Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) is more common than you’d think, affecting up to half of adult women. Although it is not life-threatening, it can have a massive impact on quality of life and is often a scary diagnosis for women to receive. However, there are treatment and management options for Pelvic Organ Prolapse that can make it much less of a problem.
WHAT IS A PELVIC FLOOR PROLAPSE?
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when one or more of the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus or rectum) bulges down into the vagina. It happens when the muscles and ligaments in the pelvis are stretched or weak so they can’t hold everything in place. It can happen to the front wall of the vagina (cystocele), back wall of the vagina (rectocele), uterus (uterine) or top of the vagina (vault).
WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Aging and menopause
- Being overweight
- Respiratory conditions causing a chronic cough
- Prolonged constipation/ straining to empty bowels
- Pelvic Surgeries such as a Hysterectomy
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A POP?
- A feeling of heaviness, pressure, bulging or dropping in your Vagina. This may get worse towards the end of the day, with exercise or with lifting
- Difficulty emptying your bladder or bowel
- Discomfort with intercourse
WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE A PELVIC ORGAN PROLPASE?
If you feel that you may have a Pelvic Organ Prolapse, you should see your GP or a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist for an assessment.
Unfortunately, women are often assessed, told they have a Prolapse but don’t need surgery, then sent on their way feeling confused, scared and not knowing what to do next. There is help out there and there are many ways you can improve/ manage your symptoms yourself.....
Pelvic Floor Strengthening exercises can improve your symptoms, reduce the need for surgery and help to decrease the sensation of a prolapse. It’s very important to make sure you are exercising these muscles correctly, a feedback device such as a Pelvic Floor Educator can help with this. You may require more help contracting/ strengthening these muscles using electrical stimulation such as a Neurotrac Continence with a Periform.
If penetration during sex is painful, an Ohnut can help, or using a good quality, natural lubricant (Olive & Bee, YES Water-based organic lubricant or YES Oil-based organic lubricant). If you feel some vaginal discomfort/ irritation during the day a good quality, natural Vaginal Moisturizer (YES Vaginal Moisturizer) can help.