Weight and Resistance Training - Mom is afraid weights will make my ladyparts fall out

02-16-2013, 09:14 AM
So this winter break when I was at home in the US, I went to the YMCA and got a trainer to give me a couple of lessons in doing squats and deadlifts, because I wanted to try something other than the machines. But now my mother (68 years old) says that I (44 years old) should not lift weights, because it will make my uterus or bladder fall out, because this is something that happens to middle-aged ladies apparently.

I found some discussion of uterine prolapse on the internet, but it seems to be mostly connected with women who have had children (I have not). I'm not squatting a lot as yet -- just added 2 5kg weights to the bar so just over 60lb -- and I'm not really straining at all during the lift. Can any of you help me with some info that will make mom feel better? She is very happy that I have lost weight (she has never been overweight), but she's not an exerciser, and she's convinced that my regular and very moderate 5 days a week x 30-45 minutes of exercise or running is terribly unnatural for a "woman of my age", and is certain to result in injury of some sort.

Never mind that I've been doing this sort of exercise for years, and I'm very healthy (knock on wood), it's my age. Her sister just tripped and broke her hip in December walking in the mall, which may be connected with this anxiety -- my aunt was very sedentary before and now is concerned about doing anything at all for fear of falling again. And of course neither will believe me that part of the point of exercising is to prevent something like this. They just feel that this is something older people should not do. I swear sometimes they are like throwbacks to the 1950s, which is ridiculous since they were teenagers then and you would expect they would have evolved a bit with the rest of the planet.

02-16-2013, 10:09 AM
There is no truth in that. I'm 71 and nothing has fallen out yet and I've been at it a long time.

02-16-2013, 11:11 AM
Couldn't get past the first paragraph...sounds like your mother needs to go back to anatomy school. Keep up the good work!

02-16-2013, 11:14 AM
You could just not discuss it with her? I find it easier to avoid debating people who have absurdly inaccurate views, especially because they are often set in those beliefs, and not open to education.

April Snow
02-16-2013, 12:01 PM
can you tell her you checked with your doctor and he/she says what you are doing is fine? I have no doubt that if you asked your doctor, that is what they would say!

02-16-2013, 12:02 PM
Hi kidjg,

Sadly, pelvic prolapse is a real thing, especially in older women -- it doesn't get talked about very much in public because women tend to find it very embarrassing. But I have overheard my mom talking about it with her friends on the iChat. And I'm not gonna tell her, but one of the risk factors is "repeated heavy lifting." And there's also, how can I put it delicately, a greater risk of leakage when you get to a certain age, which fortunately sounds like it is not related to lifting at all. A lot of it is due to hormonal changes I guess.

Pelvic prolapse:

Quilter, do you do barbell squats/deadlifts? I would LOVE it if I could even get my mom to go to the YMCA Silver Sneakers program regularly. And they do half their exercises sitting in a chair.

April, that's a good idea. Actually I go to the same doctor she does in the US, I wonder if she could even ask him on the next visit. AND he's a runner and he's older than me!

02-16-2013, 12:06 PM
Pelvic prolapse DOES exist, but it is extremely unlikely to happen to a woman who has never had children from safe weight lifting. Millions of women lift weight safely without this issue. I've had my 2nd child 14 weeks ago and can safely lift 125lbs+ squat without causing pelvic prolapse.

It isn't as simple as those who think if you lift a barbell that your vagina will prolapse. Someone who has spent nearly 70 years without any education on weight lifting, like your mother, isn't the best source of safe weight lifting and physiology! :)

02-17-2013, 01:55 AM
Hi everybody, let me clarify, that I am NOT worried about this for myself. I'm trying to find something to make my mom feel better. She has a lot of anxieties in her life right now and I don't want to add to them. So "here is evidence that weightlifting does not contribute to prolapse" is for her, not me.

02-17-2013, 08:11 AM
Hi bronzeager! I belong to another women weightlifting forum where this question is been asked before and the answers it got were that the problem comes from having bad posture, poor form when lifting and also poor pelvis alignment.The normal recommendation for pelvic problems is to do Kegel exercises but that can lead to an imbalance due to lack of glute exercises. It is like the approach of lifting where you do exercises for pushing and pulling so you are balanced, it is not good to work in excess one and not do anything with the other. This is the same for quads and hamstrings, chest and back.

One very good exercise is monkey squats where you just do a squat and stay at the bottom position for as long as you can. If there are problems with incontinence it is very good to try to pee in the shower in a squat position. It would work well with planks and there are some exercises called hypopressive that would work your abs in a safer way than traditional crunch exercises though I still haven't tried them

Anyway, there is really good information about pelvic alignment on this blog: http://www.alignedandwell.com/katysays/

Misti in Seattle
02-17-2013, 09:29 AM
There is no truth in that. I'm 71 and nothing has fallen out yet and I've been at it a long time.

LOL and I am turning 66 soon and so far the only part that has "fallen out" (actually been cut out) is half my thyroid. :) And I have always been extremely active and athletic. Being overweight and sedentary is far more likely to cause problems with "the parts" than is exercising.

However.... there may be no way of convincing your mother of this if she believes otherwise...

Mountain Mamma
02-18-2013, 02:27 PM
There is no truth in that. I'm 71 and nothing has fallen out yet and I've been at it a long time.