Physical Therapy Basics for Pelvic Organ Prolapse

What is Prolapse:

According to the American Urogynecological Society, prolapse occurs when the pelvic floor muscles or connective tissues weaken or tear. The pelvic organs fall into the vagina similar to a hernia. There are various types as pictured below.

Women often think they are the only one with this issue. Nope! Up to 50% of women on vaginal exam have been identified with some degree of prolapse.

Symptoms:

We see a wide variety. Many women are not aware that they have a prolapse because it does not descend enough to notice a bulge. Some women have urinary and bowel symptoms, recurrent UTIs or pressure sensations. Sexual function can also be affected.

Why does Prolapse occur:

Prolapse is a pressure situation. Pressure moves toward the path of least resistance. In many women the vaginal opening is the weakest point of this pressure system. Various activities can
contribute to this downward pressure. For example holding your breath, straining with bowel movements, overusing certain muscles, and constipation. Some people are genetically predisposed to this injury because they have tissues that are not very strong. Women who have had vaginal delivery and prolonged pushing phases can be more susceptible but those who had a cesarean section are also at risk.

Physical Therapy: We Can Help!

  • We help you understand your pressure system and how to optimize it.
  • We can evaluate the pelvic floor musculature, prolapse, activities, movements and
    exercises which optimize this pressure system.
  • Physical Therapy can address urinary, bowel and pain symptoms
  • We have the time to listen and really review your options. Physical Therapy, pessary
    devices and surgeries. It is not black and white and much of the success depends on
    what you feel you want.
  • We can help you understand what SAFE exercises and activities. I don’t like to add fear but this is a situation that you really should understand. If you are not aware, you can make it worse and may then be unable to improve without further medical intervention.

Often you can gain more information about your body in 2-4 sessions with Oceanside PT than you have throughout your history with the medical system. If you are confused who to go to, that is understandable, our system is fragmented. Urology, gyn, urogyn, colorectal… come to PT. We can help and if you need a specialist, we we guide you to the right one.

We are your consultants. You tell us what you want and we will help you get there!

 

American Urogynecologic Society
Pelvic Organ Prolapse, Pessaries, Surgical Options Explained
If you are not in the area, find a pelvic health physical therapist!