Parts of your body you may not even know exist can have a huge impact on your quality of life. Don't let ignorance or embarrassment stop you from being your best self!
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that work together to hold a woman’s bladder, uterus, vagina, small bowel, and rectum in place. But childbirth, surgery, and age can cause these muscles and the tissues around them to weaken.
When the pelvic floor no longer works as it should, pelvic organs can fail, causing women to experience urinary or anal incontinence and/or organ prolapse.
What is pelvic organ prolapse?
According to Web MD, weakening of the pelvic floor can result in pelvic organ prolapse, a descending or drooping of an organ, either into the vaginal canal or the anus. The condition is actually pretty common: possibly as many as one woman in four will experience pelvic floor disorders. And yet, many women are too embarrassed to talk about their symptoms, even with their doctors.
What are the symptoms?
In some cases, women may not notice a problem; in others, a woman may feel pain during intercourse, have a backache, need to urinate frequently, or notice leakage. Some may simply notice a heavy feeling in their pelvis.
What causes it?
According to Web MD, vaginal childbirth is the primary cause of pelvic floor disorders, and the risk tends to increase the more times a woman gives birth. Being overweight or obese can also contribute to the problem, and the drop of progesterone in menopause can also be a factor. Smoking, which can cause chronic coughing, is also a contributor to pelvic floor disorders.
But here’s the good news:
According to Harvard Women’s Health Watch, a combination of pelvic floor exercises along with a pessary (a device inserted in the vagina to prop up pelvic organs) can result in real relief and improvement of symptoms.
In the study, one group of women did daily pelvic floor exercises; the other did the exercises and also received the pessary. Both groups improved, but the women who did both saw a much greater rate of return.
If you have or feel you may have pelvic organ prolapse, consult your doctor. The symptoms of this disorder can really impact your quality of life, but they can be remedied! There are many pessaries on the market, so get professional guidance to find the right one, then ask about exercises, and add them to your daily regimen.
If you’ve sought help for prolapse, what worked for you? Share with us in the comments!