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Pelvic Organ Prolapse 

For Women > Physiotherapy > Conditions > Pelvic Organ Prolapse 

What is a pelvic organ prolapse (POP)? 

Pelvic organ prolapse is described as a vaginal change where a pelvic organ which may be the bladder, bowel, rectum or uterus moves downwards in the vagina causing the symptom of ‘something coming down’ or a feeling of vaginal heaviness. The bulge may be felt inside or outside the vagina. Prolapse may also cause bladder, bowel or sexual symptoms. A prolapse can be mild, causing little or no bother, or it may be severe causing many problems and affecting your quality of life. It is estimated that about 50% of women who have given birth will experience a pelvic organ prolapse at some point.

There are different types of prolapse depending on which organ is bulging into the vagina. You can have more than one prolapse at the same time. A cystocele is when the bladder drops down into the anterior aspect of the vagina, a rectocele is when the rectum drops down in the posterior aspect of the vaginaa uterine prolapse is when the womb descends, and a vaginal vault prolapse is when post hysterectomy the vagina drops downwards.

What are the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse? 

  • Pelvic pressure: feeling of dragging or heaviness in the vagina 
  • Urinary symptoms: Difficulty emptying or frequent urinary infections 
  • Bowel symptoms: Pressure or constipation may be present 
  • Sexual problems: discomfort or pain during intercourse, obstructed intercourse 
  • A lump bulging out of your vagina 
  • Pain symptoms: Backache, abdominal discomfort or vaginal pain may also be present  

How can a physiotherapist help? 

Unfortunately, Pelvic Organ Prolapse will not go away on its own. Worryingly, if you do nothing your symptoms may get worse. Please don’t ignore the signs and symptoms. A women’s health physiotherapist can help to assess the prolapse and give you an individualized pelvic floor training programme to improve your symptoms. Our physiotherapist can also guide you with returning back to the activities you love. 

In some severe cases, surgery may be indicated. This is usually only after a course of physiotherapy treatment. Your Gynaecologist will be able to explain the different surgeries for POP. It is also recommended that women undergoing surgery should undergo pelvic floor muscle training before and after to help strengthen the muscles as best as possible to improve surgical outcomes. 

If you have any questions on pelvic organ prolapse, please do not hesitate to contact our women’s health physiotherapists who can help with your condition. 

 

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