First of all, some of you might be wondering, “What is prolapse anyways”? Well, according to pelvichealthsource.com “Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) occurs when the tissues that hold the pelvic organs in place become weak or stretched, resulting in the drop (prolapse) of the pelvic organs from their normal position”. In other words, things down below aren’t supported as they should be! You may feel a sensation of heaviness or pressure vaginally, as well as complain of difficulty emptying your bladder or bowels, report discomfort during intercourse, or feel a bulge in the vagina (and the list goes on….)
The good news is, Physical Therapy is highly effective for POP. In a recent randomized control study (March 2014), researchers found that women in the intervention group reported fewer prolapse symptoms (ie, a significantly greater reduction in the pelvic organ prolapse symptom score [POP-SS] at 12 months than those in the control group.
If you think you may be experiencing POP, consult your doctor or gynecologist and look for a local Pelvic Floor PT. In the meantime, here are a few tips to minimize strain and pressure on the pelvic floor:
- Avoid breath holding during strenuous activities, such as lifting, pushing, pulling, or bending. (I always tell my patients, if it’s not coming out your mouth in the form of air, it’s coming out down below worsening POP or making you leak 😉 )
- Manage any constipation or straining issues you may have. Pushing, especially while holding your breath places a large amount of pressure downwards and can worsen POP.
- NO CRUNCHES, enough said. (Check out www.pelvicexercises.com.au for a great post on abdominal exercises to avoid)
- Utilize a “functional brace” by engaging your deep abdominals and pelvic floor BEFORE lifting, bending, twisting, etc. Don’t forget to breath.
- If you do start to feel worsening pressure, lie down with pillows under your bottom to elevate your hips.
Feel free to leave any other tips you may utilize to decrease symptoms of prolapse!