening and thank you for this incredible site.

Newly diagnosed,

welcome and congrats on the new baby! I have a little one too, he's 10 weeks old and keeps me on a short leash so to speak, so this will probably be a quick response..

first, know that your body has an incredible capacity for healing. and you are still very very postpartum. go easy on yourself please. and lay off the crunches. they are probably the worst sort of exercise when you have a prolapse. kegels, well if you must, do a few, kegels cannot reverse a prolapse.

take some time to read through the faq's here and try to learn the posture. probably the single most beneficial change you could make to help your prolapse. and no, you are not the first athletic, in shape woman to find herself here.

prolapse can improve, mine did. with posture, exercise, attention to diet & clothing and lots and lots of emotional work!

you ask about heavy discharge...do you mean the pp bleeding? thats probably a question for your dr, but mine always got worse when I was doing too much. a sign to slow down.

grade 1 prolapse becoming non existant....I don't know. what you really want is to be symptom free, a bit of a bulge that doesn't bother you wouldn't bother you, kwim? and yes, it can become symptom free, not that I can promise you that, only tell you that it has happened.

explaining this to the love of your life...that's something you do wihtin the context of your relationship, different for everyone. my man claims not to notice anything.

wanted to address the resentment issue but my baby's up and hungry

Thank you for responding so quick. I will re-read your post a few times to let things sink in.

To clarify discharge, no not blood but the white milky discharge that comes with this issue.

You have made me feel better already. And for that, I thank you


I'm 56, and athletic too. I discovered my prolapse when the last hurrah to a nightmare menopause finally ended. I had put aside my yoga for a while because part of the menopause was an inability to walk or stand. Now, only a few months into the prolapse, and a couple of months back into the yoga, my prolapse is disappearing. Today I was on my feet about 8 hours and I didn't feel a thing.

I do hot Bikrum Yoga 3 times a week. I take 40 kids to the swimming pool and teach them how to swim twice a week, and tomorrow we are taking a 10 hour spelunking trip to Mammoth Cave.

Being in top shape is a must for me. Having a prolapse is terrible, but you can improve this thing with a lot of effort. Kagels won't make it better, although I have to say I add a really deep Kagel to most of my yoga moves.


My feedback to you as a fellow athlete is to slow down and let your body heal. As athletes it is easy to get into the mindset of pushing through pain and discomfort and that just does not work with prolapse. Pregnancy books talk about this magical six week cut off which certainly did not apply to me and was a big shock!!! My youngest is 16 months old. I have been managing prolapse since after the birth of my 5 year old. I have returned to running, weights etc. but it has been a slow process of experimenting with what works for me. Reading the forum has been the key to resuming an active life style. I recall helpful comments from an exercise standpoint from Lilly Anne, UK mummy and Alemama to name a few if you want to use the search function on the forum.
Each woman's body responds differently but I found it helpful to hold off on the crunches. After baby #1 I went to PT and was taught gentle leg slides etc to help my abs which were very weak after the delivery. I also went to PT for urinary incontinence which I also found very helpful this was biofeedback no electrical stim which some have mentioned. Now I do kegals in moderation only. That being said I am back to doing some traditional ab exercises such as sit ups on the decline bench and reverse crunches but I am very careful and do them only in moderation. Again this has been an ongoing experiment for what works for me.
Good luck and feel free to ask as many questions as you need to and I have found Christine's books to be a key to managing my prolapse.

Hi Sheppie,

Your story sounds very familiar to mine. I pushed for 2.5 hours, but everything else you describe is exactly what I encountered. My son was 9' lbs, 7 ounces.

I don't know if your cystocele will disappear but it very well could. If I could change one thing about my postpartum recovery, it would have been to rest as much as possible. I am and was very active, so I started to do things too quickly, sort of wanting to convince myself that I was just fine.

My son turns two next week, and I can say that I mostly have zero symptoms. My cystocele is also grade 1, but becomes 2-ish when I'm sick, and especially if I get a cough.

I wear a pessary when I do exercises that can worsen the prolapse (Pilates and long yoga classes), but other than that, life is normal.

Like you, I am absolutely shocked and stunned that this happened to me. Still. I'm 37 and this condition sometimes makes me feel older. But all of that said, it really doesn't prevent me from living my life exactly how I want to.

When I ovulate and get my period, I have to rest or else I feel heavy downstairs. That's it.

By the way, I'm not sure why your doc even mentioned surgery if you're a grade 1. I guess they just don't have anything else to recommend at this point.

All the best, and enjoy your little precious one!


Do not fret - All can be better than it is today...

Can this improve with excercise alone?

With Kegels? No! Kegels if you do to many will tire out the muscle and will make thinsg worse! With posture it can get a helluva lot better so that it does not take over your life anymore...
Who said you have a grade1 POP? As if it is outside it would not be a grade1 I am afraid. But - nevertheless - the posture will get things closer to where they belong - You are post partum your body is healing - Take it easy and things will heal - maybe not 100% but you are in the healing and getting over the birth time for your body

Will my grade 1 possibly become non-existent?

As I said above - who told you this is a grade1. No it will never be totally fixed - But I had a grade 2 or so (2.5 if i remember correctly) and now I don't even notice it 99% of the time

How long does the heavy discharge last?

Someone else will hafta address this one as I have never had any discharge at all..

How does one explain to the love of their life in regards to ahem..intimacy?

Tell him the truth - But when you lie down things will fall back into place and there is a good chance he won't notice..

I was encouraged by my gyno this a.m. to "walk, do kegals for now...then surgery when I decide that further family is no longer an option".

Gyno shmyno... He knows nothing of what the female body can REALLY do with posture. You do not hafta have surgery. Once you have been here a while and the posture is within you - This - You will know :)

Enjoy your baby - and do not rush to get back into the hubbub of 'normal life' Things can and WILL get alot better :)


Look into the eyes - They hold the key!

Hi Sheppie,

I found myself here last week with a newly diagnosed cystocele too.
If you would like somebody in a very similar situation to yourself to go through this with then I would love to be in touch by email with you. Please let me know.

Zoe x

I have a beautiful 6 wk old baby boy and a wonderful 2 and a half yr old daughter who make it all worth while :-)

Hi there

Sure we can all walk this walk together. Probably a good idea. I am pretty bummed out today but I suspect as I gradually accept this I will become stronger. I did purchase the book today. So once baby is asleep I will delve into it. You are all so strong and positive. I cannot be that.....yet.


Hi Sheppie,
If you want to contact me direct click on my username at the top of my post and you will have the option to send me an email via a contact form. If you send me your email address that way it wont be posted in the forum and will just come to me.
I read the book myself a couple of days ago and although I didnt find it easy going it was useful.
Believe me I am not strong and positive all of the time but I have to try to be or I'd just go under.
I look forward to hearing from you,

Zoe x

I have a beautiful 5 wk old baby boy and a wonderful 2 and a half yr old daughter who make it all worth while :-)

Hi Sheppie,

I just wanted to chime in with what I have discovered for me during all of this. It does not mean that this will be true for you though, we are all different.

I also used to be extremely active running 3- 4 marathons a year and cycling the odd century ride as well for good measure. This was the hardest thing for me as I suspected that things would have to change, and I will be perfectly honest they have.

I have conducted some not very scientific research on my body and find that any activity which is jarring in nature, running, jumping etc causes the lower third of my front and back vaginal walls to bulge downwards. It feels quite uncomfortable as well, as though it is sagging. I have tried it with a hard kegel, this reduces the bulge, but not completely, and unfortunately it doesn't seem to matter if I am in the posture or not, the same thing happens. I also find that if I cough or sneeze, even when bending over, the walls still bulge leading me to believe that I have inherent weakness in the vagnal walls. Having said all of this, I am never bothered by symptoms at all, and don't bulge usually unless I bear down or increase intra abdominal pressure in some way.

The good news in all of this is that my uterus which was by far my worse prolapse, at the vaginal opening, remains high at all times, and never moves at all. My ob recently said it is no longer considered to be prolapsed at all, pretty amazing healing going on there. I am 18 months post partum.

I have really had to look deep inside myself at who I am to get through all of this. I no longer run at all, but I walk at a pretty brisk pace every day and do Tai Chi and a little yoga. I recently bought the "Dance The Chakras" workout DVD Christine recommended a while back and love it. I also dip into the moves in the latest version of Christine's book and love those as well.

I wont be running any more marathons, I accept that now. I plan to try to get a pessery fitted and see if that helps with support, but even if it does I will not be running too much. The wierd thing is I don't miss it much at all. I am quite happy these days, (never thought I would get here), and quite accepting of the way my life is going. I also have a chronic back problem which was not being helped at all by my obsessive running, so in the end it all works out I guess! :)

In terms of every day life, I do pretty much everything I did before and seem to suffer no problems right now, although I am pretty sure that certain activities make my prolapse bulge a little. I lift my beautiful girls, carefully, and I do all my yardwork like before, including digging big holes for trees. I pay attention to my body though, and I am mindful of trying to reduce intra abdominal pressure throughout the day. It is amazing though what increases the pressure, even getting up from a chair does if not done in the right way. I no longer carry wheel barrows full of rocks like I did before, but that was kind of silly of me anyway I think! I really just carry on like normal and will not let this get me down any more.

I am in no way saying that you will not be able to do the activities you love again, but you will find your own way through all of this and come out the other side feeling stronger and healthier as I have. It is all such a process.

Anyway, take care and know that you are supported and cheered a long by us all here! x

About the running, will have to mourn that or maybe not? Someone on here said that they resumed running. I guess I am newly pp so need to chill out, wait and see. I did go and buy the book yesterday and will hopefully be able to start it today.

My friend told me that breastfeeding women commonly experience this and that once I am done with BF, then it may return to normal? But from what I have read off of here and elsewhere, that is not so.

I told my sister of this site yesterday. She is a nurse, has 3 kids and was surprised that her little sister has suffered this. I told her I was not alone. That there are many many women who do and the age ranges are astounding. Not to mention the physicality of some of the posters.

Anyhow, I have no intention of doing any surgery at this time. I just went thru labor so the thought of going thru something else, no way.

I agree Sheppie, there are several women here who still run and there is no reason why you wont be able. For me it is more of a personal choice as it feels so wierd but that may well not be true for you. You have loads of time with this! PA runner still runs fine, and so does another poster Mare, so there is lots of variance with all of this.

I've felt very much the same way as you but one thing I can say is that I've never resented my daughter about it, and she's over 2 now. I don't think you need to worry yourself over that unless you start feeling that way. I feel very angry at the ob, that my life has changed so much etc, but it's not directed towards my child. I think the maternal/child bond might have a bit to do with this not even entering my head.

Good luck with everything, this site is great for support and ideas, as is Christine's book.