I have many patients who have received a diagnosis of pelvic organ prolapse, and believe that their only option is to have surgery. Typically they are nervous, and I would be too!
By the end of this article, you will know all about what a pelvic organ prolapse is and how to treat it.
So, let’s talk about exactly what happens during a pelvic organ prolapse.
Our pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, rectum, etc) are held up in our abdominal cavity by a series of connective tissue. These organs are also held up on the bottom by a set of muscles in our pelvis called our “pelvic floor” or our “pelvic diaphragm”.
If our pelvic floor is weak, it can’t hold these organs up any more!
All of the weight of our bladder or uterus gets placed on those ligaments, and overtime, like a rubber band, they stretch and stretch and can’t hold our organs up.
I like to compare it to a boat being in a lock. If we have a boat that’s tied up on each side by some ropes, the water underneath the boat is holding up most of the weight of the boat, right?
If we drain that water out, all the weight from the boat is going to be held up by the ropes.
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Symptoms of a pelvic organ prolapse are a feeling of heaviness in your abdomen, pain with intercourse, back pain, or seeing a bulge in your perineum or vagina.
Many women and men can have a mild prolapse and have no symptoms at all, but if gone untreated, can lead to worsening of the prolapse over time.
There are many surgical techniques out there to help pull our pelvic organs up into our abdominal cavity. Many people find relief with these surgeries however, the results do not last and can return in as little as 5 years.
Many patients can be fitted for an orthotic called a “pessary” which is worn internally and can help to support the pelvic organs.
The pessary can help, but, if worn without also strengthening the pelvic floor it becomes a “crutch”, and improvements will reverse immediately once the pessary is removed.
Physical therapy can help a pelvic organ prolapse by strengthening our pelvic floor to better hold up our organs, it’s that simple. The muscles in our body are very resilient, and can come back from multiple childbirths, trauma, or years and years of weakness.
Pelvic floor physical therapy can get rid of that heaviness in your pelvis, get you back to lifting, running, or whatever activity you may be avoiding because you are afraid your organs are going to “fall out”.
If you would like to know more about how physical therapy can help your symptoms and book your FREE discovery session with one of our therapists, click the link below to get in touch with our office!
About Author: Dr. Jenna Stasi
Dr. Jenna Stasi is currently pursuing her Women’s Health Clinical Specialist Certification, to better treat women and men suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction. In her time away from the clinic, she enjoys running, backpacking, and baking. For more information on how to ease or overcome your injury, go to www.backinmotionsspt.com.