Pelvic organ prolapse is the descent of one or more of the pelvic organs towards the vaginal opening. It is normal for the pelvic organs to descend with age and as a result of pregnancy and birth. However, this normal change can also be very bothersome!
Healthcare providers have often told people with prolapse that they must stop exercising. This simply isn’t true! We believe that you can return to the exercise that you love. Your pelvic PT can help you develop a plan to get moving!
What are the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse?
- A visible bulge at the vaginal opening
- A sensation of “falling out,” “bulging,” or a “stuck tampon”
- Difficulty fully emptying bladder or bowels
What do prolapse symptoms mean?
- Some people have significant pelvic organ prolapse but feel no symptoms. Others may have mild pelvic organ prolapse but are very uncomfortable!
- Sensation in the body is complex. This means that more symptoms do not necessarily mean more prolapse.
- What you feel also depends on sleep, stress, exercise, hormonal cycles, bladder, and bowel function. Your physical therapist can help you determine the best plan for you!
What causes prolapse?
- Many factors contribute to prolapse. It is impossible to name one single cause of prolapse.
- Vaginal childbirth with forceps or vacuum assistance is one large factor in developing pelvic organ prolapse.
- Some prolapse is normal after pregnancy, even after cesarean delivery.
- It is normal for those with female anatomy to have some prolapse in older age.
- People who have never been pregnant can also develop pelvic organ prolapse. Chronic constipation, chronic uncontrolled asthma, and significant hypermobility all contribute to risk.
What can pelvic physical therapy do for pelvic organ prolapse?
- Physical therapy helps build your strength and give you strategies to move comfortably. Research shows that it can reduce or eliminate prolapse symptoms! For many people, strengthening the pelvic floor muscles is helpful. Read our article here about how to do pelvic floor strengthening exercises!
- The best way to get more confident is to move! Our physical therapy exercises aren’t done lying on your back. We’ll be squatting, pulling, pressing, running, and jumping!
- Your physical therapist can share strategies for improving bowel and bladder function. You can also discuss concerns around sexual intimacy and any other questions.