Pelvic Organ Prolapse & How Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Can HelpMar 16, 2023
One of the main functions of the pelvic floor is support. The pelvic floor is like a hammock at the base of the pelvis that supports the sexual organs and abdominal contents. Pelvic organ prolapse is a dysfunction within that support system. It shows us the support from the muscles or connective tissues around the bladder, rectum, or uterus (if applicable) are lacking. Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse can include:
- A sense of heaviness or ache in the vagina or rectum
- Feeling like a tampon is falling out
- An inability to fully pee or poop
- Difficulty or pain with intercourse
- A dragging sensation with intercourse
- Difficulty inserting a tampon or like something is pushing it back out
It can be super intimidating, frustrating, and it can definitely make you feel hesitant to do the things you love.
One of the most common questions I get is: "Why did this happen?" According to a study completed by Vergeldt et al in 2015, risk factors include vaginal delivery, BMI, chronic constipation, and excessive coughing. The common theme present is increased pressure on the pelvic floor and a pelvic floor that doesn’t have the ability to continuously respond to that pressure. It’s like having a trampoline with really loose springs… you will just sink down into the trampoline. This decreased support can happen over time from overuse or from a direct impact such as childbirth, which is why pelvic health physical therapy is so important after delivery! The good thing is we know the pelvic floor is a group of muscles and muscles can be trained and strengthened! We also know we can find different ways to support the pelvic floor as we are trying to improve your strength and coordination, such as the use of a pessary.
So, what should you expect from a pelvic health physical therapist? At Athletes’ Potential, we work on the coordination of your central system (pelvic floor, core, diaphragm), we address the strength and mobility of this system. We address your poop strategies, lifting and movement strategies. We provide health and wellness coaching/direction to look at other factors influencing this system such as stress, gut health and recovery considerations. We will provide a support system for you and a space for you to ask your questions and get the answers for your concerns.
Understanding your body and what you are experiencing can only help you feel more empowered and prepared. Everyone's goals and experiences are unique and their treatment should also be unique. If you are in the Columbus or Atlanta area, we can help and guide you! Click the link below to schedule an appointment or request a 15-minute discovery session to see if we are the right fit for you!
Thanks for reading,
Diez-Itza I, Aizpitarte I, Becerro A. Risk factors for the recurrence of pelvic organ prolapse after vaginal surgery: a review at 5 years after surgery. Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct. 2007 Nov;18(11):1317-24. doi: 10.1007/s00192-007-0321-0. Epub 2007 Feb 28. PMID: 17333439.
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