If you look in at our pelvis and our pelvic anatomy, we have our pelvic floor, which is the muscle sling and fascia that gives support to your internal organs. After birth or after menopause, sometimes some of the muscle and fascia can change its tone and some of the internal ligaments which support your organs like your bladder, your uterus, and your rectum, they can become weakened or they can snap over time. When this happens, you can get organ slippage. This organ slippage is known as prolapse. If we take a look at our pelvis cut in half and look at our bladder, vagina, uterus and rectum (see below) we can see that the organs are very close to one another.
They are separated by fascia in between each of them. This fascia can become weakened either over time with hormonal changes or after birth, and this is where we will see some of these organs slip.
WHERE CAN PROLAPSE HAPPEN?
Cystocele – The bladder drops into the vagina
Enterocele – The small intestine bulges into the vagina
Rectocele – The rectum bulges into the vagina
Uterine – The uterus drops into the vagina
Vaginal Vault Prolapse – Top of the vagina loses its support and drops
There are different levels to prolapse and sometimes women are completely unaware they have it all the way through to a stage-four prolapse, where there is a bulge on the outside of the vulva, which is very clearly visible, and many women press it back in.
Looking from the side
Grade III Uterine Prolapse looking up from below
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PROLAPSE
– Feeling of pressure or fullness down below
– Bulging in the vagina
– Organs bulging out of the vagina
– Incontinence – urine leaking
– Difficulty completely emptying the bladder
– Problems having a poo
– Pain in lower back
– Difficulty or pain with inserting tampons
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO TREAT PROLAPSE?
There are many things to be done to treat the prolapse but first it is important to have an internal examination and ultrasound by a Women’s health physio. In some cases where the prolapse is severe surgery may be required but there are non-surgical options to try first.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
The Core Exercises in our ‘Pelvic Floor & Core’ Program will help
Reducing fluid intake may help if suffering from Incontinence – Eating more Fiber will help ease constipation and bowel movement issues.
This is a device that is inserted into the vagina and helps support the pelvic organs. There are different types and a Pessary expert either Doctor or Womens Health physio will be able to help choose which is the right one for you.
Image from www.healthjade.net