Do you notice an increase in heaviness in your pelvis after being on your feet all day? Do you feel pressure in your vulva? Does your lower back pain get worse the longer you are on your feet, or the more active you are? Do you have something bulging or hanging out of your vagina?
you have any of these symptoms, you may have a pelvic organ prolapse (POP). A POP is when one or some of the pelvic organs fall below their normal positions in the pelvis to the point where they can possibly fall out of the vagina.
There are various types of prolapses. A uterine prolapse is when the uterus begins to fall into and sometimes out of the vaginal canal. An anterior prolapse, called a cystocele, is a relaxation of the tissue that supports the bladder. This can cause the bladder to fall backwards and lean into the front of the vaginal canal, creating a bulge into the front of the vagina. A rectocele is similar, however involves the relaxation of the tissues holding up and supporting the rectum behind the vagina.
If you have a POP, you may notice discomfort with intercourse as if your vagina feels shorter or your bladder is being pushed on. In addition, POP can affect and cause changes in your bowel or bladder habits. Some people with a rectocele will need to help themselves fully evacuate their bowels with their fingers. Over time, unchecked and untreated, your POP can get worse. Especially, if you are unwittingly doing things throughout your day that could be worsening the issue.
Begin to pay attention to your breath. Do you hold your breath during activities that require physical effort? Do you hold your breath when you exercise, bend over, or get up from the bed or out of a car? If so, holding your breath throughout the day will be making your POP worse. It is important to think about how your body moves during any form of physical activity. Instead of holding your breath, gently pull in your lower belly and do a light pelvic floor muscular contraction while exhaling. Your bowel movements can also greatly affect your POP as constipation will make it worse. If you are not having full sausage like poops without straining, you may be constipated and should seek help.
Thankfully, you do not need to just live with these symptoms. Pelvic floor physical therapy can help. Truly, the best thing you can do for yourself is get an evaluation to see a pelvic floor physical therapist. When you decide to take care of yourself and see a pelvic floor physical therapist, you will not only learn exercises to increase the support of your pelvic organs, but how to avoid exacerbating your symptoms. You also will be assessed for a Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation) as this aggravates your POP when not treated.
At ITR Physical Therapy, our physical therapists are specifically trained to help women with all types of pelvic floor issues including pelvic organ prolapse. Make your appointment today. You deserve to know how to take care of your pelvis and to feel better!
For more information, visit ITRphysicaltherapy.com.