Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a medical condition in which the pelvic organs, such as the bladder, rectum, uterus, and small intestine drop or descend into or through the vagina. It can also occur when one or more of these organs protrude out of the vaginal opening.
POP can cause pain with sexual intercourse as well as urinary and bowel problems. The most common cause of POP is the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles due to childbirth. In addition to this direct trauma from axial loading during delivery (i.e., pushing), pregnancy hormones may relax connective tissue surrounding these pelvic organs and weaken it over time.
Other causes include chronic straining associated with constipation, existing hysterectomy, prior pelvic surgery, and aging. Women who are pregnant or have recently given birth should be aware of the risk of POP and seek medical attention if they notice any symptoms such as a feeling of heaviness in the vagina, lower back pain, or difficulty inserting tampons.
Additionally, if you experience urinary incontinence (involuntary loss of urine), frequent urinary tract infections, constipation, or fecal incontinence (involuntary leakage of stool) you may want to get checked for POP.
How Can Physical Therapy Help With Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Physical therapy can be an effective form of treatment for pelvic organ prolapse. It is designed to strengthen the abdominal, back, and pelvic floor muscles as well as improve posture, coordination, and balance. We are able to provide lifestyle advice such as ways to reduce stress and weight management, which also help in treating symptoms related to prolapse.
Exercises used in physical therapy have been proven useful in treating pelvic organ prolapse. Activities like gentle stretching, light walking, swimming, yoga, or Pilates are all beneficial for increasing flexibility and relaxation around the pelvis – making it easier to perform exercises with better results.
Other activities like lifting weights or using resistance bands, can work to improve strength. Regular exercise is an important part of managing pelvic organ prolapse. The exact exercises a person does will depend on the type and severity of their condition as well as any other health conditions they may have.
A physical therapist can provide personalized advice and guidance in creating a safe and effective exercise program. In addition to exercise, it is important for individuals with pelvic organ prolapse to make lifestyle changes that promote healthy habits such as reducing stress, getting enough rest, eating a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Working with a physical therapist can help patients develop strategies for making these changes effectively and safely. By incorporating physical therapy into their treatment plan, individuals with pelvic organ prolapse can improve their symptoms, increase strength and flexibility in the pelvic region, and make lasting lifestyle changes to help manage their condition over the long term.
It is important for individuals to work closely with a physical therapist to ensure they are following an exercise program that works best for them.
What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)?
Prolapse can be caused by a variety of factors, such as childbirth, pregnancy, menopause, and age. It is important to be aware of the symptoms associated with prolapse in order to get them treated promptly. Common signs of prolapse include a feeling of heaviness or pressure in the vagina or pelvis, pelvic pain, incontinence, or difficulty emptying your bladder completely.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical advice straight away. Early diagnosis and treatment for prolapse can help reduce its progression and prevent further damage.
Here are some of the common symptoms we see when people are struggling with Pelvic Organ Prolapse:
1. Pelvic pressure/heaviness – This is often felt as a sensation of fullness or heaviness within the pelvic area, which can worsen with physical activity.
2. Urinary leakage or incontinence – Due to the weakened tissues in the pelvis, some individuals may experience difficulty controlling their bladder leading to urinary leakage.
3. Painful intercourse – Loss of support in the pelvic area can lead to painful sexual intercourse due to tissues rubbing together and stretching too much.
4. Bowel incontinence – Weakness in the muscle walls near the rectum can cause an inability to control bowel movements leading to fecal leakage. If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, make sure to reach out to get the conversation started on how you can best treat prolapse.
Are You Struggling With Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Looking to Find the Next Steps in Your Treatment?
Are you struggling with pelvic organ prolapse and have been unable to find treatment to help with your symptoms? Then make sure that you contact us at Legacy Physical Therapy to start the conversation on how to best treat these issues.
We understand that you want to stay active, and do the things you love, and know that when struggling with pelvic organ prolapse it can have you feeling defeated.
That is why we recommend that you come to see us so we can help you understand the best ways to keep active and enjoy life without concerns regarding prolapse. If you are struggling with the symptoms mentioned above, we would love to invite you for a Pelvic Floor Assessment, which will enable you to get a full diagnosis and help you get answers on ways you can treat or prevent pain.
You can contact us by telephone at (636) 225-3649 to claim your pelvic floor assessment.
Other Free Resources To Help You With Symptoms You May Be Experiencing
Download our free Bladder Control Issues, Pelvic Pain, and Pelvic Organ Prolapse reports.
Read our blog – Top 10 Misconceptions About Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
Read our blog – The 5’s of Pelvic Floor Function