Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) occurs when a pelvic organ or structure descends through the rectal and/or vaginal openings after the tissues and muscles that support it become loose or weak. For many women dealing with this issue, talking about it is embarrassing, therefore most choose to suffer in silence.
POP is most common among older women but can affect a woman of any age. Childbirth and pregnancy are major risk factors, with available statistics showing that half of the women in their childbearing age experience some degree of POP.
Great news: POP is treatable. At Oklahoma Physical Therapy, our physical therapists will help you with posture and behavioral training, self-management techniques, and bowel/bladder education as part of many of our POP treatments.
Causes Of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
POP is caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Aging – 37% of women suffering from POP-related disorders are aged between 60 and 79 years and 50% are 80 years old or older.
- Long-term pressure on the abdomen – this pressure can be as a result of chronic coughing, obesity, or excessive straining during a bowel movement
- Hormonal changes that occur during menopause – The loss of estrogen has been found to raise the risk for POP
- Delivery of a baby that weighs more than 8½ pounds
- Vaginal childbirth – This method of delivery stretches and strains the pelvic flour, meaning that multiple vaginal childbirths increase the chances of getting a pelvic organ prolapse.
Symptoms Of Organ Prolapse
Some of the symptoms associated with POP include:
- Heaviness and pressure in the pelvic region
- Irritation of the vulva-vaginal region because of increased friction with the underwear
- Feeling like you have a ball in your vagina
- Incontinence urinary or fecal
- Sexual pain or dysfunction
- Abdominal, low back and sacral-iliac pain
- Loss of sensation in the vagina
- Feeling like your pelvis is somewhat unstable
There are many different types of POP depending on the organ affected. The following are the three most common:
- Rectocele – occurs when the rectum protrudes out of or bulges into the vagina
- Cystocele (dropped bladder) – occurs when a women’s bladder drops out of or into her vagina
- Uterine prolapse (dropped uterus) – occurs when the uterus balloons out of or into the vagina
How Oklahoma Physical Therapy Can Help
Our physical therapists are specially trained and are highly experienced in managing and treating the symptoms associated with pelvic organ prolapse. Oklahoma Physical Therapy is devoted to offering advanced physical therapy that normalizes a woman’s pelvic and abdominal floor muscle activity and tone towards improved strength and support and a reduction in POP symptoms.
Contact us today for individualized treatments and one-on-one care.