Do you have a constant feeling that some of your abdominal organs might fall out?
Don’t worry – you’re not crazy. You may be suffering from pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse is when the organs inside of your pelvic cavity descend into the vaginal vault and may even extend to the outside of your body. These organs may be your bladder, urethra, uterus, or rectum. This may sound like something from a zombie movie but one in five women in the United States are actually suffering from pelvic organ prolapse.
What is the cause of pelvic organ prolapse?
There are many causes for pelvic organ prolapse. The number one cause is pregnancy (labor and delivery, included). It can also be sparked by obesity, respiratory conditions (due to chronic coughing), pelvic cancers, or hysterectomies. Another cause can be chronic constipation due to increased pressure in the pelvic cavity.
Pro tip: a squatty potty is a great investment and should become your new best friend. It will help you keep your pelvic floor relaxed while you pee and poo.
How do you know if you’re actually suffering from pelvic organ prolapse?
Some symptoms may be:
- fullness in the vaginal area,
- Your organs can feel like they’re going to fall,
- your lower back may ache, or
- you may experience pain with sex.
Other symptoms are:
- accidental leaking of urine or feces, or
- chronic constipation.
But, what if you are suffering from these symptoms?
It’s okay to feel comfortable looking at your body.
These symptoms can be linked to many other problems that may be going on in your body which is why getting checked out is so important. Everyone loves those regularly scheduled pelvic exams with your doctor (not!). But, there are at-home self checks you can do in order to see if what you have is serious enough to be seen by a professional. If you’re someone who needs a professional’s reassurance, you can check with a pelvic floor therapist to ease any worries or to start treatment to alleviate these symptoms.
In this video you’ll learn how to do a self-check for pelvic organ prolapse. If you are concerned about the findings, seek out assessment from a pelvic floor physical therapist. Many women fear they are “broken” or that surgery is the only answer to correct pelvic organ prolapse, but rest assured that conservative care is an option and can be the answer to help you feel better again.
Pelvic floor physical therapy is gentle and your therapist can help ease your worries and get you started on treatment and self-care to alleviate these symptoms.
Treatment typically includes:
- breath work to normalize abdominal pressure,
- pelvic floor and inner core strengthening exercises, and
- hands-on work to help your body heal.
You can begin your search for a therapist in your area by consulting the Global Pelvic Health Alliance Directory; simply search by geographical location or specialty.
If you live in or near Colorado Springs or Woodland Park, CO, request a free Discovery Session with our specialist physical therapist to sit down face-to-face and get your questions answered. We’ve helped many women with pelvic organ prolapse feel confident in their bodies again; you don’t have to go it alone!