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Pelvic Organ Prolapse: What is it and could I have it?

Did you know that 75_% of women will develop some degree of pelvic organ prolapse during their lifetime? Just another one of the joys of being a woman!

But what exactly is prolapse?

The pelvic cavity holds the bladder, uterus and rectum. The pelvic floor, which consists of muscles and supportive tissues, works to support these organs from underneath and around. When the pelvic floor experiences trauma it can weaken and overstretch. When this happens, the support reduces and so the pelvic organs can slip downwards creating a prolapse.

What causes pelvic floor trauma?

Anything that increases pressure through the pelvic cavity can weaken, overstretch and damage your pelvic floor. The most common risk factors for this are pregnancy, birth, regular heavy lifting, high impact sports or chronic coughing or straining. High volumes of certain exercises such as sit-ups, curl ups, crunches and double leg lifts at the gym, in yoga or Pilates can also lead to pelvic floor trauma.

What would I feel if I had a prolapse?

The symptoms of prolapse depend on what type of prolapse you have. Prolapse can be experienced as any of the following: pressure in the pelvis/lower abdomen, a vaginal bulge or feeling of fullness, lower back ache, recurrent UTI’s, pain with intercourse, difficulty fitting tampons, urinary problems and problems with opening your bowels.

I think I may have a prolapse, what now?

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or have concerns that you may have a pelvic organ prolapse, come and see one of our physiotherapists specialising in women’s health. They will complete a thorough assessment, make a diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan to improve your prolapse and reduce the impact it has on your life.

What if I don’t have a prolapse but I think my pelvic floor is weak?

Strengthening your pelvic floor reduces your risk of pelvic organ prolapse. Turns out that old saying is true- prevention is better than a cure! If you would like a full pelvic floor assessment, book in with one of our women’s health physiotherapists.

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