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Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic Organ Prolapse occurs when one of the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus or rectum) is protruding into the vagina, or more severely past the vaginal opening. Clients often report feeling pressure at the vagina, a heaviness or bulge in this area, and sometimes difficulty with bladder or bowel emptying. Lying down usually helps decrease these symptoms and prolapse is not directly associated with pain. Prolapse can happen due to a combination of increase in abdominal pressure (ie poor muscle patterning, heavy lifting, chronic cough, vaginal child birth), decreased connective tissue support through the organs (as a result of chronic abdominal pressure or tissue changes due to child birth or hormone changes), or poor pelvic floor muscle support.

Mythbuster: pelvic organ prolapse does NOT only occur in older women

  • Cystocele: Prolapse of the bladder

  • Rectocele: Prolpase of the rectum

  • Urethrocele: Prolapse of the urethra

  • Uterine prolapse: Prolapse of the uterus

  • Vaginal Vault prolapse: Prolapse of the top of the vagina after a hysterectomy

  • Enterocele: Prolapse of the intestine

How Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can help:

  • assess abdominal pressure regulation through muscle pattern and posture

  • assess pelvic floor response and support

  • assess connective tissue laxity/stretch

  • assess degree of prolapse and which organs are involved

  • recommend and fit pessaries to help support where there is connective tissue laxity

What you can do now:

  • address constipation – eliminate downward straining 

  • address stress levels – our body automatically holds tension through the abdomen, ribs, shoulders and pelvic floor muscles with stress, which inhibits our natural dynamic tissue response to load and movement

  • exhale with movement/lifting – breathing out tends to decrease abdominal pressure and signals the pelvic floor muscles to activate

  • offload/rest as needed through the day – lying down should help decrease symptoms, however will not work to resolve the underlying concerns

Questions? Feel free to contact one of our Pelvic Health Physiotherapists to set up an appointment or review any of your concerns.

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