If you suffer from pelvic organ prolapse due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and/or age, and you’re looking for treatment options to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and alleviate symptoms and discomfort, you’ve come to the right place! Pelvic organ prolapse can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable condition, and it’s more common that many people realize. We’re sharing everything you need to know, including the different types of pelvic organ prolapse, associated symptoms, treatment options, and exercises below.
What Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when one or more of your pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, small bowel, rectum, and/or vagina) drops from it’s normal position and moves into or outside of your vaginal canal or anus. This can occur for many different reasons, including pregnancy, childbirth, hysterectomy, constipation, chronic coughing due to respiratory problems, being obese, and anything else that puts pressure on your belly.
What Are The Different Types of Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
- Cystocele. This is the most common type of pelvic organ prolapse, and occurs when the bladder prolapses into the vagina.
- Uterine Prolapse. Prolapse of the uterus.
- Urethrocele. Prolapse of the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder).
- Rectocele. Prolapse of the rectum.
- Enterocele. Prolapse of the small bowel.
- Vaginal Vault Prolapse. Prolapse of the vaginal walls.
What Are the Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
- A feeling of pressure or fullness in the lower belly from pelvic organs pressing on your vaginal wall
- A feeling that something is falling out of your vagina
- Vaginal spotting/bleeding
- Painful intercourse
- Lower back ache
- Urinary incontinence and/or a constant urge to urinate
Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse Dangerous?
While uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing, pelvic organ prolapse is generally not a dangerous condition. It’s a very common condition, and many women leave their prolapse untreated unless their prolapse and related symptoms are severe.
5 Treatments for Pelvic Organ Prolapse
1. Lifestyle changes
If you’re looking for non-invasive pelvic organ prolapse treatment options, one of the first things you should consider is your lifestyle and how it may be causing and/or worsening your symptoms. Weight loss, eating adequate fiber to reduce constipation, and giving up smoking to reduce coughing can all be helpful. You should also avoid exercises that make pelvic organ prolapse worse, including running, jumping, and skipping, avoid lifting heavy objects, and avoid strength training exercises such as sit-ups and abdominal crunches, planks, abdominal exercise machines, wide leg and machine squats, and leg presses.
2. Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy/Exercises
There are certain exercises you can do at home to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and relieve symptoms, and your doctor can make recommendations for you based on the type and severity of your prolapse. You can also seek the help of a pelvic floor physiotherapist who can create a series of exercises for you, and ensure you are doing them correctly. If you’re interested in trying pelvic floor exercises at home, see below for 6 workouts you can stream for free!
A pessary is another non-surgical intervention for prolapse your doctor may recommend. A pessary is a soft and removable device that is inserted into the vagina to reduce prolapse within the vagina, support the pelvic region, and relieve pressure from the bladder and bowel. Pessaries come in many shapes and sizes, and your doctor will fit you for one based on your size and needs. Pessaries are recommended for women who have bothersome symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse and are either trying to avoid surgical intervention, or aren’t a candidate due to other medical conditions. They are also helpful for women who leak urine when coughing, straining, or exercising, and those who experience incontinence during pregnancy.
RELATED: Restoring the Pelvic Floor
4. Hormone therapy
Hormone therapy is sometimes recommended for women who have been through menopause, have a mild prolapse, and experience vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse.
If your prolapse is severe and non-surgical options aren’t working, there are many different surgical options aimed at correcting the prolapse, relieving pelvic pressure, and maintaining/improving vaginal sexual function. Surgical options include lifting and supporting the pelvic organs, inserting a vaginal mesh to hold the pelvic organs in place, hysterectomy, and closing the vagina. As with all surgeries, there are risks associated with surgery for pelvic organ prolapse, including infection, difficulty emptying your bladder and/or incontinence, and painful intercourse. There is also a chance your pelvic organ prolapse will come back after surgery. Your age, plans for having children, and health will all be taken into consideration before surgery is recommended by your doctor
6 Pelvic Organ Prolapse Exercises
If you’re looking for pelvic organ prolapse exercises you can do at home to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and alleviate symptoms and discomfort, there are a lot of helpful and informative videos you can stream for free on YouTube. Here are 6 to get you started!
Kegel Exercises | Michelle Kenway
If you’re searching for information on how to treat pelvic organ prolapse, chances are you’ve heard about kegel exercises. They are a fabulous exercise you can do to help strengthen your pelvic floor and prevent/manage incontinence, but very few people know how to do them correctly. This is a great introductory video to teach you the right technique!
Prolapse and Exercise: To Do, and To Avoid! | FemFusion Fitness
If you want to know which kinds of exercises to avoid with a prolapse, and what safe alternatives you can try, this is a fabulous instructional video for beginners!
Pelvic Floor Safe Core Exercises | Michelle Kenway
As mentioned previously, strength training exercises such as sit-ups and abdominal crunches, planks, abdominal exercise machines, wide leg and machine squats, and leg presses can make pelvic organ prolapse worse. If you’re looking for a core exercise routine to help strengthen and tone your core abdominal muscles without making your prolapse worse, this is a great video to watch. It explains which exercises to avoid (and why), which ones are safe, and how to do them correctly.
15-min Crunchless Abs | FemFusion Fitness
Prolapse Exercises – 5 Safe Strength Exercises for Women | Michelle Kenway
If you’re looking for strength training exercises you can do to tighten and tone your legs, back, and upper body that won’t worse your prolapse, grab an exercise ball and a set of dumbbells and give this set of 5 exercises a go!
Yin Yoga for Prolapse | FemFusion Fitness
This 40-minute full body stretch is designed specifically for women with prolapse, and she shares so many great tips and life lessons to keep you motivated and inspired.
If you suffer from pelvic organ prolapse, I hope the information in this post proves useful to you! Remember that this is a common condition, and discuss treatment options with your doctor without feeling embarrassed.
This post contains affiliate links.
If you found this post about pelvic organ prolapse helpful, please share this post on Pinterest!
And if you’re looking for more health-related tips and tricks, please follow our Health board where we share all kinds of helpful ideas we find each day!