How do I know if I have a Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

When it comes to post natal exercise, there is often talk about safe exercises for pelvic organ prolapse. But one step that we forget to share is how do I even know I have a prolapse? Considering that some women show no symptoms at all, there is no wonder we may have no idea to look out for a prolapse. 

Firstly, what is a Pelvic Organ Prolapse? 

Pelvic Organ Prolapse occurs when the muscles and the tissues supporting the pelvic organs become weak, loose or injured. This then allows the organs to press into and move out of the vaginal canal. The ligaments and fascia support them in place in your pelvic cavity and your pelvic floor support them underneath. 

What are the types of prolapse?

  • Prolapsed Bladder (cystocele) - the bladder presses into the front wall of the vagina
  • Prolapsed Uterus (uterine) - the uterus may drop down into the vagina
  • Prolapsed Rectum (rectocele) - the rectum presses into the back of the vaginal wall

Symptoms can present in different ways and to varying degrees depending on the type and grade of the prolapsed organ. Grade I and II are where the organs are within the vaginal canal but are diagnosed based on the distance from the hymen. Grade III and IV are where the organs have moved past the hymen and are bulging outside of the body. 

What symptoms should you look out for?

  • Bulging, heaviness or pressure in the vaginal canal
  • Lower back ache
  • Pelvic pain
  • Difficulty evacuating bowels
  • Difficulty passing urine or weak urine stream
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Urgency or incontinence
  • Pain or discomfort during intercourse

Symptoms may become worse at the end of the day, after standing for any period of time, walking or after physical activity. 

Where do I seek help for Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

There is help available if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Firstly, speak to your GP and book an appointment with a Women's Health Physiotherapist. These practitioners specialise in internal assessment of the pelvic organs and can diagnose your prolapse. 

Once diagnosed, your Physiotherapist will work with you to decide on the best treatment options. It may include conservative management before any consideration is given to surgical intervention. They will work to make sure you are not bearing down or creating further pressure onto your pelvic floor. They will also consider options like use of a pessary which is inserted into the vagina to support the organs. 

It's a great relief to know that something can be done for you.

And when you know what is going on inside your body, we can work together to introduce exercise alongside the work your are doing with your pelvic floor. It doesn't need to be healed to begin, but consideration is given along the way. 

So if you have a pelvic organ prolapse and are looking to get more active, let me help you with my Fearless Health Exercise Classes. Weekly classes run in school terms where you have the opportunity to ask questions, seek modifications and to feel motivated to strengthen your body with ease. You'll be asked to complete a comprehensive pre-exercise questionnaire that helps me identify what support or modifications you need to manage your symptoms.

The Fearless Health Fitness Studio is a welcoming, empowering space that is designed for you to build strength, confidence and community with women just like you. 

Get in touch to speak about your needs or book your classes online.

Categories: : Exercise, Post Natal Recovery, Women's Health