Do I have a Prolapse??? First of all - PLEASE PLEASE Don't Panic. X
Firstly do not Panic and Rush into a State of Total Despair!
You will be thinking - What is Happening to Me?
This post is to arm you with the knowledge you need to Firstly understand what a prolapse is and then you can decide what you need to do next with the information provided.
What is a Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
A Prolapse is when one or more of the organs in the pelvis slip down from their normal position and bulge down into the vagina.[caption id="attachment_95" align="alignleft" width="300"] Pelvic Floor Diagram[/caption]
Basically your pelvic floor muscles are a 'hammock' holding in your bladder, bowel and uterus.
The pelvic floor muscles stretch from the tailbone (coccyx) to the pubic bone (front to back) and from one sitting bone to the other sitting bone (side to side). These muscles are normally firm and thick.
Imagine your pelvic floor muscles just like that of a small trampoline. It is able to move up anddown. Your organs lie on this.
Now with women there are 3 holes in this muscle layer -
- The first is to allow urine to pass through a hole known as the urethra,
- The second is for your vagina
- The third is for your bowel movement via your anus
Think of your pelvic floor muscles as a small hammock that needs exercising every day just like that of any other muscle. It has to hold up these organs and needs to be respected and worked out. Just because you can't see these muscles is no excuse not to look after them. Imagine you didn't use your leg muscles often - then tried to go for a run!?
We have what are known as 'sphincters' and these are what give us conscious control over the bladder and bowel so that we can control the release of urine, faeces (poo) and flatus (wind) and allow us to delay emptying until it is convenient.
When you pull up and in - that sensation you have when you try and to stop a wee or a poo, that is the muscles you need to strengthen. That's your Hammock!
Your Pelvic floor muscles are so important for sexual happiness. The action of squeezing to contract your pelvic floor muscles contributes greatly to sexual sensation and arousal.
Your pelvic floor muscles also provide support for your baby during pregnancy and to assist in the birthing process.
Again, your pelvic floor muscles work with the abdominal and back muscles to stabilise and support the spine. Your core is so very very important!
Pelvic Organ Prolapse Symptoms?
- a feeling of heaviness around your lower tummy and genitals (pelvis)
- a dragging discomfort inside your vagina
- feeling like there is something coming down into your vagina – it may feel like sitting on a small ball
- feeling or seeing a bulge or lump in or coming out of your vagina
- discomfort or numbness during sex
- problems peeing – such as feeling like your bladder isn't emptying fully, needing to go to the toilet more often, or leaking a small amount of pee when you cough, sneeze or exercise (known as stress incontinence)
Sometimes pelvic organ prolapse has no symptoms and is found during an internal examination carried out for another reason, such as a cervical screen (e.g. smear test).
What makes Pelvic Floor Muscles Loose?
- Pregnancy and childbirth cause a lot of stress on the pelvic floor
- Straining on the toilet (IBS for example)
- Chronic coughing
- Heavy lifting
- High impact exercise
How can I Strengthen my Pelvic Floor Muscles?
Well the first most important step is to find out which muscles you need to train.
Alot of women find this very difficult to find or do. However, using Kegels will show you as your pelvic floor has to work to hold them in. This in turn trains you to exercise correctly.
If you feel you have a prolapse please see your GP and DON'T IGNORE! Please, please
More than 50% of women who have had children will suffer from some type of prolapse and sadly many leave it years before doing anything about it and it just gets worse ladies. Tackle this now..
Your GP can confirm if it is a prolapse and if so what type of prolapse - i.e, which organ has fallen down - bladder, bowel or uterus AND what Grade
The 4 main types of prolapse are:
- the bladder bulging into the front wall of the vagina (anterior prolapse)
- the womb bulging or hanging down into the vagina (uterine prolapse)
- the top of the vagina (vault) sagging down (vault prolapse) – this happens to some women after they have had surgery to remove their womb
- the bowel bulging forward into the back wall of the vagina (posterior wall prolapse)
NOTE: It's possible to have more than one of these at the same time.
What Pelvic organ prolapse Grade:
Classified on a scale of 1 to 4 to show how severe it is, with 4 being a severe prolapse.
Armed with all the information you need YOU can decide what you need to do next