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If you've landed on this page, then chances are you probably know what prolapse means. Or maybe you've heard of it but aren't quite sure if it's what you're dealing with or not. In this post we'll go over what prolapse is, its symptoms and what puts you at risk for developing prolapse. Additionally, we'll go over how to fix a prolapse without surgery.
First things first, what is prolapse? Prolapse occurs when organs that are normally supported by your pelvic floor muscles drop down or "prolapse." Prolapse occurs when one or more of the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, and/or bowel) move downward into the walls of the vagina. This happens when there is weakness or a lack of support by the pelvic floor muscles. Pregnancy and labor and delivery put a lot of pressure on the pelvic floor muscles. This can make them weak. As the pelvic floor recovers after childbirth, symptoms of prolapse can improve. However, any prolapse could indicate future potential future problems. There are different types of prolapse as well:
These can occur individually or separate from each other.
There can be a variety of causes of prolapse, and typically the cause is multifactorial. Under normal conditions, the pelvic floor muscles sit like a sling at the base of the pelvis. Those muscles help support the organs above. If those muscles are too weak, prolapse can occur due to lack of support. Increased pressure from things like pregnancy or constipation (constant straining) can put more pressure than the pelvic floor can handle on that area. This could lead to prolapse over time. If there is not enough support from ligaments internally, this can cause organs to descend. This can happen with surgeries like a hysterectomy.
Symptoms of prolapse can vary from person to person. The symptoms can also vary depending on the time of day. Typically, symptoms of prolapse are worse in the evening or at the end of a work day. This is due to the effects of gravity on the pelvic floor. Symptoms of prolapse can include:
Risk factors for prolapse are also multi-factorial. Essentially, anything that can cause there to be excess pressure on the pelvic floor could lead to prolapse. Most often, these risk factors can lead to prolapse over time and not in one instant.
There are two main non-surgical treatments when it comes to how to fix a prolapse without surgery. However, I've divided it into three categories to make posture and alignment their own sections.
One key to preventing prolapse in the first place is minimizing tearing and pressure on the pelvic floor during childbirth, and we have a guide to preparing your pelvic floor.
Posture and alignment are paramount when it comes to fixing a prolapse without surgery. You can do all the pelvic floor exercises in the world, but if you continue to move through your day with poor posture, it's unlikely the problem will be solved.
Keep these things in mind when it comes to posture:
When it comes to moving throughout your day, consider these tips for good body mechanics:
Pelvic floor exercise- Kegels are often prescribed to manage prolapse. If you're not sure where to get started, check with a pelvic floor therapist about whether your muscles are too tight or weak so that you can start in the right place with exercise. It's likely that the muscles are not strong enough to provide support, however, it's possible that there is tension in the muscles as well. The following are exercises that I would recommend to start with when you're getting started:
In addition to these exercises, following a guided program after a c-section or vaginal delivery for return to exercise is also very effective and helpful. Expecting and Empowered has a 12 week program following either a vaginal or cesarean delivery with exercises to help manage or fix a prolapse. (Use code SIMPLI for $20 off!)
Pessaries are the most common support aide for prolapse and have been found to be very effective in managing symptoms. Pessaries along with pelvic floor exercise have shown a reduction in symptoms.
In addition to pessaries, there are products that you can wear over underwear to help support a prolapse as you do exercise to help improve symptoms. For example, SRC health creates compression shorts that provide support in the right places to help limit symptoms throughout the day.
Taking care of your pelvic floor after childbirth is important regardless of symptoms. Check-out this post to find things to avoid in order to prevent prolapse. Outside of basic hygiene and care after childbirth, the following are some additional things to consider if you’re managing prolapse.
There are a lot of options when it comes to fixing a prolapse without surgery. It's always important to discuss any issues with your healthcare provider. However, often conservative management is a successful treatment for many with prolapse!
If you want more help with a comprehensive exercise plan, check out Expecting and Empowered and use code SIMPLI for a discount on your subscription. They have tailored workouts to your stage of recovery.
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