What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse and what you can do about it.
The pelvic floor muscles play a key role in supporting the pelvic organs - the bladder, the uterus and the rectum.
Kim Vopni of The Vagina Coach provides proactive and restorative pelvic floor fitness programs for women in pregnancy, motherhood and menopause.
Kim Vopni, The Vagina Coach
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, repetitive loading and even hormones can all contribute to weakened tissues in the pelvic floor which can in turn contribute to Pelvic Organ Prolapse which occurs when one or more of the organs (bladder, uterus, rectum) shift out of their optimal position and bulge into or descend into the vagina.
PELVIC ORGAN PROLAPSE SYMPTOMS
• pelvic, vaginal or rectal pressure
• difficulty inserting a tampon or it slips out
• feeling/seeing a bulge at the opening of the vagina
• urinary incontinence (stress or urgency)
• difficulty emptying bladder
• urine retention or difficulty starting the flow
• difficulty emptying bowel
• back pain
• painful intercourse
• lack of sexual sensation
• pressure/discomfort that increases with long periods of standing
What To Do
Kegel exercises can help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles which can help reduce symptoms and may play a role in preventing the progression of the prolapse.
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is a non-negotiable, even if you have no symptoms. Early stage prolapse is often asymptomatic so seeing a pelvic floor physio annually can make sure you catch a prolapse early and they are also an integral part of managing and improving the symptoms.
Vagina Coach - Kim Vopni
Learn To Manage Intra-Abdominal Pressure
We all have intra-abdominal pressure - it is part of our core stabilization. Incontinence, diastasis recti, hemorrhoids and organ prolapse are all pressure management problems and learning to better manage increases in pressure is key to managing prolapse. Recommendations used to involved restricted lifting and no more running or high impact activities. It is now being recognized that lack of movement is not beneficial and lifting and running are all ok provided they are done in the symptom free zone. Pessaries are very helpful for managing prolapse. They can help prevent further decent of the organs, they provide support during the day and during activity/exercise and they can potentially help the inner core unit function more optimally by supporting the organs in their normal anatomical position.
Quite possibly the most promising treatment for pelvic organ prolapse is a technique called Hypopressive Training. The term Hypopressive means 'low pressure' and the technique involves a series of low pressure postures coupled with a rhythmic breathing pattern and an apnea (a breath hold) that elicits an involuntary response in the core. The response creates an almost vacuum-like effect as it lifts the internal organs and stimulates the involuntary muscles of the inner core unit. It looks a bit odd but it is extremely effective. It can often reverse early stage prolapse. Prolapses are graded 1-4 with grade 1 and 2 being considered early stage. Grade three prolapse may potentially move to a grade 2 but at the very least it can help prevent it from becoming a grade 4 which is when the organ is bulging through the entrance to the vagina. The technique is included in the online Kegel Mojo program and is also an essential part of every program I give to my clients.
To get started, many people join my 28 Day Kegel Challenge. It is an app based program that reminds you daily AND shows you what to do. People expect the program will be several versions of kegels done daily, but are surprised to learn it is so much more! People that have taken the challenge have reported a reduction or elimination of symptoms (like leaking and back pain) by 14 days! Hypopressives are not part of the 28 day challenge but are part of the full Kegel Mojo Program.
One recent challenge participant opted to get the full program so she could start adding Hypopressives right away and after only 2 weeks she was symptom free and felt like she got her life back. Pelvic organ prolapse can be devastating to ones confidence and self esteem.
I want women to know there are so many options beyond pads, drugs and surgery and they CAN make improvements with the right information and exercise.