What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) occurs when there is weakness in the supportive ligaments/muscles, perineum, or the vaginal/rectal wall itself. This weakness can cause either the uterus, bladder, rectum, or small intestine to push into the vaginal wall, often causing symptoms.
What does it mean to have a prolapse?
The word pelvic organ prolapse sounds scarier than it actually is. It is often misunderstood that the pelvic organs are “falling out” of the vagina or rectum. Unless there is an actual hernia, this is not the case and our biggest concern is centered around your symptoms and how it influences your function.
What are some symptoms of POP?
The most common symptoms we see include:
- Difficulty voiding or starting bowel movements
- Feeling of incomplete emptying after toileting
- Pelvic heaviness
- Pain after prolonged standing or lifting
- Stress and urge incontinence
- Pain/pressure during intercourse
Who gets POP?
While research tells us that the most common populations who develop POP include women who are postpartum or older, there is actually a high prevalence in female weight lifters and it can occasionally occur in men rectally. This really comes down to whether or not a person’s pelvic floor structures are able to resist the intra-abdominal pressure created. If the pelvic floor structures are not functioning properly, a chronic increase in that abdominal pressure puts you at risk for POP.
What can you do about POP?
It is so important to catch a POP early. As the POP progresses, the likelihood of conservative management (physical therapy) influencing your symptoms decreases and the likelihood of surgical procedures increases. These surgical procedures are not always effective in decreasing symptoms and can often make them worse. A trained pelvic health physical therapist who has experience working with pelvic organ prolapse can work to educate you on how to manage abdominal pressure and decrease symptoms, while preventing progression of the prolapse so that you can continue doing what you love!
If you have been told you have a prolapse or if this information applies to you, take advantage of our free 10 minute consultation by calling, texting or emailing our pelvic health physical therapist, Dr. Tyler Kornblum, at 513-208-2257 or firstname.lastname@example.org