Pelvic organ prolapse may be more common than you think. Prolapse affects 1 in 4 women in their 40s, 1 in 3 in their 60s, and 1 in 2 by their 80s.1 And, while more common in women, men can also suffer from rectum or bladder prolapse.
Is this something you’ve struggled with? Do you…
Feel heaviness, pressure, or like something may fall out “down there”?
Avoid certain exercises or activities that might cause an accidental leak?
Feel self-conscious and less interested in intimacy?
Unfortunately, our medical field tends to dismiss the issue of prolapse as a mere fact of aging or life after giving birth. Because of this seemingly inevitable issue, multimillion-dollar companies like Poise and Thinx have built an industry capitalizing on the management of bladder-related issues.
But, what if we told you there was a long-term solution to your uncomfortable prolapse symptoms?
To be clear, there is NO shame in these products. They serve a valuable purpose when needed. But, these products manage the issue like a bandaid. The bandaid isn’t healing the cut — your body is. But, when our bodies don't know how to heal properly the problem remains or even worsens.
How would you like to NEVER buy products that only manage the issue and instead invest in your pelvic floor’s ability to heal and regain strength and muscle control?
Sound good? Let’s dive in with the basics.
What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
A pelvic organ prolapse (POP or pelvic floor prolapse) is when one of your pelvic organs slips out of position and bulges into the vagina.2
There are three types of prolapse which are defined by the organ that is slipping. You can experience prolapse with your bladder, uterus, or rectum. Additionally, prolapses have grades of severity ranging from 1 to 4.
What Can Cause an Organ Prolapse?
There are many factors that can increase your risk.2 But some of the most common causes are:
Pregnancy and Childbirth
Aging and menopause
Frequent heavy lifting with poor body mechanics
What are the Signs of Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Many describe prolapse as a dragging or heavy feeling in the lower stomach and vaginal area. You may even feel or see a slight bulge in, or protruding from the vagina .1
Bladder functioning may decline, causing you to pee more frequently, not empty the bladder fully, or have leaks when sneezing or coughing.2
Unfortunately, fear-mongering around the issue of pelvic organ prolapse is common. Prolapse is widely misunderstood and frequently not presumed as a treatable issue. So, many women and men simply adapt their lives around the discomfort of prolapse or even the annoyance of bladder leakage.
But we believe education is empowerment. Let's bust a few major myths about Pelvic Organ Prolapse.
5 Major Myths About Pelvic Organ Prolapse
1. You can't lift heavy things
False — lifting heavy things is not a cause of prolapse, rather the poor body mechanics of tensing the pelvic floor muscles while exerting extreme effort creates pressure in the body and can worsen the prolapse. This is the improper way to lift heavy objects. With the right mechanics and breathwork, you can lift safely and avoid pressure on your pelvic organs.
2. Pelvic Organ Prolapse is Painful
False — While there may be a sensation of discomfort and heaviness, pain is not normal for this issue. Your organs are likely not the problem. The culprit is often a hypertonic pelvic floor causing painful muscle tension and spasms.
3. Prolapse is Inevitable after Childbirth
False — while prolapse is very common immediately after giving birth, or even during pregnancy, you can decrease your risk of prolapse with pelvic floor physical therapy. Much like training your muscles for a major physical event; preparing the pelvic floor for birth and recovery is just as important.
4. You can’t have sex with Pelvic Prolapse
False — you can have sex and it should not be painful. Again pain in prolapse is not normal and with the proper physical therapy and treatment, you can continue to have a healthy sex life.
5. Surgery is the only answer
Mostly False— the degree of pelvic prolapse will determine your ability to recover without surgery. There is research to support that grades 1 and 2 pelvic prolapse can be rehabilitated without surgery. We have even seen a few patients with grade 3 prolapse avoid surgery. However, most grade 4 prolapses do require surgical intervention.
Physical Therapy Exercises for Pelvic Floor Prolapse
Maybe you guessed it, but kegels are not going to magically fix your pelvic floor. And, they may be causing you more harm than good.
Exercise prescription should be individualized for each person- this is why there is no perfect program that anyone can do to see full results. We help patients return to lifting and exercising in a safe way that prevents further injury.
Body mechanics and breathing can significantly impact the abdominal pressure that is created in the pelvic floor when
lifting something heavy. When lifting we advise you to…
Keep feet wide, bend low through the knees and hips, and keep the object or weight close to your body.
As you lift the weight, breathe out and gently engage your lower core muscles on the way up.
The goal here is to red
uce pressure on your organs and pelvic floor. Many people bear down on these muscles and hold their breath to lift. This can cause excessive pressure on the pelvic organs. A pelvic floor physical therapist is trained to assess your pressure regulation with your lifting mechanics to know for sure what your body is doing.
Remember, you want to lift with your body's strength — properly contracting the abdominal walls, the pelvic floor, the glutes, and coordinating your breath to assist you.
Are You Ready To Empower Your Body and Rehabilitate Your Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Our society is far too comfortable managing symptoms instead of teaching our bodies how to heal. But Peak Pelvic Health is here to support you.
Dr. Mallory is an expert in the field of pelvic floor health. She has rehabilitated hundreds of patients by providing the very best treatments, support, knowledge, and tools to restore the pelvic floor for optimal quality of life.
Prolapse is largely a pelvic floor function issue. With pelvic floor physical therapy, you can help prevent prolapse, especially before childbirth, and reverse the effects of prolapse long after it has occurred.
If pelvic floor prolapse symptoms have discouraged you, embarrassed you, or kept you from doing what you love. Don’t delay your healing any longer. Book a FREE 15-minute consult TODAY!
We believe you’re worth it.