Updated: Mar 23, 2020
Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse:
1. A feeling of heaviness or fullness in your pelvic area – often, this feeling gets worse as the day progresses or when you cough
2. Painful sex – sometimes this is described as feeling like something is falling out of your vagina once you have finished having sex
3. Urinary or fecal incontinence – sometimes this is also manifested as a frequent urge to urinate
4. Bleeding from the vaginal area – you may also have trouble inserting a tampon
5. A bulge or protrusion coming from the vaginal cavity – this is a bulge that can be seen or felt; sometimes both
Some women who have a mild form of prolapse never even know they have a one. With symptoms like incontinence or bleeding, they just chalk it up to being something “normal” after pregnancy and nothing is ever done about it, even if symptoms last for an extended period of time. This is why I encourage all women, pregnant and postpartum, to visit a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist to be evaluated for any weakness or damage to the pelvic floor muscles that could be helped or remedied with therapy. And that’s also why seeing a PFPT (Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist) is at the top of my list for remedies to a pelvic organ prolapse.
Treatment for Pelvic Organ Prolapse:
1. Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy – seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist is an important part of any pregnancy or postpartum journey. These therapists are trained to identify all kinds of dysfunctions, including POP, and can provide guidance to help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and make a better recovery.
2. Pessary – a pessary is a device that is inserted into the vagina in order to help support those organs that may be affected in your particular prolapse. Pessaries come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, so your doctor can help you decide what will work best for you. They can also be used to help with urinary incontinence.
3. Healthy eating – particularly, if you are having trouble with fecal incontinence, maintaining a diet that is high in fiber can help you pass your bowel movements more easily.
4. Surgery – there are a variety of surgical options to remedy a prolapse. Often, surgeons will use your own tissue or a synthetic mesh to support the organs contributing to the prolapse. If your prolapse involves organs such as your uterus, you have the option of having it removed entirely to eliminate the problem.
While pelvic organ prolapse can be frustrating, inconvenient, and at times even embarrassing, it is not something that you have to just live with because of giving birth to a baby. There is hope and there is help! Recognize symptoms if you have them and then be your own advocate! Even if your doctor tells you that what you’re experiencing is fine, schedule a visit to a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist to be evaluated. Keep searching until you get the answer to your discomfort and pain! You will be able to get help and find some relief from your symptoms.