Pelvic Organ Prolapse is a condition where the organs of your pelvis, specifically the bladder, uterus, and rectum are falling down into your vagina or out of your body. You can have a diagnosis of bladder prolapse (called cystocele), rectal prolapse (called rectocele), or uterine prolapse (called uterocele). Very often the collapse involves more than one of these organs.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse is very common – 32-41% of women on assessment display prolapse. Only up to 7.5% report symptoms. In the United States, surgeries to repair pelvic organ prolapse were the most common inpatient procedure in women over 70 from 1979-2006.
The system of tissues that holds these organs inside your body are the connective tissues in our vaginal walls, and the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles and tissues form a hammock or a sling under the organs. A good image to describe the function of these tissues related to organ position is to imagine a ship in the harbour. The lines that attach it to the dock do not keep this boat afloat. The water under the ship keeps it afloat (ok, science-y folks, I know it is the buoyancy provided by the water but work with me here). Your pelvic floor is the water under the ship of your organs, keeping them afloat.
Women are most at risk for these conditions, especially if they have given birth, have a chronic cough or are chronically constipated (requiring they push against a stool (poo) that won’t move on a regular basis).
Symptoms of a prolapse include a heaviness or fullness in your vagina or rectum, pain in your vagina or tailbone or lower back, inability to void (pee) fully, incontinence, and constipation.
I can help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to help keep your organs supported, identify ways that your lifestyle and diet contribute to your prolapse, and decrease the pressure on these areas through treatment of your whole-body movement. Some women also choose to invest in a pessary, a device that fits inside your vagina and supports your pelvic organs. If this is an option for you, I will refer you to a qualified practitioner for fitting.