Pelvic organ prolapse is simply a protrusion of the organs in the pelvic region or through the vaginal opening. The pelvic organs support a complex network of ligaments, muscles, and fibers that link to the bony structure of the pelvis. If weakness is present, the organs might drop.
There are 2 types of prolapse – asymptomatic and symptomatic. For the asymptomatic type, a hernia is present but does not extend beyond the vaginal opening. As for the symptomatic form, there is protrusion of tissue beyond the opening.
What are the causes of pelvic organ prolapse?
There are cases of pelvic organ prolapse mentioned as far back as 2000 B.C. Up until now, the physical trauma during vaginal birth results to issues within the body of the mother. At present, women still confront this debilitating condition. Furthermore, the risk factors for the formation include a family history, aging, obesity, previous hysterectomy and other ailments that increase the intra-abdominal pressure such as constipation or asthma.
For a mild case, there is a sensation of continuous heaviness. Others experience increasing pressure only after standing for long hours or after engaging in strenuous physical activities.
In severe cases of pelvic organ prolapse, there is a sensation or seeing a “ball-like” structure or protrusion from the vagina.
Since the condition often develops with other disorders of the pelvic floor, the signs for one problem should require questioning for other potential conditions.
Depending on the site where pelvic floor weakness occurs, it can involve one or several pelvic organs. If weakness arises on the front side of the vaginal wall close to the bladder, it results in a cystocele or dropped bladder. A weak site in the vaginal ceiling that results to uterine prolapse is an enterocele. Any issues in the rear vaginal wall close to the rectum will result to a rectocele. The doctor aims at pinpointing the site of weakness to start the appropriate treatment.
Pelvic organ prolapse is known to cause significant discomfort in some women. Luckily, there are several treatment choices that greatly improves the symptoms and even eliminate them in some instances. Generally, it involves the use of pessaries (medical device that provides a structural framework), surgery, physical therapy or “watchful” monitoring.
As part of treatment, Oklahoma Physical Therapy has trained physical therapists who are instrumental in relieving the symptoms from pelvic organ prolapse. The following treatments might be included in your customized plan:
- Lifestyle changes to reduce the symptoms
- Kegel exercises
- Proper posture and body mechanics
- Functional activities to lessen the strain on the pelvic organs
With the help of these interventions, reduction of pain during daily activities and a decrease in incontinence and bowel changes may occur.
What type of treatment can I expect?
Physical therapy can provide long-term relief from the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse by strengthening the core muscles. These exercises along with Kegels helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can help improve the symptoms of mild to moderate cases of prolapse.
At Oklahoma Physical Therapy, our physical therapists will work with you to come up with a customized treatment plan. Contact Oklahoma Physical Therapy today to schedule an appointment to meet with our trained physical therapists to create the ideal treatment regimen to allow you to enjoy daily activities with minimal pain.