What is a Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
A Prolapse is when one or more of the Pelvic Organs (the Bladder, Bowel or Uterus) slips from their normal position. This can happen when the Pelvic Floor Muscles become weak and are no longer able to do their job of supporting the Pelvic Organs. There are a number of different factors that can make our Pelvic Floor weak, one of these is pregnancy and childbirth.
What does a Prolapse feel like?
There are a number of different symptoms that may indicate that you have a Prolapse. Some are very subtle symptoms which you may put down to being something else, you may even say to yourself ‘It just feels like that because I’ve had a baby’. If anything doesn’t feel right or feels different to how it did before then you really should get checked out. Symptoms include:
- Heaviness or dragging sensation down below
- Lower back pain
- Difficulty inserting or keeping a tampon in place
- A bearing down inside the pelvis
- Difficulty with sex (laxity or difficult penetration)
- Difficulty emptying the bowels
- Anything that just doesn’t feel right down below
Can you Prevent a Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
It depends…..If your Pelvic Floor is weak from pregnancy and childbirth then yes you can take steps to avoid a Prolapse occurring. This would include:
1) Commencing a specialist post-natal exercise programme that strengthens your Pelvic Floor and addresses the other post-natal changes to your body including Posture, Breathing, Diastasis Recti)
2) Avoiding movements that put pressure on your Pelvic Floor:
- Straining to go to the toilet (important to keep your bowels moving and avoid constipation)
- Lifting heavy weights,
- Squatting, jumping, jogging, running
- Any other high impact activities
3) Implementing strategies into your day to day life as a mum, for example, how you move and taking care when you lift anything be it your baby, car seat, pram or shopping to name a few.
If however, the Prolapse has already occurred, then you really need to be assessed to determine the type and severity before commencing an exercise programme.
The overriding advice is that if things don’t feel right down below then they probably aren’t. It’s always best to get checked! So make an appointment with your GP or a Women’s Health Physio.