Pelvic organ prolapse is a descent of one of the pelvic organs, which may include;
- Uterus (uterine prolapse)
- bladder descending into the front wall of the vagina (cystocele)
- urethra (urethrocele)
- rectum into the back wall of the vagina (rectocele)
- bowel (enterocele)
- rectum (rectal prolapse).
Here is a great video explaining each type of prolapse.
Prolapse occurs when there is weakness or damage to the tissues that support the organs (muscle, ligaments and fascia). Tissue damage may be caused by repeated heavy lifting, obesity, chronic respiratory conditions, weight lifting, chronic constipation, pregnancy or labour, especially long pushing stages. Menopause is also a risk factor due to hormonal changes.
The main symptom reported is a feeling of heaviness or pressure in the vagina. There may also be visible protrusion at the vagina/anus. Some women report sexual pain, constipation, incontinence, a slow urine stream or a feeling of not emptying fully. Women will generally report that their symptoms are worse after standing for long periods or after heavy lifting
The aim of physiotherapy is to reduce discomfort and empower you in the treatment of your prolapse. Physiotherapy treatment includes, education, lifestyle advice and specific rehabilitation of the pelvic floor. Conservative treatment may not always be successful and in some cases surgery may be necessary. This can be discussed with your physiotherapist.
Below are some very useful prolapse resources;