According to research, there are approximately 3% of women in the United States have been diagnosed with pelvic prolapse. However, this is only the women who have been properly diagnosed, meaning there are a lot of women who suffer from pelvic prolapse without even knowing it.
Pelvic prolapse is a very uncomfortable, embarrassing, and common condition that many women ignore until it is too late, which will only make the symptoms worse and harder to reverse. It may feel awkward to speak to your doctor about pelvic organ prolapse, but it must be done.
Thankfully, there are treatments out there that will correct these symptoms. However, they must be done correctly or it will not work.
So what are the correct treatments for pelvic prolapse, and how do you know if you are doing them properly?
We did all that research for you. Keep reading to learn how you can manage this uncomfortable condition and get your life back!
What Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Normally, the organs in your pelvic area, such as the bladder, rectum, uterus, and vagina, are properly in place by muscles of the pelvic floor.
Unfortunately, some women develop a condition where the tissues and muscles surrounding the pelvic organs become weakened and eventually start to bulge out of the vagina.
The causes of pelvic prolapse are usually a result of carrying a child, especially after having a vaginal birth. This is because the baby’s head stretches the muscles and connective tissue surrounding the birth canal on it’s way out into the world.
Other causes are age (such as midlife pelvic floor issues), being overweight, having a hysterectomy, heavy lifting, and having conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, allergies, etc.
There are three main types of prolapse:
Rectocele happens when the rectum bulges out and into or out of the vagina.
Cystocele happens when the bladder drops into or out the vagina. This is the most common type of pelvic prolapse.
Uterine prolapse happens when the uterus drops into or out of the vagina.
Enterocele Prolapse occurs when the small intestine or small bowel drops into or out of the vagina. This condition is often associated with the uterine prolapse, as they are in very close areas.
What Are the Symptoms of Pelvic Prolapse?
There are a few symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse, some of which can be confused with other conditions. However, pelvic prolapse is the only condition where you can visibly see the pelvic organs coming out of the vagina as a bulge.
Other symptoms of pelvic prolapse are:
- Pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse
- A pressure that gets worse with standing or coughing
- Incontinence with urine or problems having a bowel movement
- The feeling that you need to frequently urinate
- Inability to insert a tampon or menstrual cup
- Sensations of pressure, heaviness, or aching in the pelvic area or vagina
What Are the Treatments for Pelvic Prolapse
The treatments to prevent a prolapse are thankfully the same treatments used to manage it. This means that you can start now to prevent your chances of developing a pelvic prolapse or from it getting any worse.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Therapy
Pelvic floor muscle therapy is also known as Kegels, which is the action of squeezing the muscles that hold in gas and urine for an extended amount of time. Seeing a physical therapist will help you to discover if you are performing your Kegels properly by using a biofeedback machine.
To do a proper kegel, go through the actions like you are about to let out urine, but instead, stop halfway. Then hold that action tight for five seconds, then release for five seconds. Repeat up to five times.
Eventually, you want to be able to hold up to ten seconds or even longer, with intervals of twenty. Kegels may seem uncomfortable at first, but they are extremely helpful and very recommended.
Inserting a Pessary
A Pessary is a removable device that you insert into the vagina which helps to support the entire pelvic organ area during your daily life. This is usually the first treatment that your doctor will suggest, and it will also help with urinary incontinence as well.
Pelvic Prolapse surgery is where a surgeon will use either your own body tissue or synthetic mesh to build around and repair the weakened muscles that surround your pelvic floor for support. If you are still sexually active, this surgery is a highly recommended choice for you.
Changing Lifestyle and Eating Habits
Since one of the causes of prolapse is being overweight, it only makes sense that correcting your eating habits and improving your lifestyle choices will help you. Talk to a personal trainer or nutritionist about creating an exercise program and cleaning up your diet to help lose those unwanted pounds.
It is also essential to ensure that you are eating enough fiber in your diet so that you can easily have bowel movements and prevent further strain on your bowels. This could either be from consuming flax seeds or eating more vegetables in your diet plan.
This option is only for those who plan on never having sexual intercourse again, as it involves closing the vaginal opening which would prevent anything from going out (or in) of the vagina.
Learn More About Managing Pelvic Prolapse Conditions
Dealing with pelvic prolapse is not anything to take lightly. This is a serious condition that will not only affect your quality of life but your health as well.
It may feel uncomfortable to speak to your doctor, but it is essential that you do so that you can receive the appropriate treatments and ensure it will not get any worse.
If you would like some support with other female conditions, feel free to check out the Women’s health section of our blog.