By Leslie Hopkins; Confident Core Fitness Founder & Certified Core Exercise Specialist
Pelvic Organ Prolapse or POP refers to the loss of support of one or more of the pelvic organs: bladder, uterus, rectum, small intestines, and the vagina.
Your pelvic floor muscles support the internal pelvic organs, they attach the tailbone to the pubic bone and the two sitting bones to each other. They function like a hammock to support the bladder, uterus, and rectum. The sketch below, courtesy of www.myPFM.com, gives you a good visual of what POP is.
There are many potential symptoms for POP including pelvic heaviness, a vaginal bulge, a dragging feeling in your pelvis, difficulty emptying your bladder, constipation, low back pain, pelvic pain, tailbone pain, pain with sex, and tampons that push out of the vagina.
Some of the risk factors for developing POP include; pregnancy & childbirth, weight & obesity, heavy lifting, and chronic coughing & constipation.
The following health care providers can help you with a diagnosis; the person that performs your gynecological pelvic exam and most pelvic physical/physiotherapists.
Symptoms or a diagnosis of prolapse come was a myriad of feelings, questions, and fears. I know I’ve experienced these and more. Just remember you aren’t broken, it’s okay to be angry but healing involves acceptance and forward momentum. Surgery is not the only answer, there are some great conservative options like pelvic floor muscle training, modifying how you do things, internal support, and external support.
There is hope and it’s important to work with a team of health care providers that listen and help you find YOUR solution. If you choose surgery, you’re not a failure, many people have found a lot of relief with surgery. If lifting is part of your daily life, learn how to do it properly, and practice it daily. You CAN exercise but need to start slow and progress gradually.
It’s not your fault, it’s not your birth provider’s fault, it’s not your baby’s fault. POP is part of life for close of 50% of all women that give birth and many that don’t.
The bottom line here is, listen to your body and talk about it, don’t let your self-care become lost in your day-to-day activities. There is hope and help for a prolapse.